Loving the unlovable- Study and Discussion
By Julie Kinscheck Inspired by the book of Hosea
A. Song “Will You Still Love Me?”- Pink/ Chris Stapleton
B. Opening statement: “God doesn’t want to be only Master to his people. He wants to be husband, giving all of himself in intimate love”- From introduction to the book of Hosea (The Student Bible NIV 1992 version). There are many great truths to be gleaned from this heart wrenching and warming story of Hosea the prophet who is called to love and marry a prostitute, who continues to commit adultery and run away from him. It paints a real life example of how God loves his people Israel (and by extension, us) and continues to redeem them despite their adulterous idolatry. My focus here will be on how much God loves the unlovable- US and how we can be like him in this way! My prayer is to inspire hope in hard situations, give inspiration where we might feel ready to give up and open the discussion for support, advice, encouragement in each other’s lives.
II. The Story:
A. Scripture from Hosea
1. Hosea 1:2 World English Bible (WEB)
When Yahweh spoke at first by Hosea, Yahweh said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of prostitution and children of unfaithfulness; for the land commits great adultery, forsaking Yahweh.”
2. Hosea 3:1 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
Hosea’s Adulterous WifeThen the Lord told me, “Love your wife again, even though she is loved by others and has committed adultery. Love her as I, the Lord, love the Israelites, even though they have turned to other gods and love to eat raisin cakes.”
3. Hosea 5:5 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)The people of Israel’s arrogance testifies against them. Israel and Ephraim stumble because of their sins, and Judah stumbles with them.
4. Hosea 6:6 New International Version (NIV)For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings
5. Hosea 14:3b,8 New International Version (NIV)“For in you the fatherless find compassion.” “I will answer him and care for him. I am like a green pine tree, your fruitfulness comes from me.”
1. Redeeming Love (RL) Francine Rivers
In this 19th century fictionalized account of the story, Hosea is a farmer in gold rush California. God has told him to marry a prostitute (like in the original story) but the circumstances are of course very different from ancient Israel. The characters are so artfully crafted that you ache with Angel (the modern Gomer character) and feel the struggle she has to trust anyone with her heart. Michael (Hosea) has a love and patience that is sometimes hard to believe but called me higher. I couldn’t put the audio book down!
This book is a fictional reenactment of the original story in Hosea. The characters break your heart and open your eyes. The colors and sounds of ancient Israel with its Baal worship and Jewish laws and inspired prophets is exciting and pulled me in! The pain and discovery experienced through the Gomer is heart wrenching and then heart warming. And as she learns to make and repair pottery we learn along with her that we are all broken vessels- and only God’s grace- and by extension, Jesus can make us whole! Wow! Inspiring!
III. Extending the Concept:
A. Micah 6:8 (NIV): He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly[a] with your God.
B. Isaiah 63:9 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) In all their troubles he was troubled, and he was the Messenger who saved them. In his love and compassion he reclaimed them. He always held them and carried them in the past.
C. 1 John 4:7 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
7 Dear friends, we must love each other because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God.
IV. Bringing it home
1. Loving the poor
2. Loving those in our own circle that are hard to love or are in sin; Disciples, spouse or children, Co-workers
3. Loving those who don’t agree with us… politically, spiritually
B. Who comes to mind? Or how can we help each other, pray for each other… your thoughts on this revolution of God’s love? How can we demonstrate this crazy love in our lives?