Read: Hosea 1:1-3:5, 1 John 5:1-21, Psalm 124:1-8, Proverbs 29:5-8
Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them. (Hosea 3:1)
Relate: Let’s put this in a modern context…
Hosea calls up a babysitter to come watch the kids. The babysitter arrives and he hops into his car to head downtown. Arriving at a run down old building he pays the bouncer and heads downstairs. The music is unfamiliar and loud. The air is slightly cloudy. He joins a group of guys who are looking down on the dance floor where most of the girls and some other guys are gyrating to the music.
Hosea doesn’t have to search long to find her. There she is in the middle of a group. Her arms are entwined around the latest guy to catch her eye. Hosea’s knuckles are white as he watches them dance for a moment. Getting his anger under control, he takes a deep breath, builds up his nerve, and walks down into the chaos.
She sees him and calls out his name as he gets close. She calls out, “Hosea!” He ducks his head down and hopes… prays that no one in here might recognize him. As he gets closer she shouts over the music, “So you’ve finally decided to join us! Come on baby!” Now she’s trying to dance in between him and this other guy.
At first Hosea tries to grab her wrist and pull her away. She breaks free and slaps him. He’s about to try again when he notices that at least two bouncers are watching. One of them is casually making his way in their direction. Instead he pulls her close and says in her ear, “Let’s go somewhere private.”
“But I’m having so much fun.”
“Are you really?”
For some reason the question freezes her. She stands there looking at him. Her eyes are glassed over. The makeup does a poor job of hiding the sunken look of someone who has not slept in days. She has lost far too much weight and there is a bruise on her upper arm that the shirt almost covers. That bruise isn’t the only thing the skimpy shirt isn’t quite covering. A sweat drop runs from her forehead down the side of the face. Her breath smells of alcohol and something else he doesn’t recognize.
“OK.” She says, “I’ll talk. But that’s all. I’m not going back home and you are going to buy me a drink.”
They walk over to an even darker area where the music seems to be not quite as loud. Hosea’s ears are ringing as he pauses to let his eyes adapt to the darkness. When he sees who else is nearby and what they are doing, Hosea wishes he could go back to being almost blind.
“OK,” Gomer says, “You’ve got me here. What do you want?”
“You. I want you back.”
“Nothing is impossible.”
“This is.” She shows him where she has been sticking the needle. “See these. I’m in over my head. I can’t pay for it anymore. I owe too much and now I’m being loaned out for favors. You take me home we’re both dead.”
For a moment Hosea stands there speechless. How did she let it get this far. He is right about to turn around and walk away when he remembers what he was told. “Take her back.” God’s command was clear. Circumstances don’t change it. So he looked right into those sunken eyes and said, “I’ll take you back. Somehow I’ll work it out with this guy.”
“Even if you could… why?”
“Because God told me to.”
“Not good enough. I’m not going to be another of your religious projects. I’m not just the punch line of your sermons.”
“Because you’re worth more to me than you are to him.”
She rolls her eyes. There’s a pause in the music as the DJ starts to say something. Hosea steps up close. Their noses are almost touching. In the quietest voice that can still be heard he says, “Gomer. No matter what you’ve done. No matter who you have become. I still love you.”
React: How quickly do we give up on those that God is still pursuing? How quickly do we give up on ourselves when we fall? Who might God be telling us to go and bring back into our life? How far are we willing to go to be obedient to Him?
God, help me to love with Your love. Help me to give with Your heart. Help me to pursue, and continue pursuing those You have placed in my life who have walked away from You. Help me to be uncomfortable, give me sleepless nights, drive me to my knees until they fall back into Your arms.