God Will Allure Her

We are almost through with the Blog Tour for this year but that doesn’t mean we are wearing down. No, we are racing toward the finish line with a breath of renewed energy. So stay sharp as you read Christine Parker’s post. You will be glad you did.  JED

God Will Allure Her

Hosea. 

A testimony to God’s steadfast lovingkindness towards Israel and Judah.  From the start, Hosea tells the story of our God whose unfailing love paves the way for the redemption of God’s people even as they commit adultery with every lover they can find.

Read Hosea 1-2. Note the intentionality of the writing. Pay attention to the meaning of the names. Let the movement of the plot become apparent. Watch carefully what God is doing behind the scenes.

It is astounding. It is delightful. It is transforming. 

The book is likely written in the final days before Israel’s exile during the rapid succession of kings (six in twenty-five years). God pled with God’s people through many prophets to turn back from their idolatrous ways to avoid the cleansing God would bring through the exile.

In verse 1:2, Hosea is instructed by God to go take a wife, Gomer, from among to harlots and to have children with her, an analogy for Israel and Judah’s adultery. 

Three children are born. 

The first is named Jezreel in reference to a massacre in 1 Kings 9-10

The second child is a daughter named Lo-ruhamah, meaning “she has not obtained compassion.” God tells Hosea to name the innocent this for, “…I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I should ever forgive them” (1:6b).

A third child is born. Another son. His name means “not my people.” Verse 1:9 reads:

And the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not your God.”

Chapter two opens with the two younger siblings instructed to contend with their mother for her harlotry. Hosea writes of how Gomer cheated on the children’s father and warns the father will strip the mother naked and leave her exposed unless she repents of her adultery and no compassion will be had for the woman’s children.

Such brutality is shocking to modern Western readers.

But then something beautiful happens in 2:6. 

The harlot’s husband says something even more shocking!

He tells the children of prostitution that even as their mother pursues her lovers, she will never overtake them. He has put a hedge up along her way. He has walled the paths so that she can run, but she cannot hide from him. She can seek her false lovers, but she will never find fulfillment with them. 

Then she will say, “I will go back to my first husband, For it was better for me then than now!”

What the Israel does not know is that God provided for all her needs while she chased her false lovers. The grain, the new wine, the oil. Even the silver and gold which she and her lovers sacrificed to Baal were lavished upon the her by the harlot’s husband, God. 

Still, God says, she will be punished for her unfaithfulness in the sight of her lovers.

But then. Oh, then, declares the Lord, “I will allure her” (2:14b).

Did you hear that? God will allure the bride who ran off after all her lovers, chasing them with God’s own gold and silver, new wine and oil.

God loves God’s bride so richly, so heavenly, that even the ones called Not My People and She Has Not Obtained Compassion are worthy of God’s alluring efforts. 

“Therefore, behold, I will allure herBring her into the wilderness, And speak kindly to her” (2:14).

And God does. After the adultery/idolatry is removed from the people by means of the exile, the people are brought back to their land. The bride returns to her first love. 

“And it will come about in that day,” declares the Lord, “That you will call Me Ishi [husband]” (2:16).

Hosea 2 ends like a letter between two lovers. No more false lovers, no more war. Israel will lie down in safety, betrothed to God forever in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and in compassion.

God will betroth God’s bride to himself in faithfulness and she will know the Lord. 

And God will respond. 

God will respond in the heavens and Israel will respond on the earth.

And the earth will respond with grain and wine and oil 2:18-23

In grand triumph, the children return:

I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained  compassion,

And I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they will say, Thou art my God!’ (2:23 b,c)

(Be still in that for a moment. Let the beauty of what just happened wash over you.)

This is the story of God and Israel. It is my story. 

My precious love story with God who allures me. 

Yes. God strips me bare and uncovers my nakedness in front of my false gods. 

Then God removes those unkind lovers from my lips and betroths me to God forever.

This is also your story.

(Be still in that for a moment. Let the beauty of what just happened wash over you.)

God is always seeking God’s people. Providing for them. Loving you steadfastly and making a way for you to be found. 

Let God’s lovingkindness and compassion wash over you. God calls you God’s people. 

 

Christine Fox Parker serves as President/Executive Director of PorchSwing Ministries, Inc., a non-profit ministry she founded to offer healing and safe space to survivors of all forms of church abuse and to educate churches and Christian institutions in creating safer spaces and improving care for abuse survivors. She earned a Masters in Christian Ministry and a Master’s in Counseling from Harding School of Theology. 

A popular speaker and teacher across the country, Christine co-edited and contributed to Surrendering to Hope: Guidance for God’s Broken, published by Leafwood Press in May 2018. 

Christine brings passion and joy and laughter to her work. She writes and speaks out of the reality of her own life and the God reflected in the Bible and the world around us. She speaks truth. She speaks it honestly. She speaks it without judgment. In doing so she strives to reveal our God whose love is steadfast and true and seeks a love relationship with all creation.

Connect with Christine on her websites at www.porchswingministries.org and www.christinefoxparker.com .