The book of Hosea
is a love letter that God gives to the Israelites. The whole book describes a tale about
"a harlot being loved."
From this, we can
be aware that God gives his people the complex passion of love, hate, and its
conflicting emotions. This
"love" means that the Israelites are a people who are especially loved
and selected by God. There are signs of God's love and grace on them.
This "hate" means that the Israelites are a people who are
disobedient and forgetful of the grace coming from God frequently. Based on the above, God really loves as
well as hates the Israelites. The
words, coming from Hosea, show this conflicting state of mind. For example," ... my compassion
grows warm and tender" (Hos 9:17), “I will fall upon them like a bear
robbed of her cubs, I will tear open their breast, and there I will devour them
like a lion, as a wild beast would rend them” (Hos 13:8), “I will heal their
faithlessness; I will love them freely....” (Hos 14:4), and so on. We can say that God's tender and true love towards
the Israelites are deep and have no need of return.
God creates the human
body miraculously and more importantly, He gives human beings precious
feelings. Thus, people can be
filled with joy, anger, sadness and happiness, which enrich their lives. From ancient to modern times, various
human feelings such as helplessness, indecisiveness, agitation, and regret spread
continuously with the mixture of joy and sadness.
In Hosea, God
commands the prophet to marry a harlot, which is unacceptable, but God's command is too
hard to understand. Yet, the
prophet marries the harlot, Gomer, obediently. Then, Gomer
betrays her husband and gives her love to another one. Despite sadness, the
husband, according to God's command, brings Gomer
back twice. He does not try to
shame nor avenge her, but pardons her and accepts
her with no regrets. From the
bottom of our hearts, if we try to realize the deep love between Hosea and Gomer, God and the Israelites, would we be touched by such unchanging
love, whether it is alive or dead?
Human beings are
weak when it comes to feelings. Many people often feel so much injustice in their feelings
that they spend the rest of their living in melancholy or even hating each
other. The harlot betrays her
husband, but her husband redeems her with tremendous love and at a great price. How great is the affection when the Israelites,
just like the harlot, are not loyal to God in their faith and desert God, but are found back repeatedly.
Whenever they turn back to God, God hugs them with His mighty arms. Although they get hurt several times, they do not know God's cure.
God says, "I led them with cords of compassion, with the bands of
love, and I will heal their faithlessness; I will love them freely, for My anger
has turned away from them." These words show God's love, which harbors no disputes but is complete and holy. Doesn't God treat disobedient people in the same loving way?
Today, God is
still waiting for us and tolerating us, for
"God is love." We ought to be led by His compassionate
cords and bands of love, because the love of human beings is too difficult to keep
from changing. But we in the Lord know deeply that God is honest and that His love will never change.