Whispers of Love
Do you have a favourite bible verse, a favourite biblical character or a favourite passage that means everything to you following Jesus – something like a life verse, maybe? It’s not that there are some verses in the Bible that are ‘better’ than others but rather, somehow, they become ‘whispers of love’ from God for each of us as He ministers to us, personally, along the unique journey of our lives – they become to us “kisses of His mouth” (see Song of Solomon 1:2)
As well as this, there are ‘grand themes’ in the Bible that are stand-out and indispensable for all of us, at the core of our faith, regardless of our own unique journeys. For example, the doctrines of justification by faith, substitutionary atonement, the virgin birth, the incarnation, the Trinity and the sovereignty of God to name but a few.
Hosea: The Left Ventricle of God
The Prophet Hosea is one of the Prophets in the Bible who is especially used of God to showcase a critical emphasis of His divine nature. This emphasis uniquely forms the shocking pinnacle of the revelation of His heart for us.
In short, Hosea is the crème de la crème of the whole Bible, not just as a concentrated microcosm of the gospel message but as a galactic magnifying glass on how God mysteriously thinks, feels and responds to humanity.
Read, Pray, Repeat
If you’ve never read the book of Hosea, or you’re not especially familiar with it, I really encourage you to spend some time reading its fourteen chapters and to pray as you go…it’ll take you about 30-45 minutes.
Next, I’m going to ask you now to use your imagination with me – which will be easier for some of you than others.
In one sense, if your experiences in life have been largely or even totally pain-free, or tragedy and disaster-free, you’re disadvantaged in reading this book. Why? Because Hosea’s main purpose is to connect us powerfully with the tragedy in God’s own heart, the disaster of God’s first creation and the betrayal in God’s own family.
With that in mind, ’empathetically’, therefore, is how we are supposed to read Hosea – to ‘relate’ with our wonderful God and Saviour and come to know/love Him more.
We can all too easily skim read and miss the profundity of what’s going on in Hosea when we don’t ‘walk a mile in God’s shoes’ and try to imagine how this would feel, the effect it would have on one’s heart and the resolve of character that would be needed to ensure redemption’s ultimate victory.
What’s So Important?
To answer this question I want to pose another one – three hypothetical scenarios for you to consider.
Which would be the most painful?
- For a friend you know and love to betray you through slander and gossip?
- For a family member or a close friend to pass away? or
- For your husband or wife to leave you for another partner(s)?
This is what seems obvious to me as an answer:
The book of Hosea is a written account of the betrayed heart of God fleshed out through the life of Hosea in such a way as to point us to the uniquely awful betrayal of a wife of her husband. This is not to belittle the awfulness of the other two scenarios above that are also painful, but it is to highlight the particularly awful reality of betrayal within the covenant of marriage.
I can not imagine a more painful thing than Mairi leaving me for another man, for my marriage with her to collapse, for her to flagrantly abandon her marriage vows with me and for everything I know to implode into a super nova of destruction.
Betrothal Betrayal – How About You?
Can you imagine what this would be like if your husband or your wife did this? (If you’re single, you can also imagine this). Could there be a more profound betrayal and heart-wound possible?
I don’t think that there is.
This is the point of the book of Hosea: to connect us with the deepest valley of pain and despair that the human heart and mind can comprehend.
So that we would come to love Jesus as we should by learning how gloriously lovely He is in redeeming you and I as the protagonists of the cosmic tragedy of covenantal breakdown.
Prayerfully meditating on the uniqueness of the heart pain caused by ‘betrothal betrayal’ will connect us to the deepest affections of the heart of God and will provoke deeper fascination with the Love of God, Jesus Himself.
What is a Ventricle, anyway?
The left ventricle chamber of the heart is the ‘pumping house’ of the cardiac muscle which propels blood flow out of the heart through to the rest of the body. It is the strongest and most muscular part of the cardiac muscle!
Are you up for diving into the unique book of Hosea with me over the next few weeks to discover how this book, Hosea’s actual life, is a parable at the pumping core of God’s unrelenting love for you?
There is deep, deep joy in this – I promise you!