“Then said the Lord unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine (raisin cakes for Baal worship).” -Hosea 3:1
It takes a special affection and an unbelievably deep love to demonstrate love toward an adulterous wife, but that’s what Hosea was commanded to do for his wife, Gomer. His love was to symbolize the kind of love with which God loves His chosen race of Israel. Hosea chapter three can be seen as the story of Israel’s history, start to finish, in just five verses. James Montgomery Boice called this the greatest chapter in the Bible.
Chapter one of the story of Israel has to do with God’s adopting and abiding love for His chosen people. Out of all the people on the face of the earth, God chose Abraham and his seed to forever be the blessing of God to all peoples on earth. This blessing would come as Abraham’s seed produced the Messiah, Jesus, who would offer Himself a ransom so that people who believe in Him could be saved eternally.
To say that God loves Israel and chose them to be His own nation does not exclude all other nations of people from every enjoying His love. If I were to say that I love my wife, that would not mean that I cannot or do not love anyone else. Rather it would simply showcase the special love I have for the one to whom I have been wedded. The same is true in God’s choice of Israel. He loves her with a special love, even today.
When Israel was idolatrous in her wanderings through the Arabian wilderness for forty years, He loved her. When she resorted to idolatry in the period of the judges, God loved her. When she called Baal her god, Jehovah loved her. And today, while the majority of Jewish people do not receive Jesus as Messiah, God loves her still.
There is an indirect application to all whom God loves. As Paul echoed in Romans 8:35-39, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
One day, Israel will realize the love of Jehovah for them which He proved by giving His one and only Son to pay the price of their rejection of the Lamb of God. They will turn to Him in repentance and faith and receive Jesus Christ as Messiah, King, Savior, and Lord. Have you realized today how much God loves you?