I remember the first time I read the book of Hosea. It was quite recent, actually. In July. We were in Costa Rica, and Jules showed it to me. And it very quickly became my favourite book of the Bible.
Hosea changed everything for me. It changed the way I view myself–the prostitute, Gomer. It changed the way I view God–the faithful lover, the redeemer, Hosea. It changed the way I view the world, the way I love the world. It gave me just a tiny glimpse into the beauty of God’s love, the way it hurts him to watch us ignoring it. It allowed me to feel that love, that pain–at least as much as my human heart can.
Hosea is a book of beauty. It’s poetic and thought-provoking, a real work of art. It’s laden with striking metaphors and tender imagery. It’s utterly breathtaking, overwhelming, exhilarating. Incomprehensible. Just like God’s love for us. Mind-blowing.
When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
But the more they were called,
the more they went away from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals
and they burned incense to images.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
a little child to the cheek,
and I bent down to feed them.
Oh, how he loves us. And yet we continue to prostitute ourselves. “I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt…in their misery they will earnestly seek me,” God says. “I long to redeem them, but…they do not cry out to me from their hearts.”