Mesu Andrews does a beautiful job with this biblical fiction book about Gomer and Hosea. Love In a Broken Vessel is a book you will miss after the last page is turned. The key word is obedience. Obedience to God even when everything around you does not make sense. This is a beautiful story of how no matter how broken we are, God can still use us. We may carry the scares forever, but it will also be our testimony of God's faithfulness.
This is a book I believe is definitely worth placing on your "Must Read" list.
Mesu establishes our relationoship with Gomer in the first chapter. Shows us her heart - though not pure - understandable in the life she was shoved into, as she cleans a toddler's cheek with a spit bath. And we see the brothel owner hard and ruthless.
How beautifully God's love for Israel is described as Hosea describes it to Gomer. I liked the phrase, "Yahweh proves Himself to each one of us."
Poignant awakening of Gomer's love for Hosea in their first moments of their journey to love. The little humor tossed back and forth between the two made their growing relationship real and fun. When Gomer knew she loved Hosea - such tenderness!
Your heart goes out to Gomer as she is tortured by abandonment and she becomes real with her very real whirling emotions..loving, hating, worshipping her idols, confused, disappointed and seeking a love she could only imagine. And seeing love expressed in the most impossible situations truly a reflection of God's determined love. Yahweh's love clearly defined over and over again. How can it be?
Mesu's description of Hosea's heart crying out to the God Who understood his pain clearly reveals God's heart. 3 questions put forth: Can a man's heart be as pure as Yahweh?
Can you refuse to love without sinning?
Can you refuse to forgive without becoming bitter?
Never a lull in this amazing book that covers some of Israel's most difficult history.
God given strength to love when everything in Hosea wants to hate....HOW CAN I LOVE A HARLOT? Yet the conflict in Gomer's heart and the unescapable desire for love - true love - is always there and so identifiable.
Watching the gradual growth of Hosea's understanding of God's words to him felt familiar and exciting and like my own growth in the Lord. Asking God WHY so often brings no answer as it didn't to Hosea. And I love how God speaks and Hosea hears. How precious! A lesson for all of us to heed and listen for that breeze. Hosea longing to hear God's voice and how he responds to God's gentle breeze. That makes hearing God's voice a possibility for all of us listening.
I must echo CBA Retailers & Resource's word on Love Amidst the Ashes for this book. "Mesu's research shines through on every page as she delves deeply into the cultural, historical and Biblical records to create this fascinating and multilayered tale."
Hosea's love carried a passion your heart will sing over and their children were an added delight. When Gomer finally said, "I know now that Yahweh sounds like even when He's silent" I thought my heart would explode!
When we're fighting for eternal victories we mustn't be defeated by temporary struggles. This book is a lesson on that very thing.
I can't help it, I sighed when this book was over because I really didn't want it to end. Mesu Andrews has a gift when it comes to Biblical fiction, she takes these stories (Job, Song of Solomon and now Hosea & Gomer) and just breathes life into them. Intricate details that bring the past into vivid picture and characters that break out of the boxes that we have put them in. I was entranced with the story of the prostitute that just can't leave her past behind and the husband that will obey Yaweh until his heart is broken over and over. The secondary characters are fantastic and I enjoyed this book from the first page to the last. This is one author that can't write fast enough to please me!
Lessons from this book can be applied to our lives
March 17, 2013
Overall, I got a lot out of this book by the time I finished. It really brings the era of the Biblical prophets to life. The more Hosea and Gomer's marriage suffered because of the hardness of her heart, the more the story felt real to me. The details regarding the pain and suffering Gomer was willing to go through because it scared her less than the feeling of being utterly loved is very real with people who have been abused in childhood. The author did a fantastic job showing why hurt people run from love. It scares them.
The characters also had some great questions and a reason to fear God. They saw how God smote King Uzziah with leprosy because of his pride. Many times I have heard in sermons about God's judgement because of Israel's wickedness before, but I didn't realize just how sick the people were until I read this book. It's one thing to read about pregnant women being ripped open in the Bible, but being in Hosea's head as he sees this makes it feel real as opposed to just a statement of fact. This is just one example, though. The fact that the kings allowed the people to worship in the high places (because they were afraid to go into the temple) resulted in neglect of God's how and compromise when it came to worship. Everything got perverted and twisted around because of fear.
Whenever I read a book I always look for the overall lesson in the story. This one is a great illustration of how God's ways don't often make sense when we are in the midst of things, but in the end we get a clearer picture of what God was doing in our lives because He loves us. If Hosea hadn't married Gomer as God commanded, he would not have suffered so much, yes, but at the same time Gomer never would have been saved from her life of sin and brought into a relationship with the living God. It tore Hosea's heart open many times because of her unfaithfulness, but in the end, their love was stronger. It hurt worse than anything Hosea had ever known, yet God used it to illustrate His commitment to Israel despite the pain resulting from their idolatry. I liked how the author brought that all together.
At first, I found the book amusing, if not a bit corny. It was the same way I felt about some scenes in Love Amid the Ashes. Other than the scenario with the Prince of Shechem in that book, much of the dialog didn't work for me. But after the first 100 pages of Love in a Broken Vessel, I really felt like the novel had engaged my heart. So if for some reason the beginning doesn't pull you in, hang in there because the complete story is worth it.
I loved how Gomer worked with pottery in the story. At the end, there is an illustration of how Israel will never be without scars, just like you'd see when looking at a broken pot glued back together. People who rebel against the Lord will never be completely whole again, but they can still be useful. Brokenness does lead to healing if we let God bind us back together with his healing glue, but we'll always have cracks and scars resulting from our straying. The message, however, is that there no one so damaged that God can't heal them and use them for His glory. Great message. Good book!
Mesu Andrews in her new book, "Love In A Broken Vessel" Book Three in the Treasures of His Love series published by Revell gives us a fictional account of the Prophet, Hosea and his marriage to Gomer.
From the Back Cover: An epic journey of intimacy, rejection, betrayal . . . and hope
God gives Hosea a difficult command-marry a prostitute in order to show God's people the nature and depth of His love for Israel. When Hosea goes to Israel to proclaim the Lord's message, the woman God directs him to marry turns out to be his childhood friend Gomer. He finds her broken and abused, unwilling to trust Hosea or his God. But when marrying Hosea becomes her only means of escape, Gomer does what she's good at-she survives. Can Hosea's love for God and God's love for Israel restore Gomer's broken spirit?
With her powerful combination of in-depth research and masterful storytelling, Mesu Andrews brings to life one of the most complex and fascinating stories of love and forgiveness in the face of utter betrayal.
Mesu Andrews has once again written a wonderful, fictionalized version of a book of the Bible-this time it is the Prophet, Hosea. Hosea had a message to deliver to the people from God, obviously, that is what made him a prophet. But the real message that he brought to all people who read the book is found played out in his marriage to Gomer. Gomer is one unfaithful woman and Hosea keeps taking her back time after time. I must say if it had been me I would have walked away from her which is probably the reason why God didn't choose me for this particular task. The marriage between Hosea and Gomer is a reflection of the marriage between God and mankind. We are unfaithful but God is faithful and He keeps taking us back time after time. In "Love In A Broken Vessel" Ms. Andrews has done a superb account of researching many different sources to give us a cast of characters that most of us are probably not aware of.
Ms. Andrews gives us the Biblical portrayal of the man, Hosea, in a new way. There is quite a lot of detail that Ms. Andrews provides us that is not the Biblical account but is still historically accurate. I believe that this book should be read, not only for the Biblical detail, but for the extra story that brings new life to the man we know as Hosea. Well done.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Available March 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.