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Book Review on E.K. Bailey’s “The Preacher and the Prostitute”

06 Jul

God Loves The Unlovely – Book Review by David P. Craig

TPATP Bailey

One of the most amazing stories in the Bible is where God asks his prophet Hosea to marry the prostitute Gomer. In this first person narrative story of Hosea, Bailey does a masterful job of bringing this theologically rich story to life in the 21st century. Bailey does a wonderful job of telling the story from Hosea’s perspective as he involves the reader in his thought process as he wrestles with God’s sovereignty and trying to make sense on his own life in light of it.

At one point Hosea asks the question “What glory would you get from a prophet marrying a prostitute?” Hosea says to God, “What glory would You get when there is a union between piety and promiscuity? What glory would You get when there is confluence of the devilish and the divine? What glory would You get from joining the sacred and the secular? What glory would You get from an intercourse of the celestial and the terrestrial? What glory would You get from an allegiance between the horizontal and the perpendicular, from a coupling of the heavenly and the hellish?”

Hosea comes to realize his own sinfulness before a holy God, “As I walked in the illuminating light of obedience, God quickly began to unravel the seemingly nonsensical nature of this paradoxical command. God told me that this improbable partnership that wedded the prophet and the prostitute was a dramatization of the extraordinary reality that God loves the unlovely.”

Hosea continues, “God chose Gomer so that He could point to one of the most debased and despicable of all human activities to show us that His unfailing love is never ending and the reach of His love has no limits. God would use the life of an unfaithful wife to demonstrate the reality that you can break God’s heart byt you can never break His love.”

The narrator goes on to demonstrate the beauty of the gospel. “The good news of the Gospel that your New Testament declares is that no Gomer, regardless how godless her (or his) sin, can fall so deep and hard that they fall outside the realms and reach of God’s love. Hosea and Gomer represent Israel and her unfaithfulness to God. God uses Hosea and Gomer as a real life analogy of sinners and how God can forgive us through a mediator – Jesus Christ.

Hosea and Gomer is a story of love, adultery, betrayal, forgiveness and restoration. It leads to the big story of the Bible – our unfaithfulness and betrayal toward God, and yet how He sent His son Jesus to pay for our sins and purchase our redemption as Hosea did with Gomer. E.K. Bailey does a wonderful job tying in our story with the story of the Bible and makes you marvel at the mercy and grace of a God who gives us second chances and never gives up on us because of His everlasting love.

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