When reading "From Eternity To Here", Frank Viola states that all romance stories pale in comparison to Christ's love for his church.
So, looking at romance stories in the Bible, we often think of the Song of Solomon. We may also think of Ruth or Esther. Rarely, however, would we think of Hosea.
Let me set it up a bit. Hosea was a prophet that lived around 700 BC. Isreal was lead by kings who didn't regard God very highly and lead the people into idol worship. In fact, Israel (the split state) was always lead by "evil" kings. Judah was occasionally lead by kings who followed God but at this time, they also didn't regard God highly and also lead the people into idol worship.
Hosea was commanded to marry a prostitute named Gomer. They had several children, each one with a name that spelled out how God felt about Israel at that time.
I remember Brian at the Daily Audio Bible talking about how the prophets (like Hosea) were used by God. He said that the prophets were given little plays to act out to illustrate God's message for the people.
Here is what happens in Hosea's "play". Gomer goes back to prostitution and Hosea wanders the streets calling her name. He finally gives up. Then God tells Hosea to buy Gomer back from the slave market where she is being sold.
While I am listening to Hosea yesterday, I couldn't help but think of the story of the Prodigal Son. I've heard several other perspectives on that story lately. The one that sticks out the most is that while the son is the emphasis of most of common thinking. This is really more the story of the faithful father.
The reason I kept thinking of this story while listening to Hosea is that Jesus is the faithful lover, just as God was the faithful father in the Prodigal Son story. He courted Israel since the time of Abraham. When he died and rose, he bought us back (i. e. - ransom, see Hosea buying Gomer back) to be his bride.
There is a poem that Paul quotes in 2 Tim 2 which I am also reminded of as I go through Hosea. It reads
Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
if we are faithless,
he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.