Since the beginning of February, a group of girls from my residence has been meeting in my room (chosen because I'm the messiest of us and this is incentive to keep my room clean) to study the book of Hosea. It's a really powerful book about God's love for His people, even when they turn away from him and look to other gods (whether Baal for the Israelites, or money and comfort for us). The first three chapters tell the personal story of Hosea, whom God tells to marry a prostitute named Gomer, even though she will cheat on him and he will not know whether all his children are really his or not. Even though she leaves him and sells herself into prostitution, he goes after her and redeems her (the word literally means to buy back). As odd as it may seem at first glance, it's a beautiful allegory of God's love for us.
Francine Rivers' book Redeeming Love tells the story of what Hosea might have looked like in an 1850s setting. I first borrowed it from the public library, and it was fantastic on so many levels. It not only gave me a new picture of just how much God loves us, it gave me a new love and compassion for women who are trapped in the sex industry. So when my Bible study group decided to study Hosea, I finally picked up my own copy. We're taking turns reading it right now, and the other girls are loving it as much as I did when I first read it. I highly recommend it both as a story, and as a study tool for gaining further insight into Hosea. To quote Larry the Cucumber: "I laughed, I cried, it moved me Bob." I think the main this book did was show me just how much I had been forgiven, which in turn increased both my love for God and my love for people I would otherwise have judged and dismissed as "worse sinners than me."
This song is by an awesome singer/songwriter called Michael Card, and it's called Song of Gomer. I've already forwarded it on to my Bible Study crew, but I'm sharing it with you now. I think it's beautiful.