The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”
Hosea is a minor prophet who is given a strange and unusual task. He is to marry and show love to a prostitute even though she continually cheats on him. He must even go and purchase her out of slavery to show his love for her.
The relationship of Hosea and his wife is a picture of God and Israel. Israel had acted adulterously time after time by worshipping idols but God continued to love them and paid the price to redeem them.
Hosea offers an earthly example of God’s unconditional love. It is hard to forgive someone who has wronged you and even harder to love them once again knowing that they may do the same thing to hurt you a second time. Yet this is what Hosea does and it is what God does for us even though we continually sin and harm our relationship with Him.
In practice it is not always wise to accept someone back who has caused you harm – a repeatedly abusive husband for instance. This illustration is not meant to comment on the wisdom in every circumstance. It does serve as a reminder of God’s perfect love and His willingness to forgive us. We should always seek to forgive a person when they have wronged us. Sometimes it is unwise or even impossible to restore the relationship but unconditional love requires forgiveness at least.