Looking at the bible as a story that God is telling us, of the Great Romance. Revealing to us in covenant his love of us, His desire for us to be in intimate personal relationship with him. He pursues us with an unending forever and ever love, a love that never gives up, a love that seeks our best. C.S. Lewis said " love in its own nature, demands the perfecting of the beloved." God says I love you and because of that love I will perfect you. 

This story is seen in the life of Hosea. Hosea was a minor prophet, not because he wasn't as important the major prophets, but because of the length of the book. Hosea was told by God to marry a whore. When I heard this story for the first time I questioned why would God tell Hosea to marry a whore? But as I read the story I realized that God was trying to give Hosea first hand account of the way the people of Israel have been Whoring against God. 
When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea,“Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” Hosea 1:2 

God wants to tell us a story. The story ultimate story. God is telling Hosea  I want you to experience the heartache that I experience. I want to you know the story that Israel is putting me/God through. God wanted to tell us a bigger story through the story of Hosea. God wants us to wake up to our sin, that's why he uses the word whore. God tells Hosea to marry a whore because God married a whore. God does not condone Sin, God confronts Sin.

So what is the story of God found in the Story of Hosea?
  1. The Whore continues to Whore
  2. God lets the Whore Whore
  3. God continues to pursue the Whore
  4. God redeems the Whore
  5. God wants us to Love him, and therefore he loves us
  6. The Whore loves God, and is no longer  a Whore

In the Story of Hosea like the story of God, the bride of Christ has returned to their life of whoredom. This is seen with Gomer, Hosea's wife. When Hosea married her, she was a whore. We do not know how long it took for Gomer to start up again, but from the text we might conclude that her second child was not Hosea's. 

In this story, we do not see Hosea forcing Gomer to not Whore. We do not see Hosea forcing Gomer to love him. No we see Hosea pursue and love his wife. We see God let the people of Israel go after other gods and lovers, but we do not see God stop them. Instead God is continuing to pursue their hearts “Name your daughter Lo-ruhamah—‘Not loved’—for I will no longer show love to the people of Israel or forgive them. 7 But I will show love to the people of Judah. I will free them from their enemies—not with weapons and armies or horses and charioteers, but by my power as the Lord their God.” Hosea 1:6

In this story we see God continue to pursue the Whore. Hosea continues to pursue his wife, to reveal to her that he is the one that loves her, he is the one that will supply for her, but she does not see it. 
For their mother has played the whore; she who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink. Hosea 2:5 Even though Gomer goes after her lovers, Hosea does not loose heart, he may be hurt, but he like God has a heart for his beloved. And the plan is to one day for restoration of relationship. “Yet the time will come when Israel’s people will be like the sands of the seashore—too many to count! Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ it will be said, ‘You are children of the living God.’ 11 Then the people of Judah and Israel will unite together. They will choose one leader for themselves, and they will return from exile together. What a day that will be—the day of Jezreel—when God will again plant his people in his land.Hosea 1:10

In this story we see God redeem the whore. Gomer has pursued her lovers, and she had thought they loved her, and she had thought they were taking care of her, but really it was Hosea the entire time, Hosea was providing her with food, wine and gold. Gomer did not realize that Hosea because he loved her wanted her taken care of, but eventually as she did not return, Hosea had to let Gomer carry the weight of her life choices. A tough love, because the lover doesnt ever want the beloved to suffer, but sometimes it is what is needed. Gomer no longer being taken care of by Hosea, eventually is used up by her lovers, they did not love her, they had just been using her. After they were done with her, she found herself in at the end of everything. We find her in the story at the slave market chained up.  And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a letheck of barley. Hosea 3:1,2 Here we see Gods plan to redeem us, to restore relationship. It is not Gomer, she cannot get herself out of this situation she needs Hosea. Likewise we cannot save ourselves we need God. And this is where God wants us to be, he says"I will heal their apostasy (stop believing in God); I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them." Hosea 14:4

In this story we see God wanting us to love him, and therefore he loves us. It is his love that make us love, and it is his faithfulness that makes us faithful. As we read this story we see Hosea always desiring for his beloved to love him back. We see Hosea pursue his wife. As a result we see Gomer respond eventually with love for Hosea.  I want you to show (steadfast) love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6 God desires for us to love him, not to obey because that gets him to love us. He wants us to respond to his love, not try to be lovable. If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is. 2 Tim 2:13 God says because of who I am, I love you. 

In this story we see the whore love God, and is no longer a whore. God had Hosea use the troubled situation that Gomer had gotten herself into. When there was nothing left for Gomer, Hosea went to her, and turned her valley of trouble into a door of hope. God does this again and again as Job 33 says. God brings us to the end of ourselves and there he whispers love to us. It is there that we respond to his irresistible Grace.  It is there that we are no longer a whore, but we become his bride. “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.15 And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. Hosea 2:14,15

Why did God do all of this? Because of his Hesed, because of his unending love for us. Kindness and faithful love (hesed) pursue me every day of my life. I make my home in the house of Yahweh for all time to come. Psalm 23:6 Hesed is not so much a feeling as a decision of will. It is deliberate, it is a love that pursues the other. It chooses to love, and in so goes after the other. Rabbi Kamsler suggests that the best English word to use as a translation for HESED would be "loyalty." God chooses to love us, to remain faithful to us, he is loyal to us, as his beloved bride. God's story is that he loves us, and is inviting us into an imitate relationship. An intimacy that has only been experienced and shared among the trinity, is now our invitation. 

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