There is a small book in the Old Testament that is one of the strangest love stories ever. But for me it is so hard to read because it closely reflects my own story. God’s people had cheated on Him - they had turned their back on Him committing idolatry and worshipping, the Gods of other peoples - idols of wood and stone..Prophets like Hosea were called to declare God’s Word—not only in words, but often in deeds as well, so Hosea was told to marry a prostitute (God’s view of idolatrous Israel).
Hosea loved her and had a happy home with 3 children. One day, when Hosea came home, his wife Gomer was gone taking their possessions. She had gone back to other lovers and returned to being a prostitute.
Imagine the devastation and humiliation he suffered. Hosea possibly could not sleep. He was not only grieving for himself but also for his children. Then a while later, she had fallen so far, that she was being sold as a slave, because of her debts. Hosea bought her from the slave block, taking her back and eventually loving her once more.
Hosea fell in love, got hurt, and God ordered him to take her back again. Hosea’s reconciliation to Gomer, not only teaches true love (patience, kindness, bearing all things); but it shows us God’s broken heart for us his people and how he wants to reconcile and take us back into relationship with Him. Hosea loved Gomer once again.
In our Old Testament reading today God reaches out to Israel, just as Hosea did to Gomer and tells us how He will reconcile with us, and how things will be different. Ezekiel is foretelling the coming of the Holy Spirit, many many long years before it was to happen, which it did at Pentecost which we celebrate this coming Sunday.
As with too many of us Hosea’s story is hard for me, because I have loved and been cheated on and abandoned by a spouse. Like Hosea, after he had divorced me for another woman and years of separation, I took him back. I forgave him. But he is hurting, broken and now he says he no longer loves me. He says he is going to leave again. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit am I remaining under the same roof with the man I still love, enduring the suffering of a broken heart, praying for him, and holding on to my faith, and hope, looking to God for my joy. If all I looked to was the world I would be in total despair. I look to the Lord, who has reminded me today that Love is not a feeling but a choice. I must keep loving, be kind, keep praying and patiently wait on the Lord. Love endures all things.