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You’re Not Hosea In This Story

One of the most powerful images of God’s love in Scripture is found in the story of the prophet Hosea. For me, it is one of the most emotionally poignant concepts in Scripture. It strikes my soul. It has transformed and continues to form the way I conceptualize reality. Perhaps telling you why will tenderize you the way it softens my stony heart.

Hosea was stupidly faithful (stupid in a good way). YHWH told Hosea that he was to marry a woman that God knew would be unfaithful to him. God knew that this woman sold her body and would continue to do so even while she was married. Hosea married her. She cheated on him repeatedly and consistently. She even had kids that Hosea named as his own, but would really have no idea whether those kids were his or some dudes that she had an affair with. People Hosea knew talked to him about the sexual relationship they had with his wife. Hosea was betrayed over and over and over by his unfaithful wife and yet He took her back and loved her again and again and again. Why did God want Hosea to do this? He wanted to demonstrate how Hosea’s relationship with his wife was a microcosm of God’s relationship with His people.

I get this, it connects with me. This story hurts me. I feel Hosea’s pain. I think that all people, even if they haven’t directly felt the pain of having a significant other cheat on them, have some understanding of how it feels to be betrayed by someone close to them. I think all of us have some experience of what it is like to feel someone relationally significant to you treat your trust and the relationship flippantly. Betrayal is the second worst feeling in the world.

The worst is feeling the pain that comes from realizing that you have betrayed someone you love and treated the relationship flippantly. You know who wants to feel that? No one. I’ve avoided it myself and watched so many others do the same. Listen to how most people talk about their sin. People talk about it like it’s bad, but not a huge deal because God has forgiven them for it. Or they talk about how it’s human to sin and everyone sins and that’s why we need God’s grace. Maybe they mostly talk about the sin of others and do this sick comparison thing where they perceive others are worse than them so that they can feel better about themselves. People tend to treat sin as inconsequential because it just plain sucks to acknowledge you are the betrayer.

But sin is not inconsequential. It is as destructive to our relationship with God as an act of infidelity is to a marriage. Our sin is absolutely disgusting and it destroys intimacy with God. Our choices of sin are acts of betrayal and infidelity and they hurt God in the way that a husband who catches his wife cheating on him with another man is hurt. We are violating God’s trust, abusing his forgiveness, and showing with our actions how meaningless our relationship with God is to us. Our sin is disgusting and destructive.

It is only when we realize how terrifically horrifying our sins are that we understand and appreciate God’s mercy. It is only then that we can be intimate. If a husband offers forgiveness but an unfaithful wife thinks that what she did was an insignificant act that isn’t really a big deal, how close to you think that couple will be? The wife has to admit that what she has done is terribly destructive, have an appreciation for the forgiveness of her husband, and rebuild trust with her husband through a life of faithfulness or else there is no hope for the relationship. There will be little intimacy for those who make excuses for their destructive behavior. There is no way that you will ever see God’s love for what it is if you do not first see you for what you are.

You are the whore. God has taken you as his bride. You have whored yourself to people that matter little. God has reaffirmed his love for you. You display your shameful infidelity with pride. God shouts his love for you from the rooftops. You have broken all your promises. In His faithfulness, God’s wants to renew his vows. Your heinous acts have destroyed your most important relationship. God wants to restore Himself to you. Your prostitution has left your life in ruins. God wants to rebuild it with you. You have run from him into the arms of many other men. God waits for your return with open arms. You are a dirty, betraying whore. God loves you and wants to make you pure and reconcile with you.

Addendum: It has been brought to my attention that all of the yous and generalized way of speaking about the text disconnects me from the story and it feels like I’m talking from a place of authority to a reader. I just wanted to say that most of this is me trying to make the story hit you in a way similar to how it has hit me. Let me be clear about this: I’m the whore too. We have all been the whore. That’s what’s so amazing about God’s love and infinite mercy. Let’s live to reflect and honor both.

  1. Joel Morgan
    December 20, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    I feel dirty.

    • December 21, 2010 at 7:20 pm

      Well, I suppose I’ll have to address that soon.

  2. Chris Schasse
    January 1, 2011 at 1:52 am

    Good title. I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but that title puts it into perspective. I often think of myself as Hosea. It’s interesting… I’ve never thought of myself as the whore…

  1. December 23, 2010 at 10:48 pm
  2. June 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm

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