The story of Hosea comes alive in Redeeming Love written by renowned author Francine Rivers. Set during the California Gold Rush, Rivers develops a narrative that mirrors Hosea’s metaphorical portrait of God’s redeeming love towards His people.
Sarah, the novel’s heroine, learns at a young age that she is a product of an adulterous affair, which damages her sense of self-worth. As a result, Sarah turns to prostitution and a lifestyle of rebellion. The novel’s male lead, Michael Hosea, meets Sarah and is informed by God that this is the woman the Lord has for him. Through the remainder of the novel, we see Michael pursue Sarah, renamed Angel, though she does not remain faithful to him. She strays from him on many occasions, yet each time she returns, she is welcomed back with open arms.
In the Old Testament book of Hosea, we are given the story of a love between Hosea and Gomer. Gomer, like Angel, is a prostitute that strays from her husband on multiple occasions. The Lord commands Hosea to repeatedly take her back. Here we see a metaphor for the Lord’s (represented by Hosea) unfailing love for Israel (Gomer).
Though we may read through Hosea on occasion in our daily Bible study, it does not come to life as much as it does with River’s historical narrative. Redeeming Love is detailed and beautifully written, giving the reader true empathy for both the hero and heroine. In this story we can see ourselves reflected in Angel’s rebellious and self-destructive ways. Though she does not deserve Michael’s faithful love, that is exactly what she receives. In this we take comfort knowing that though we stray from the Lord over and over again, He will never fail to love us and take us back into His arms.
I highly recommend this novel for anyone, but especially for young women who might be questioning their own value in the sight of the Lord, or those who struggle with turning to self-destructive coping mechanisms for comfort instead of their Savior.