“When the lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him “Go and marry a prostitute, so some of her children will be born to you from other men. This will Illustrate the way my people have been untrue to me, openly committing adultery against the Lord by worshiping other gods” Hosea 1:2.
I believe this is verse has to be the bases of Redeeming Love, a wonderful retelling of the book of Hosea.
Michael Hosea is a normal farmer who loves God and worships him everyday, and while selling some of his harvest to store owner in Pair-A-Dice, Joseph Hochschild. And in the midst of this a beautiful young woman passes by, and Michael’s heart goes wild “This one, Beloved” (Pg. 53) that is what the Lord tells Michael. Joseph sees his friends gaze and inform just who the woman is; A prostitute named Angel. Michael can’t believe this is the one God has chosen for him, but after a small debate Michael decides to gather up his gold dust and go see Angel.
Now Angel has a very tragic back-story, but I won’t spoil that for you. But she was taught by her mother’s maid that God’s truth was that everyone used the other to get what they wanted and you just had to deal with it the cards you were dealt in life. When sold a horrid man named Duke she believed that and gave up what little faith she had in God. Reading all of this made me weep, what child should be put through that? It only made me feel worse to think it happens more often in this day and time then it did in the 1850’s. Angel escaped Duke, but only to get robbed stuck on a ship half-sunk and then end up in the clutches of a woman named Duchess, falling back into prostitution. All she wants is freedom, a little cottage in the woods where she could live out the rest of her day. Then the last customer of the night comes in, and he just wants to talk.
Things really pick up from there, the more Michael tries to talk to Angel, the more she pushes him away, and after some ill spoken words to some of the other girls working for duchess Michael finally leaves.
Angel struggles with him leaving, going over how he called her angel for the first time, instead of Mara (which means bitter) for that’s what he saw the bitterness in her. Michael brewed over his anger, saying God had sent him the wrong woman and that he didn’t want someone without feelings. A big mistake there. Angel tried to get the money she’d earned from duchess, but that didn’t work out, the duchess sent her bodyguard upstairs to teach her a lesson, Angel had other plans. So many wonder why some want to commit suicide, and how feelings could bring you into such a state, reading that chapter gave me great insight, and I was given great insight into her mind and heart, I cried again for this young woman. She taunted him until at last he beat her to within an inch of her life. Michael came into the saloon as the doctor was treating Angel’s injuries, and that’s when Michael made his choice and asked Angel to marry him. “Why not” was her reply, and so the two became one.
“But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the dessert and speak to her tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the valley of trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from captivity in Egypt” Hosea 2:14-15. And the Lord kept his word. Angel tried to run from Michael, even with the help of his brother-in-law once, so many times I began to wonder if he would give up on her completely, but the Lord sent him after her, though Michael took his time doing it a couple times. Then there was a time God asked Michael to let her go, and to give Angel the opportunity she needed to turn to Him, and Michael obeyed with a heavy heart. This story is all about God’s redeeming love, and each page shows more how far His reach is, and no matter how far we fall he will always pick us back up.
I love how Francine Rivers added a sort of side story to the main one, it flowed perfectly and again showed how much God loves us and what it can do for us. Paul, Michael's brother-in-law, had quite a few problems he refused to take reasonability for, and instead shoved the blame onto Angel. He couldn’t see the woman behind the stone walls and the icy glares and only saw the prostitute he and many others had slept with. But in the end God helped him see the truth, and helped bring Angel home.
This is a very beautiful story, and I recommend it to anyone, to those who’ve lost their faith it will inspire them to get it back, for those who still have their faith then it will only strengthen it.
WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review as part of their Blogging for Books program.