Gentle Cords ~ Bands of Love

Gentle cords, bands of love.  Interesting title, hu?

It’s not original.  I took it from the most beautiful love story EVER!!  It’s a rather sad story at times, because the love extended by one wasn’t returned by the other.

You may have heard it before…

It’s in the book of Hosea.  This book in the Old Testament was written by a man named Hosea, who was given words by God to speak to Israel, the nation.  However these words were not only for the people of Israel at the time it was written, it was also what Hosea was going through in his personal life… and… they are words for us today.  It is truly one of the most beautiful love stories ever written.  It’s beautiful because it demonstrates a man’s undying love and commitment as a symbol of God’s undying love, faithfulness, mercy and commitment to us.

God: “Hosea, you are to go get a wife for yourself, a harlot.”

Hosea:  OK, Lord.

“So he went…” Hosea 1:3 NJKV

Really?  He went… just like that?  Is there no mention in this account of Hosea questioning the Lord?  Nope.

The next few verses and chapters describe how Hosea’s bride was unfaithful.  Her life of running back to her harlotries, after marrying Hosea, is crushing.  Some of the words and ideas used in this book to describe her state of mind and the place of her heart are:



like a wilderness

like a dry land



she will seek, but will not find

It is in chapter 2, verse 8 that I felt such a heavy heart for this woman, and everyone she represents.  The Lord was saying of her:

“For she did not know that I gave her grain, new wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold.”  Hosea 2:8 NKJV

She didn’t know that God had given her everything.  She didn’t recognize it.  She was redeemed out of an empty way of life that was hurting her.  God gave her a man who would love her, unconditionally.  God saved her.  But in return, she ran.  She didn’t recognize Him, and her heart was hardened.  And so, God does the most merciful thing He can, He sent Hosea to get her back.

Don’t fail to remember that God is using this woman as a symbol to the nation of Israel, who’s hearts were found in the same condition, to tell them that they too were being unfaithful to God.  God clearly tells Israel, through Hosea:

“When Israel was a child, I loved [her].  And out of Egypt I called my [daughter].”  Hosea 11:1 NKJV

(Changed by me to to reference “her” instead of “him”).

To Israel, Egypt was a picture of slavery and bondage.  It is also a symbolic reference to our lives before we are saved; being in bondage to sin.  God is saying here that He loved His people, Israel, and He loved us enough to die in our place and deliver us from an empty life of sin.  Our own ways are destructive, but the Lord won’t turn his back on us, no matter how far we run.  We are His.  We belong to Him.  Out of that old life, He has called us.

He continues:

“I taught [her] how to walk.  Taking her by the arms.  But she did not know that I healed her.  I drew her with gentle cords, with bands of love.  And I was to her as those who take the yolk from their neck.  I stooped and fed her.” Hosea 11:3-4 NKJV

This beautiful account (changed by me to reference “her” instead of “them”) describes the merciful work of God in our lives.  Words do not adequately describe His tenderness and love toward us as He teaches us how to walk in His ways and as He lifts the burdens of our lives from us.  The picture given here is one of a small child, learning to walk.  This child is being drawn in with gentleness and love.  This child has had a difficult beginning and has been relieved of the heaviness of everything she’s been through.  All of her emotional and physical needs are now met.  She’s been healed, but she didn’t even know it.

We are this child.  God’s affection and gentle cords, which He uses to draw us close to himself, are strung with bands of His love for us.  How beautiful!!

Just as Hosea was used by God to share with Israel that God will take them back, we receive the same message through this amazing story.  The beautiful message is that God will never give up pursuing you.  He’s already saved you, but you’ve returned to a life of harlotry, even if only in your heart.  He’s calling you still.  He loves you.  He’s already given you everything He can.  He’s already healed you.   Why do you run away and return to your empty ways of life?

God’s mercy is amazing.  It is when she is in this empty, lonely, broken state that He says:

“I will allure her.”

“I will speak comfort to her.”

“I will give her hope.”

“She shall sing.”

“I will betroth you to Me forever; yes I will betroth you to me.”

“You shall know the Lord.”

God said:  “My heart churns within me; my sympathy is stirred.”  Hosea 11:8  NKJV

His heart is churning for YOU.  His sympathy is toward YOU.  Will you accept it?  He won’t give up.  He loves you.  The most beautiful love story ever told, was your Savior, Jesus Christ, taking your place on the cross.  He did it out of a deeper love for you than you could possibly imagine.  Like Hosea, He will retrieve His bride (you) from the places of darkness and the places that have only hurt you, to offer you love, forgiveness and a beautiful hope.



Lord, my heart is heavy for those that don’t even know how much they identify with Hosea’s wife.  I pray you open their eyes, and draw them in to you with your gentle cords and your bands of love.  May they be released from their bondage and set free.  Free to be loved, free to have hope, free to be comforted, and free to sing.


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