Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. Hosea 2:14
God’s love for His people endures forever, even when they reject Him for other gods. In God’s mercy, He speaks of alluring His people back just as a man might court a woman.
God told Hosea, a prophet in the days of Uzziah, to marry Gomer, a harlot, and have children with her. She had two children with Hosea and she left him and went back to harlotry.
She left Hosea and pursued her lovers, but she was not treated well. Some think that she became a cult prostitute, while others think she might have become the property of another man.
God speaks of Israel leaving Him and acting like a harlot. Hosea 2 indicates that God punished Israel, and later, He speaks of her lovingly, planning to allure her to Him.
And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord. Hosea 2:19-20
God told Hosea to love Gomer as a picture of how the Lord loves the Israelites. Hosea bought Gomer for 15 shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley, worth another 15 shekels of silver, the price of a slave.
What a picture of the love of God towards His people AND the love of Hosea as a husband! Hosea reflected God’s love towards Israel as he redeemed Gomer and brought her into a restored relationship as his faithful wife.
In the New Testament, Paul urges husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, His bride:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27
Three love words
- Gave himself for her. God betrothed (engaged) the Israelites in righteousness and justice. Jesus betrothed the church by taking our sins upon Himself and paying the price, death on the cross. He rose from the dead three days later and sits at the right hand of the Father, speaking on our behalf.
- Cleansed her by the Word of God. God allured Israel and brought her to Him in steadfast love and mercy. We see that love and mercy through the Word of God.
- Presented her in holiness, without blemish. God engaged Israel in faithfulness, so that she would know Him.
What if husbands allured their wives and spoke tenderly to them?
What if husbands gave themselves fully and sacrificially up for their wives?
What if husbands read the Word of God to their wives?
What if husbands presented their wives in holiness to the Lord?
How would wives respond?
My prayer for you:
Father of love and mercy, thank You for Your tender love that surpasses our understanding. Give us the capacity to reflect Your love to others and especially to our spouses. Restore marriages and our relationship to You, so that we may know You in all Your fullness and in all the promises and plans that You have for us.
How will you show your spouse how much your love is?