READ: Psalm 76, Hosea 1-3, Luke 4, 1 Corinthians 11

LIKE THE LOVE OF THE LORD

Not many of us begin our missions career by being told to marry a prostitute. Old Testament prophets had it rough: walk around naked, cook on dung, not mourn the death of their wife, all the while speaking the most unpopular messages. Not only was Hosea to start his ministry by marrying a sullied woman, but he was to remain committed to her as she repeatedly cheated on him. Hosea’s instructions were: “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans” (Hosea 3:1).

God obviously wanted Hosea to have a “feeling sense” of the things he preached. As Hosea felt the crippling blow of being betrayed, he entered into the passion of God. To be on the wrong end of adultery is like being shot by a cannon in a person’s emotional center–completely devastating and shattering. The God who created all and who is all powerful is wounded, devastated, shattered by humanity’s unfaithfulness. God is not immune to our betrayals; He keenly feels every spiritual abandonment. Only by experiencing God’s pain could Hosea fully communicate God’s love.

As communicators of God’s intentions we are invited, even instructed, to enter into His agonies. It is one thing to speak truth; it is another thing to live it. Those that live the realities they proclaim have a greater moral authority and anointing than those who are technically right but emotionally cold.

Not only are we to come to terms with the agony of being betrayed, we also must grapple with the anguish of committing adultery ourselves–over and over again. The great God of the universe has humbled Himself to enter into an intimate relationship with His bride. We collectively and individually have cheated on God over and over again. We are serial adulterers. Every time we wince at the news of a friend who has fallen morally and broken their sacred vows, we should also recoil at the horror of how many times we have done the same to Jesus. Jesus has the unquestioned authority to ask Hosea (or us) to go back to the betraying spouse because He has done the same over and over again. How marvelous is this love of the Lord–a love that repeatedly seeks out prostitutes like you and me. This is the love that we are called to give to others. This is the love that we are meant to both live and broadcast. How scandalous is love like this.

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