- Religion and Philosophy
God's Stubborn Love
God’s Stubborn Love
The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites , though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”
Hosea 3 :1
The Book of Hosea begins with a love story, a painful, heartbreaking personal love story, the prophet’s very own. Hoses had married Gomer, a woman who acted like a prostitute. Yet the more she cheated on him, the more Hosea loved her. Hosea gave Gomer everything a good wife deserved: his love and affection, his home and shelter, his name, his honor and reputation. But Gomer did not reciprocate all this devotion shown to her by her husband Hosea instead she betrayed his trust and responded by living with other men. He warned her, he pleaded with her, he punished her. She humiliated him until he wanted to cry, yet still he clung to her.
Why did Hosea begin this book with his personal love story ? Because God had expressly told him to relate it to more tragic love story: the painful love story between God and His people Israel. There is a parallelism between the two love stories. God could have simply declared, “ Israel is like a wife to me – an adulterous wife. Instead He used Hosea to act out the treachery in real life – and to show in living color God’s fury, His jealousy and above all else, His love for His people.
God is always so passionate about His love for Israel which He considers His bride. God loves Israel with an undying devotion. God provided everything to Israel, everything a nation could ask for, He provided them with a rich and fertile land, His loving providence, His Law, His glory, His presence, His shield and protection, His covenant. God does not want to be only “master” to His people but He want to be a husband , giving all of Himself in intimate love.
But Israel did not remain faithful to God inspite of God’s undying devotion to her. The Israelites deserted the only true and living God and worshipped other gods. They have comimited spiritual adultery. When most people must have been preoccupied with politics and military matters, Hosea kept his message aimed at idol worship, which he referred to as adultery. He saw that as the rest of Israel’s problems.
Israel tended to mix religions freely- to think that everybody’s religion had a little truth in it, and the more religion you got, the better you would be, Many prophets attacked Israel’s idol worship . Hosea has shown that God’s concern about idolatry is no fussy, religious matter, It is terribly personal. God, the lover will not share His bride with anyone.
God’s anger and jealousy expressed so often throughout the Old Testament, reflects His powerful love. Sin does not merely break God’s Law but it breaks His heart. He punishes to get His lover’s attention. Yet even when she turns back on Him, He sticks with her. He is willing to suffer in hope that someday she will change. Hosea demonstrates that God longs not to punish but to love. And even though how many times Israel break His heart, He will still choose to love her in the end. God’s love indeed is a stubborn love.
The New International Version Devotional Study Bible