When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.” — Hosea 1:2
In Hebrew, the word for love is ahava, which comes from the root word, hav, “to give.” In Judaism, to love is to give. Giving to others forms the connection that enables us to love one another. Join us this month, as we offer a devotional series exploring the Jewish perspective on love.
Albert Einstein once said that the most important decision we will ever make is whether we believe that the universe is friendly or hostile. From that one decision, says Einstein, all others follow.
So, is the universe friendly? The book of Hosea answers that question, and the answer is one that even Einstein never imagined.
The book begins with one of the most unusual commandments God ever gave to a human. Hosea was commanded to seek out an unfaithful woman, marry her, and start a family with her. The Talmud gives us some background that led up to this command.
According to Jewish tradition, God came to Hosea and said, “Your children have sinned.” To which Hosea replied, “So exchange them for another people.” When a similar statement was made to Moses, he replied, “My children? Are they not your children, too?” That should have been Hosea’s response as well. But he didn’t understand the relationship between God and His children.
God wanted Hosea to understand how He relates to Israel, and so He commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute. Hosea and his wife Gomer became a living allegory for God’s love of unfaithful Israel. Hosea lived God’s pain when His love went unreturned. He experienced God’s frustration when Gomer left him for another man. Hosea now understood why God would stop at nothing to win Israel back, and he began to grasp the depth of God’s unending love.
As Hosea learned, God’s love is so great that even when His children are completely disloyal, His love for them never wanes. Everything He does is in order to win them back. Even when Israel was punished, it was only in order to guide her back into the arms of the One who loved her from the very beginning.
No, the universe is not hostile. It’s not even unfriendly. The message of Hosea is that the universe is a place of love! God is madly in love with His children. And that means that everything that happens – the good and the bad – happens out of love.
Download our complimentary Bible study, “The Life of Ruth,” to learn more about this courageous young foreigner, whose love and devotion to the God of Israel led to unexpected blessings.