Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Redeeming love....

Redeeming LoveI've enjoyed Francine River's books over the past few years and read this one a long time ago, but after recently discussing it with a friend I decided to pick it up again. The story is a sort of retelling of the book of Hosea, set in the gold rush in California,  and is about a young prostitute, and a godly Christian man, Michael Hosea, who rescues her, marries her, and shows her nothing but love and kindness. As in the Biblical account she leaves him again, and again, going back to her sin, rejecting his love and kindness. Ironically her biggest reason for leaving is that she can't grasp that his love is real, she can't trust him, it seems too good to be true.

One part really stood out to me. She left her husband, trying to find her way, on foot, the 30 miles back to her old life.....Her husband came after her when she was lost, showed her the way back, then when she returned he didn't upbraid her, but gave her a hot meal and washed her feet. I found myself wondering how someone could walk away from that kind of love, not return it......then realized how often do I not appreciate what the Lord is doing for me?

I won't give away how the story ends, I'll let you read it, but I must say I like the 'realness' of the story. There's love and forgiveness, but also sin and consequences for it. This is not like too much of Christian fiction - a romance novel where the characters go to church - it will make you think!

In fact it made me think so much that I pulled out Matthew Henry on Hosea and read through it. Long time blog readers know I love this passage in Hosea 2 which has showed up on here a time or two...

"Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
      Will bring her into the wilderness,
      And speak comfort to her.
       I will give her her vineyards from there,
      And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope;
      She shall sing there,
      As in the days of her youth,
      As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
       And it shall be, in that day,”
      Says the LORD,

      That you will call Me ‘My Husband,
      And no longer call Me ‘My Master......
         ....I will betroth you to Me forever;
      Yes, I will betroth you to Me
      In righteousness and justice,
      In lovingkindness and mercy;
        I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
      And you shall know the LORD.
        It shall come to pass in that day
      That I will answer,” says the LORD."

But I also wanted to share a few thoughts from Matthew Henry on Hosea that encouraged and comforted  me:

"All that are sincerely devoted to God are betrothed to him; God gives them the most sacred and inviolable security imaginable that he will love them, protect them, and provide for them, that he will do the part of a husband to them, and that he will incline their hearts to join themselves to him and will graciously accept of them in so doing. Believing souls are espoused to Christ." 


"Prayers and tears are the weapons with which the saints have obtained the most glorious victories." 


"Let those that walk with God be encouraged to live a life of dependence upon him: "Wait on thy God continually, with a believing expectation to receive from him all the succours and supplies thou standest in need of." Those that live a life of conformity to God may live a life of confidence and comfort in him. Let our eyes be ever towards the Lord, and let us preserve a holy security and serenity of mind under the protection of the divine power and the influence of the divine favour, looking, without anxiety, for a dubious event, and by faith keeping our spirits sedate and even; this is waiting on God as our God in covenant, and this we must do continually."


‎"For in thee the fatherless find mercy. We must take our encouragement in prayer, not from any merit God finds in us, but purely from the mercy we hope to find in God. This contains in itself a great truth, that God takes special care of fatherless children, Psalm 68:4, 5. So he did in his law, Exodus 22:22. So he does in his providence, Psalm 27:10. It is God's prerogative to help the helpless. In him there is mercy for such, for they are proper objects of mercy. In him they find it; there it is laid up for them, and there they must seek it; seek and you shall find....With thee the fatherless not only may find, but does find, and shall find, mercy. It is a great encouragement to our faith and hope, in returning to God, that it is his glory to father the fatherless and help the helpless."



Sharing with LACE, Women Living Well, 
 

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"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:6,8-1