As I sit at my writing desk watching the wild turkeys scavenging for food, I ponder the love life of Hosea the prophet. What was it like to be Hosea? What conversations went around his dinner table as he ate with his unfaithful wife and children? What in the world did he talk to his wife about on their pillow?
A cold north wind has blown through Montana this February bringing with it freezing temperatures and all I can ponder is this man’s devout servanthood to his Holy King.
With my wool sweater and socks pulled on tight this morning, I sip my warm echinacea tea and snuggle closer into my chair as I think about what a horrible life this biblical prophet surely had.
He must have been completely surrendered to God to take a whore as a wife.
He married Gomer not because he fell in love with her but because he was obedient to his God.
What a calling.
My heart goes out to this man only because I have experienced a small taste of his afflictions.
I do not envy Hosea’s purpose, but somehow it resonates with the deepest rifts of my soul.
Not that I took a whore for a husband. However, I do know the doubling-over pain of having to bear it all before the Lord as He asks me to go back and love my adulterous husband. To try and receive back the one my heart loved after he had already been tainted by another lover was almost unbearable.
I think about the anguish in Hosea’s heart as his King asks such a harrowing request of him. I think about the crisis point that he must have faced. Had he been married before, or was this his only chance at love?
At that critical point as he ponders, “my will or They will be done?” I could only imagine that perhaps at this point, he could have hated being a prophet. I remember the feeling of utter resentment of being a Christian when I was instructed to “Go back, wash their feet, and love them.”
“Go back and wash their feet?”
“God, I’m going to burn our house down!!!”
With gut-wrenching tears and a deep, wounded warrior’s cry, I laid my life and will on the alter that day. I surrendered it all to my King. I then went back and washed the feet of the one my heart loved and his lover.
I wonder if Hosea actually learned to love Gomer or was this strictly a heart-wrenching assignment from Hosea’s King?
Hosea must have fallen in love with his wife.
I could only assume that God gave him the same love for his bride that the Lord has for His beloved. For Hosea to feel the same rejection, betrayal, and heartache that God felt, He would have given Hosea this kind of love for his wife.
If this is the case, I guarantee that Hosea cried many tears as he made love to his wife, knowing she was thinking of other lovers.
I think of how God told him to get his wife back even after she had been loved by another.
And then a memory forms;
“I don’t love you anymore, I’m not sure if I ever did,” came the confession of the man who wore the gold ring that I bestowed upon him and who had sworn to cherish me for always.
I think about the pain that Hosea must have felt every time his wife would leave in the middle of the night and chase her lovers as he was home with their children. I think about the anger (outright rage) that Hosea must have had when God told him to “go, buy her back.”
Why would he want her now?
How could he love her now, knowing that she had been so unfaithful? As he was there offering his all to her over and over as she walked away again and again? He knew that no one else loved her the way that he loved her. How could they, his love for her overwhelmed even him at times? The one that she rightfully belonged to, who loved her with a firey, unyielding, undying love, had to purchase her back after others had used her up.
I guarantee you that Hosea was a man of many silent tears.
As I listen closely this morning, the Lord starts to speak to me in rhythms about His broken heart as though He too knows Hosea’s relentless pain.
It comes in waves.
He speaks to me about His wayward bride, and I cry. I understand the pain that comes along with a beloved leaving for another lover. I understand the ways of a scorned bride. Again, I cry. He speaks to me of His love for her and how His heart has broken twice. Once in the garden and once upon the cross. He speaks to me about how He gave it all to her, sacrificed his only son to buy her back, and yet she still runs, chasing her lovers that can not satisfy. He shows me the scars on His son’s hands as they reach out for her, and she turns her back and walks away. He shows me the rhythms of the breaking every time she walks away.
I understand and cry again.
He speaks to me of the gathering and how he will gather her to Himself. He speaks to me of the ninety-nine and the one who will go astray. He speaks to me of His rescue mission and how it tore the veil in two. He speaks to me of his unfailing love and his love for you. He speaks to my tender heart and knows that I understand. He speaks to me once, and He speaks twice again. He speaks to me of His return and how He’s coming back for His one true love. He speaks to me of the timing and all that needs to be done. He speaks to me about the calling that my voice will provide. A calling to all who will, a calling out to His bride. He speaks to me of His undying love for those who have gone astray. He speaks to me of his loving-kindness and how He has already prepared a way. He speaks to me of a rapture that will call his bride to His side. He speaks to me of the overwhelming love that she will feel at that time. He speaks to me of His sorrow of the bride that He will leave behind, I cry. He speaks to me of the plan that he had for her. He speaks to me of the longing that He will always feel. He speaks to me of her waywardness as she falls in the desert. He speaks to me of the way He fought and tried to get her to get up. He speaks to me of the last breath that she breathed on this side.
He speaks to me of her choice to be left behind, and then He cries.
He speaks to me of the voice I must be to make that one last call for all the bride to see. For those who are lost and those who are found for those who have run and those who have turned around. He speaks of a time near and a time not too far away that His bride will be with Him for all eternity. He tells me of His love that He has had for me and tells me of the pain that he has seen me through, He tells me of a heart surgeon that He recommends. He tells me of the time that He is coming back again.
I cry, thinking of His heart for His bride.
I think about this longing that only the scorned lover would know. I think about my calling and the heart that it will come through.
So, I ask myself once again, was it worth the pain? Then I see You hanging on that cross saying, “I would do it all over again.”
So, I think of Hosea and understand that he was actually a favored man to have been able to experience this deep, intimate love that could have only been God-given.
All my love,