Have you seen the theatrical release of “Redeeming Love” based on the best-selling book by Francine Rivers? My friend, Elaine and I saw the movie last weekend.
If you’ve been on social media, you may have seen a wide range of opinions, out-right enthusiasm, or objections for this adaptation of River’s work to the big screen. I’ll include a link to the Facebook review that I posted at the bottom of this post. But, I don’t want to use our precious time together to debate the controversy. Instead, I want to revisit the basis for River’s original novel in the book of Hosea. This book of the Bible shares the heartbreaking and incredible message that God conveyed through his prophet, Hosea, who endured his own heartache in order to reach God’s people.
This short, prophetic book of the Bible shares the heartbreaking and incredible message that God conveyed through his prophet, Hosea, who endured his own heartache in order to reach God’s people.
Let me highlight four things that you should know about the book of Hosea and the major themes in this story about God’s redeeming love when we run away from Him and instead choose to sell ourselves for what the world has to offer, whether it’s money, comfort, fear, status, etc.
1. Hosea’s name means “salvation.” His name is an adaptation of Joshua and Jesus. If you’ve done my Joshua Bible study, you know that Joshua was a savior symbol for the Israelites as he led them into the Promised Land, and Jesus is our Savior.
2. As a prophet, Hosea was God’s spokesperson. However, God’s instruction to Hosea was to marry a prostitute named Gomer, who would symbolize the Israelites who were unfaithful to God by selling themselves to other leaders and gods. Not only would Hosea bring a prophetic message to stubborn and rebellious Israelites, but he would live through personal heartache at home each day (Hosea 1:2-3).
3. The book of Hosea paints a graphic and uncomfortable message that reminds us of just how badly it hurts God when we run away from Him or fall in love with anything and everything other than Him. The overt sexual imagery in Hosea, both in Gomer as a prostitute as well as other verses illustrating the sexual intimacy between a man and a woman, are all symbols of how much God values an intimate, close connection with us (Hosea 3:1-2).
4. The overwhelming message of Hosea is that God’s love for His people always prevails over their sin. There may be hard seasons and consequences for our unfaithfulness, but His love and redemption are always a part of His plan (Hosea 2:14-20).
Again, I encourage you to read the book of Hosea with these thoughts in mind. Here are two powerful verses.
The first verse is God’s message about what He wants for you.
“I want to show you love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” -Hosea 6:6 NLT
God wants to love you, and He isn’t looking for you to try to earn His love or favor. Remember from my Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ Bible study, Breakthrough Principle #1: God’s love is based on His perfect promises and never your performance.
In this second verse, Hosea calls the people to repentance. He implores them to turn from whatever they’re selling their souls to and turn back to God. As you read this verse, perhaps it can be your declaration and prayer today:
Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring. -Hosea 6:3 NLT
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU: Have you read the book Redeeming Love or seen the movie? Also, as you read today’s verses from Hosea 6:6 and Hosea 6:3, which one resonates more with you today? Hit “reply” and tell me about it.