A few weeks ago, Anna and I began compiling a list of verses that we felt would compliment the mission of The WellHouse. The Holy Spirit led us to Hosea 2:19.
“I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.”
Now, the most I know about the Old Testament is that it tells us how God created the world and man, Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, and Noah’s ark, Jonah and the whale…you know, the basics that we sang songs about in Sunday School when we were 5. And believe it or not, I can name every single book in the Old Testament, thanks to a little tune I learned about 25 years ago at Vacation Bible School. But let’s face it, there’s some pretty scary stuff in the Old Testament and the New Testament is so much easier to ‘get’, right?
So, I opened my Bible and began to read the book of Hosea…the first of the minor prophets.
And just in case you were wondering, there are 5 major prophets and 12 minor prophets in the Old Testament. The major prophet’s (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel) content is broad. The minor prophet’s (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi) content has more of a narrow focus. In Hosea’s case, the content is focused on his relationship with family; specifically his wife, Gomer; and how that parallels God’s relationship to Israel.
During this time Israel’s government was falling to ruin. In addition to that there was a steady change of power, violence was abounding, and war was inevitable. In their desperation, Israeli priests began offering sacrifices to idols (prominently Baal) and the people of Israel followed suit. Just think: sheer chaos and the absence of God…or so they thought.
When you think about what God has called you to do, do you ever consider that it would be a difficult task? When we think about God ‘calling’ (or leading) us, we usually consider it to be something good, and relatively easy, right? Even though we live very differently than the people in Old Testament times, in general, human nature is the same. For a long time, I had a jaded view that people in the Bible were almost 'perfect'. Like storybook characters. It has always been hard for me to consider that those people were just like me. We are all human, imperfect, and for most of us...struggling through a world of sin and doubt, doing everything we can do to get to Heaven. Because (as my daddy always says), if we miss Heaven, we miss it all. So let's talk about Joseph. Do you ever think about people of the Bible in their day-to-day life? Forget about the 'story' and think about him for a moment. How do you think he felt when he found out that Mary was pregnant? He knew that Mary was a virgin. Was he angry? hurt? embarrassed? Do you think he wondered what his friends would say? Now let’s consider Hosea… a prophet in a world that had turned away from God. His life wasn’t all roses and gumdrops either.
God instructs him to take a wife, Gomer She was an adulterous woman, but Hosea loved her. He loved her unconditionally, because God commanded it. She gave birth to three children, none of which Hosea was the father. Eventually, she leaves him and we learn that she finds herself in a whole heap of trouble. God tells Hosea to go find Gomer. When he finds her, she has been sold into slavery (imagine that...) and Hosea has to actually buy her back. Who says what’s right is always easy?
God does all of this for a purpose. Hosea’s story is a direct parallel to the story of God and His people (specifically during this time, the Israelites). Hosea’s story is God’s story. God wanted Israel back. He loved them unconditionally. They were His people then, just as we are His people now. No matter how far we stray, He wants us back. When we are at our worst and when we are unlovable, God loves us. He wants us safe in his arms.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4
We think of the word betroth as meaning ‘to marry’. But the word marry (according to wonderful Google) means “to cause to meet or fit together”. Isn't it comforting to know that God wants that with US? Imperfections and all? God wants us at our best and at our worst.. forever. He wants to fit together with us!
This month, please join us in prayer for The Well House and their mission. Please pray for the women that are there and for the women who need to be there. We want them to know that God loves everyone exactly the same. We are all sinners and we have all fallen from His grace. God sent His son to be perfect in a sinful world so that we aren't held to that standard. It is our blessing that He loves us ANWYAY! He is always calling us back.
When you receive your shirt, put it on. Look in the mirror. What do you see? We need to start seeing ourselves the way that God sees us. Have you ever been completely confident that you are "Beautiful and Beloved"? Well, now you can be because we are His, beloved and betrothed.
Love and Blessings,