The book of Hosea
Have you ever read the book of Hosea? The story is not your average love story, but it holds a profound meaning in the Kingdom of God.
The first time I heard this story, I was appalled at what God had asked Hosea to do. I thought to myself, which present-day man would marry a prostitute and continue to pursue her? For anyone this reality would be a mammoth task, but the story in the book of Hosea is but an archetypal of God’s love for Israel and us all. Such a profound and deep love that it can be likened to the contemporary Christian song “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury.
It is not one of the more commonly told Bible stories as more people are akin with Abraham and Sarah and Rebecca and Isaac. But the truth is that, as humans we are more like Gomer than Rebecca or even Sarah. I have looked for many renditions of this story in books and movies because I was so touched by the message of this redeeming love.
A novel – Redeeming Love
Christian author, Francine Rivers, created a beautiful rendition of the book of Hosea with her novel ‘Redeeming Love’. Set in the 1850s during the gold rush in California, Rivers brings to life a Bible story that would yet again demonstrate the pure love God had for his people. Sarah was born in England to a prostitute who conceived her with a married man.
Her father was quite upset that her mother had kept the pregnancy and as such wanted nothing to do with her. At the tender age of 8, her mother passed and she is left with a man named Rab who is optimistic about finding ger a home. Instead, she ends up in the home of a wealthy man called Duke, who renamed her Angel, abused her and finally introduced her to the world of prostitution. Fleeing the country to get away from him and that life, she ends up in San Francisco but was eventually led back into prostitution as she had no other means of survival. Now 18 years old and working for the Duchess, Angel is under heavy guard as she is the prized attraction at the Palace Brothel.
Michael Hosea, a farmer on a trip to that town to sell produce, encounters Angel and is told by God “She is the one.” The woman he should marry. When he finds out she is a prostitute he is shocked but decides to obey God. Paying the price to see her, he tries to convince her to marry him and leave this life behind, but she is a hard cookie to crack, after all, why would she trust any man? It was only after she was nearly beaten to death by her bodyguard that Michael’s advances are given any credence as she is holding on for dear life. She barely accepts his proposal and Michael could finally rescue her from that degrading life and nurse her physically back to health.
Angel would argue and fight with Michael as she was unable to accept her new life, however good it was. She would run back to her former life a few times over and just like in the book of Hosea, God kept telling Michael to go get his wife. the final time she ran off, God confronted her, and she began to understand her worth.
Instead of taking a job in a brothel, she found more upstanding employment in a restaurant and eventually became a beacon to young women in vulnerable situations like herself. Becoming their liberator, she helps a few young women escape the brother and is rescued by an old Christian philanthropist, on a similar crusade. With his help and his daughter, she was able to establish a safe house for transitioning these women back to society. It is much later that her husband’s best friend comes seeking her out to let her know that Michael is still awaiting her return, for he never loved another.
Finally realising that no man has ever loved her quite like Michael, if at all, she agrees to return to her husband and leave the philanthropist’s daughter in charge of the safehouse. On this journey to protect these girls, she had indeed found her own relationship with God.
Back with her husband Michael, Angel reveals her real name as Sarah, and they start a new life together.
A love like no over
I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. I will be faithful to you and make you mine,
and you will finally know me as the Lord (Hosea chapter 2, verse 19 – 20).
Just like this demonstration in Hosea and the book, God will never give up on us. Hosea and Gomer represents God and Israel and just how grave her betrayals were that they were likened unto that of prostitution. But, every single time, God took her back and loved her, and it’s the same for us. No matter how man times we have sinned, God is still there waiting for us. He even pursues us. This to me is an unmatched demonstration of love.
Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them (Hosea chapter 3 verse 1).
My favourite love story in the Bible remains in Hosea, because as long as we are in this life, God will never give up on us.
Kimberley Salmon from Jamaica West Indies is a praise and worship leader who remains passionate about touching hearts through singing and writing as she thrives to become a published author of Christian women’s fiction. She loves the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is grateful for God’s saving grace which continues to transform her life. As a senior Press Service International Columnist, she is elated that she can now share her journey with God with the world.