Have you ever been in love?
Have you ever fallen out of it? Gotten your heart broken and feeling you will never find love again. Badmouthing and seeing every person of the opposite sex as evil since one left you broken. You become a self-turned Evangelist, preaching the message of how fearsome and cruel love can be.
“Please don’t go there with your mind, I’m not one”.Haha!😆
It’s beautiful to be in love and amazing when that love is reciprocated. Yet often at times, we don’t get what we hope for, and our love life turned one-sided. Such is the love of God for his people that is depicted in the Prophecy of Hosea.
Well, we all know or might have heard of one of the minor prophets in the Bible being Hosea. But how many of us know about his painful love story? Let me take you back to your Sunday school days.
It was a time when the Israelites were more interested in worshiping idols than worshiping God, doing all sort of things that were against God’s orders, that God ordered Hosea to go marry Gomer, a harlot. Such an unlikely couple. God’s reason was as so Hosea might know exactly how he was feeling about Israel’s unfaithfulness. I’m certain Hosea although married to a prostitute hoped for the best in marriage. Yet as the people of Israel kept on defying God and neither listening to the preaching and God’s warning through the Prophet Hosea, so did Gomer keep seeing other men and being against her husband’s faith and conviction.
A broken-hearted, betrayed, and sorrowful Hosea, an innocent and faithful man. His beloved was going off with other men. Loving them instead of him, making him a laughing stock, and unfit to be preaching to the people of Israel what his wife was similarly engaged in. How sure could he have been that the children she bore were even his? It felt as though his fragile heart would never recover.
Finally, Gomer’s wondering had gotten her into the wrong hands and she was being sold as the Slave.
In chapter 3:1 of the book of Hosea, God asks him to go again and show love for a woman who is committing adultery with a lover. “You must love her, just as I love the people of Israel”, God stated. I’m certain Hosea might have cried out to the Lord at this point. He might have said this to the Lord; “How could you, ask me to show love to such woman again? she wronged me, and threw my love away. Why should I have to buy her back when she already belongs to me?“
In an open space, with judgemental looks around and no drop of sympathy, we find Gomer broken and miserable. Sitting on the floor in dirty clothes, her face bowed down, hands tied up, and all hope lost. “I’m not worthy of any love, I’m worthy of any kindness. As filthy as I am, I only deserve this”. She murmurs to herself as they bargain on how much she is to be sold and quietly awaits for who is yet to become her master.
Amid the crowd, a familiar voice utters “Kama?“. Translated from Hebrew to English as “How Much?”
In pain, fear, and guilt, she slowly lifts her head, hoping and praying to be wrong with her guess. Yet there stood her true owner moving up towards her. Still asking “How Much”
“Not how much for this Slave, or Harlot?”
But, How Much?
For the mother of my children, my beloved, my wife?
Then Hosea after buying her for fifteen pieces of silver and 150kg of barley, unties the rope on her hands, lifts her from the floor, and carries her in his arm.
Such is how much Hosea showed love again to his wife, illustrating to the world how much God loves us too.
Telling out his message to the people and us all,
“It doesn’t matter how many times you wronged him, it doesn’t matter the severity of your sins, how useless or broken you may think you are now. Just turn him, he still loves you.”
He loves us, and so much because his love is not depending on us.
God’s love is not dependant on how much love we are willing to show back to him. He loves us because he is love.
My definition of love still states; Giving out, not excess, but more than you have ever received.
I may not know how life might have been for you. Your struggle, and the pain caused by others, especially the ones you loved and trusted. But I for sure do know that it does hurt greatly. I’m not certain if I can do what Hosea did for Gomer, walk in his shoes having an undying love for a woman who didn’t deserve it.
Yet do I deserve the Love I receive?
Am I worthy of it?
Am I worthy of forgiveness when all I keep doing is hurting the one who keeps loving me?
Am I worthy of kindness when I keep devaluing each act of it?
Am I worthy of any love when I can not reciprocate it?
An old friend of mine once said; “when they hurt you, why not dwell on the good memories you have of them?”
Thought of that was infuriating at first thinking she was taking the side of the offender. But after a while, you will note that dwelling on the good memories indeed lessens the pain in the heart making it easy to forgive, and setting yourself free.
How much are you willing to give up for the ones that cause you pain?
How much of yourself are you willing to let go to set them free?
How much love are you willing to give?
Hosea gave more than just the fifteen pieces of silver and 150kg of barley.
God gave and still gives more than the life of his only son.
Just how much?
Are you also willing to give?
Be the Love Brand, and love others without any expectation of it being reciprocated.