Hosea: God Is Love
The three children have taught us about the grace of God, and Gomer has taught us about the holiness of God. Now Hosea will teach us about the love of God.
“Hosea takes his place among the greatest lovers of all the ages,” wrote Kyle M. Yates. “His love was so strong that the vilest behavior could not dull it…. Gomer broke his heart but she made it possible for him to give to the world a picture of the heart of the divine Lover.”
God’s Love Promised
The repeated “I will” statements in these verses assure us that God has a wonderful future planned for the Jewish people. Let’s note His promises.
“But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there.
Hosea 2:14 (NLT)
He begins with “I will win her back”. God doesn’t try to force His people to love him. Instead, He “allures” (woos) them as a lover woos his beloved, seeking her hand in marriage. Certainly God spoke tenderly to His people through His Word and through the manifold blessings He bestowed on them in their land. Just as He led her through the wilderness and “married” her at Sinai, so God will meet His beloved in the wilderness in the last days and lead her into her land and her glorious kingdom.
I will return her vineyards to her
and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.
She will give herself to me there,
as she did long ago when she was young,
when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.
Hosea 2:15 (NLT)
The next promise is “I will return” as the Lord guarantees a return to their land and a restoration of their prosperity.
God was promising
- To bring the people to the desert, a place free from distractions, so he could clearly communicate with them, and
- To change what had been a time of trouble into a day of hope.
The Valley of Trouble is the site where Achan had sinned by keeping forbidden war plunder (see Josh 7). He had brought great disaster to Joshua’s troops when they were attempting to conquer the land. God uses even our negative experiences to create opportunities to turn back to Him. As you face problems and trials remember that God speaks to you in the “desert” and not just in times of prosperity.
When that day comes,” says the Lord,
“you will call me ‘my husband’
instead of ‘my master.’
O Israel, I will wipe the many names of Baal from your lips,
and you will never mention them again.
Hosea 2:16-17 (NLT)
God’s third promise is “I will wipe the many names of Baal from your lips”. Not until Judah’s exile would the entire nation begin to come to its senses, give up its idols, and turn back to God; and not until that day when God rules through Jesus the Messiah will the relationship between God and his people be restored. In that day, God will no longer be like a master to them; he will be like a husband (Isa 54:4-8). The relationship will be deep and personal, the kind of relationship we can know, though imperfectly, in marriage.
On that day I will make a covenant
with all the wild animals and the birds of the sky
and the animals that scurry along the ground
so they will not harm you.
I will remove all weapons of war from the land,
all swords and bows,
so you can live unafraid
in peace and safety.
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 2:18-20 (NLT)
God’s fourth promise is “I will make a covenant”. God’s wooing of Israel will result in her yielding to Him and entering into a covenant relationship that would never end. This new covenant will include a restored creation (see Gen. 9:1-10; Rom. 8:18-22) and peace among the nations. Among the “wedding gifts” will be such blessings as righteousness, justice, love, compassion, and faithfulness—everything that Israel had lacked during her years of separation from her Husband, Jehovah God. God was promising a fresh new beginning, not just a temporary rewriting of a tired old covenant (see Jeremiah 31:31-34).
God’s wedding gift to his people, both in Hosea’s day and in our own, is His compassion. Through no merit of our own, God forgives us and makes us right with Him. There is no way for us by our own efforts to reach God’s high standards, but He graciously accepts us, forgives us, and draws us into a relationship with Himself. In the relationship we have personal and intimate communion with Him.
“In that day, I will answer,”
says the Lord.
“I will answer the sky as it pleads for clouds.
And the sky will answer the earth with rain.
Then the earth will answer the thirsty cries
of the grain, the grapevines, and the olive trees.
And they in turn will answer,
Hosea 2:21-22 (NLT)
The fifth promise is “I will answer”. These two verses describe a tremendous cosmic conversation in which the Lord speaks to the heavens and the earth and they respond to each other and bring blessings to God’s people. The heavens send the rain, the earth brings forth the produce, and the Lord sends His rich blessings. It’s the picture of a restored universe where sin and death no longer reign (Rom. 5:12-21).
At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites
and raise them for myself.
I will show love
to those I called ‘Not loved.’
And to those I called ‘Not my people,’
I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’
And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’”
Hosea 2:23 (NLT)
The final promise in this text is “I will plant”. The word “Jezreel” means “God sows.” The image is that of God sowing His people in their land the way a farmer sows seed. He says to them, “You are My people!” They respond, “You are our God!” This relates back to the names of the children that God in His grace had changed.
DECLARATION OF FAITH
The Holy Spirit leads me with a gentle hand, speaking to me softly and drawing me along a miracle-filled path glorifying the name of Jesus. He gives me abundance in the midst of the desert and opens a door of hope in a troubled land.
I respond to Him as a child, in absolute faith and trust. He is no longer a taskmaster to me, but my covenant partner and friend.
He has stripped the enemy of all his power and has caused me to dwell in safety.
He is my partner and my first love from this day unto eternity. I am betrothed to Him in righteousness and justice, and in true love and compassion. I acknowledge His name and His presence in all that I do, and He is faithful to me in every way.
The Lord responds to me with patience and kindness. He fills me with His anointing to nourish the seed that I have sown, causing an abundant increase to overwhelm me.
In Him, I am well established. He has brought me forth out of the kingdom of darkness and has made me His own son/daughter. Satan was once my spiritual father, but now my Father is God.
My heavenly Father has pledged His eternal love to me before all of heaven and has set me in the place of highest honor in His kingdom.
I pray this declaration of faith in Jesus’ name, Amen!