In the Old Testament book of Hosea God commands a man to marry and love an unfaithful woman called Gomer. She even became a harlot after their marriage and Hosea has to buy her out of sexual slavery. So much for her keeping her vows! The year was about 710 B.C. and God had called Hosea to be His prophet to the Northern Kingdom known as Israel.
Hosea 3:1-3 says, "The LORD said to me, 'Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.' So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, 'You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.'"(Bold added)
In Hosea 2:19-20, God reveals to us the type of love He has for His children (Israel) and therefore the type of love Hosea is to demonstrate through obedience to God toward the unlovable, wretched Gomer. He was not asked to feel “in love” or to experience romantic warm fuzzies, but rather to show love.
Hosea 2:19-20 reads, “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD.” (Bold added)
This love is “hesed”. Charles Ryrie in the NIV Study Bible (p. 1203) writes, “It means loyal, steadfast, or faithful love and stresses the idea of a belonging together of those involved in the love relationship. Here it connotes God’s faithful love for His unfaithful people.” By Hosea choosing to obey God’s command to unconditionally show mercy, and unwavering commitment to Gomer who did not deserve it, Israel would have a “real life” model of God’s unending, unmerited, unwavering love and mercy toward them.
Likewise, in Psalm 21:6,7, King David writes a powerful message to us:
“Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.” (Bold added. This is the Hebrew word, “Hesed”)
God’s love will never fail you even when you fail Him. He will never leave or forsake you. You are prone to failure. He is not. You, oh Christian, are the glad recipient of God’s everlasting, unconditional favor and uncondemnable kindness. His “hesed” for you is because of Him, not you. In His eyes, you are innocent of all charges. You have been washed by the blood of the Lamb. You are holy and precious to Him. Treat your mate the way God treats you.
You are to demonstrate this same “hesed” love toward your mate. The world is watching. The world is searching for evidence that the God of the Bible is real and that His love for His children is unconditional and everlasting. When you honor God and love your mate as Hosea loved Gomer and as God loves His children, others will be drawn to the Lord Jesus Christ. Souls will be robbed from being sent to Hell, and the numbers in Heaven will increase. Now you know why Satan wants to isolate and destroy your marriage. People are looking at your marriage to see if Jesus and the Bible are real! [i]
Does the Lord Jesus really satisfy your weary, frustrated, and, at times, wandering soul? Is your marriage a “satisfied” marriage? Gladly receive God’s hesed and quickly pass this tender, uncompromising love on to your mate. It is contagious!
[i] Adapted from Chapter 10, “Oars and Life Jackets”, Remember the Rowboats: Anchor your Marriage to Christ, pp: 94-95.