I will never forget my first big fight with Austin. It was while we were in the early stage of dating. The funny thing is that I have no idea what it was about, but I can guess that I was desperately needing to be right about something. I was driving my little yellow bug as he was passionately explaining his point of view from the passenger’s seat. As anyone who knows me well can assume, I had some kind of smart come back that drove him to his breaking point.
He opened the door and jumped out of the car as I was driving.
In every sense I could see, he had given up. My desire to prove myself right had driven him
to literally jump out of a moving vehicle. If that’s not hopelessness, I don’t know what is.
As I consider these and all other displays of sinfulness within our relationship, I am so quickly reminded how even in my most offensive actions toward my God, His reaction is a loving plea to repent and draw closer to Him. That’s what makes my relationship with my God so much more special than even the most sacred relationship I will hold on this earth. Hosea’s story further reminds us of just that.
If you are joining us for the first time, click on the Bible Study tab, then on the Hosea button to read last week’s study of Hosea 1. If you’re all caught up, let’s delve into what I consider one of the most beautiful chapters in God’s word: Hosea 2.
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The LORD’s Mercy on Israel “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. 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. “And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’
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Quick Recap: Hosea is an obedient prophet of God. Yet God uses him to make an example out of the Israelites and ultimately us. He asks Hosea to marry a woman who is he knows will be unfaithful and to continually beckon her back to him not out of force, but rather, earnest love. We leave off when Gomer, Hosea’s wife, is once again fleeing the loving bounds of her marriage with Hosea. God reminds us that that is what we do to Him each day when we choose our own pleasures over the welcoming arms of our Heavenly Groom.
He tenderly calls us to Him
In verse 14, God reminds us, “Behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.”
Let’s recognize one thing before anything else: we are guilty of harlotry against our maker.
We may not be Israelites who built literal idols from gold, but we do build idols from our own desires. Since the blood of His son was spilled for our iniquities, He has given us one command, one way to know Him: accept His son’s sacrifice. Yet we so often try to create other ways of finding joy and salvation.
You better bet that if I was unfaithful to Austin or if he was unfaithful to me, our first inclination would not be to tenderly woo the other back. We would act out of anger, frustration, and distrust. We would question everything about our relationship and likely give up on it all together. Praise Jesus that He is not bound by human nature! He has every right to forget about us, but he chooses all the more to love us. More than that, He promises us an abundant life in Him just as this passage promises vineyards and hope. He chooses to whisper adoration even when we spit in His face. And He will not stop until His children hear Him.
He wants to be our love
Verse 16 seems to have a simplistic meaning, yet when explored in depth, it is so special. The word Baal has two meanings:
- A false god of Israel’s idolatry
- A husband, but in the sense of owner and lord
So when God proclaims, “you shall no longer call me ‘My Baal’”, we must recognize that He is giving us the opportunity to no longer be owned, but to be cherished.
So many consider our faith to be based on slavery to a constricting worldview. We are bound by our religion. Our rules. But friends, that is not our reality. If God wanted Hosea to capture his wife back into his household against her will, he would have commanded him to physically restrain her, to restrict her freedom. That is not His desire.
His desire is that by demonstrating love for her, she may love him in return. That is how he draws us. He reminds us that He is not our owner, but our lover. He has chosen to give himself for us. He entered a covenant relationship in which He knew we would not keep our end of the bargain.
It’s like a marriage. Austin does not force me into relationship with Him. He did not drag me down the aisle. He did not make me vow my allegiance to him forever. He simply loves me. In that, I have the freedom to love him return. I know that even on the days I screw up, he loves me because he chooses to–not because I am inherently worth it. That is the greatest freedom I have ever experienced.
God wants us to love Him warmly as our husband, not dutifully as our lord. However, when
our love for Him turns into deep affection, we will desire to follow His commands.
Hosea’s wife needed to first understand that he wanted her. Only then could she truly find freedom as a wife. Did she fail? Over and over. Did he stop seeking her? Never.
As you can probably guess, my fight with Austin was not the end of our story. He showed up an hour later at my door step, explaining that he had walked from the other side of town to show his love for me. I am so thankful that my God did much more than drive from the other side of a small town. He stepped out of the bounds of his kingdom to pursue me as His own. My marriage does act as a metaphor for that love, but only the real thing will ever come close to satisfying my soul.
… Also Austin was lying; he drove. But that’s another story for another day 😉