By Andrew Stoddard
It takes a unique marriage to survive in the wake of infidelity. Even fewer survive situations of serial unfaithfulness. Without the presence and love of God, it’s nearly impossible for a marriage that has suffered such fracturing to become whole and healthy once again.
So much more than physical intimacy is severed through unfaithfulness. Emotional connectedness, relational trust, spiritual oneness—all of these are fractured through adultery.
It’s easy to read portions of Hosea and have a sense of indignation towards his wayward wife. But the reality is, spiritually speaking, we have all walked in the steps of Hosea’s unfaithful wife more than once.
Hosea’s life was meant to be an extended illustration to the people of Israel, indicting them for their serial unfaithfulness to God. Despite the goodness God had shown them, in spite of the redemption and release from slavery He had given them, regardless of His continuous provision, the people of Israel perpetually found themselves worshiping false gods. Most prominently in Hosea, we see that the Israelites turned their affections towards Baal, a pagan god of fertility.
God’s relentless pursuit of His people is demonstrated in the life of Hosea. Hosea offered unconditional love and forgiveness to his wandering wife. Though she had countless lovers, Hosea always welcomed her home with loving arms wide open.
Imagine Hosea saying to her, “You are my wife. You are loved. Come home.”
God’s words in Hosea 2:23 echo this sentiment, affirming that though the Israelites did not deserve to be His people, He called them His own. He reminds them of His love and in spite of their sin, they could return home to Him.
We know from Paul’s letters in the New Testament that we are the bride of Christ. Yet, we also know from experience that we are far from being a faithful one. Only the supernatural love of God can cover and forgive such blatant and constant transgressions.
We who have sought other lovers and encounters with false gods, through other people, places, and possessions—Christ has made us His bride. We can come home. We are loved (Ephesians 2:1–5).
The product of our sin, the result of our wayward choosing, is that we end up in the camp of “not my people” (Hosea 1:9). We wander away from our spiritual home in search of passions and pleasures that we think will fill the void. Yet what you need, what I need, and what we all need most is to turn to God.
He will always call us back. He is faithful to rename us His people.
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