I believe that love is primarily a decision, a choice, an action we take. Hosea 3 reinforces this understanding. In this short and summarized chapter, we return to the story of Hosea and Gomer. From the first-person point of view, Hosea relays a key conversation he had with God, in which God instructed him to show “love” again to his adulterous wife. Importantly, this reconciliation was commissioned by God for His purposes. It was not initially Hosea’s idea.
The Hebrew word for “love” in Hosea 3:1 can have several meanings: a strong desire, compassion for family, a romantic encounter, or emotional care and commitment. Here God calls Hosea to love Gomer as He has loved Israel. This “love” is clearly shown in Hosea’s actions and words. To begin with, Hosea bought Gomer back for fifteen shekels of silver and some barley. No explanation is given for this monetary exchange. Gomer may have incurred debt while they were separated or even sold herself into slavery. Regardless, Hosea willingly pays a steep price for her return. Then, Hosea spells out the conditions of their reunification. Gomer was to live with Hosea and remain celibate for many days—a probationary and purification period—after which the marriage relationship would be reinstated. Verses 4–5 describe a similar process for God’s people. They would live for “many days” (v. 4) without the political and religious practices that had led them astray. With their old temptations removed, the Israelites would return and seek the Lord.
In Hosea’s living metaphor of shocking and sacrificial love, his audience would have seen a mere reflection of the love that God had for them—a love that longs for restoration and willingly redeems, a love that passionately pursues the prostitute.
>> God graciously and actively loves His people even when we least deserve it. How have you experienced God’s active love? How can you graciously and actively show God’s love to the people He puts in your life?
Lord, You have forgiven us for sins seen by none but You. Remind us of Your gracious forgiveness when others’ evil appalls us. Make us Your instruments of forgiveness to those whom the world sees as the least worthy.