Ever read Redeeming Love?
Twenty years ago I read that remarkable novel by Francine Rivers, where characters’ lives paralleled those in the book of Hosea. Ever since, the biblical story of unfaithful Gomer and her steadfast husband has intrigued, sobered, and inspired me.
So, when given an opportunity to read an advance copy of Sharla Fritz’s God’s Relentless Love: A Study of Hosea, I happily agreed.
Note: this book is an eight-lesson study of a book from the Bible’s Old Testament, in which the prophet Hosea, at God’s direction, marries the prostitute Gomer. Despite her adultery, Hosea pursues her, loves her, and brings her back to the home they share with their children.
To many, the prophet’s behavior sounds extreme, even incomprehensible. How could any man continue to treasure and adore a woman unapologetically prostituting herself? Why does he pursue, rescue, redeem and restore her, given her painful, blatant betrayal?
But then, why does God pursue, rescue, redeem, and restore us from ours?
As author Sharla Fritz works through the chapters of Hosea, she transcends centuries, drawing parallels between God’s faithfulness to idolatrous Israel, Hosea’s commitment to whoring Gomer, and—via a variety of contemporary illustrations—God’s relentless love of unfaithful you who are reading this and of idolatrous me who’s writing it.
Systematically, she guides readers away from scoffing at Hosea’s ridiculous devotion to his undeserving wife, and into a place of profound gratitude for his faithfulness, a place of recognition that without the relentless love of God that Hosea personifies, Gomer would be toast.
And so would we.
The author has structured the book so that you can plumb the depths of God’s love with a surface diver’s snorkel and fins, or engage with saturation diving gear that includes deep water patience and surrender. Spend enough time with this story, and you may find yourself in a hyperbaric chamber of grace, recovering from the bends of your own sin and shame and—at long last— learning to “Live like you’re loved.”
It’s a valuable, growth-inducing study. Groups or individuals working through these lessons will not emerge unchanged.
And, IN AN EGGSHELL, here are other SM posts from earlier this week:
Born in a barn. .
“And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
In sheep’s clothing.
“But test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.”
—1 Thessalonians 5:21
“He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”
C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Brand new baby of a day.
His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…”
GIVEAWAY! This week’s book winner, drawn from names submitted here and on FaceBook, is DH Gaul. Congratulations, DH! Will you please contact me with your preferred name and mailing address? I’ll send a copy right off to you. 🙂
After today, we have two more weeks (Dec 11 and 18) and two more books to give away in the DRAWING for THE VIEW FROM GOOSE RIDGE. Join the 20th birthday party for this classic collection of short devotional essays—set in rural Washington State.
Attire: birthday casual. Come as you are, friends. Drop your name here, and your name will drop into the coming week’s drawing. Only names entered this week will make it into the hat.
I’m so glad you’re here.
Watching Nature, Seeing Life: Through His Creation, God Speaks.