A Graphic Illustration.
“When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, ‘Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.'” – Hosea 1:2 NLT
Wow! Talk about a difficult command to follow. Hosea, the prophet of God, is instructed by God to marry a young woman who was a known prostitute. And not only that, he was to father children through her, never knowing if the children she bore him were his or not. But he was to take them as his own and name them as God instructed him. She would give birth to three children, two boys and one girl. Yet, in spite of Hosea’s love and faithfulness, she would continue to practice prostitution, ending up enslaved, forcing Hosea to buy her back.
As we read this story, it is easy to miss what Hosea must have felt as all this took place. From the moment God commanded him to marry Gomer to the day he had to buy her out of her slavery to prostitution, this had to have been a difficult time for Hosea. He must have felt used, betrayed, shamed, and angry. While we are not given his thoughts, I am sure there were times when he questioned God’s wisdom in all this. But through it all, he was faithful to follow God’s commands. He knew God had a reason for it all. He knew God was using his relationship with Gomer as a living illustration of His own relationship with Israel. The people of God had been unfaithful, running after other lovers and selling herself to them for food and water. Like Gomer, Israel failed to recognize the love of her husband – God. Israel did not realize that all the blessings and abundance it enjoyed were due to the love of God. Yet Israel took the gifts of God and gave them to others. The priests and the people proved themselves unfaithful.
But the story of Gomer is the story of God’s faithfulness. In spite of Gomer’s rejection of Hosea, he would buy her back and forgive her of her indiscetions. God told Hosea, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even through the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them” (Hosea 3:1 NLT). Israel had proven themselves unfaithful time and time again. They had prostituted themselves with other nations and other gods. They had rejected the love of God and sought to find satisfaction in other relationships. But God was not going to abandon them. God said of Israel, “My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me” (Hosea 4:6 NLT). Their lack of intimacy with God was leading to their own destruction. They did not know the One who had chosen them for Himself. They enjoyed the blessings of the relationship, but didn’t know the One who had given them the blessings. But in spite of all this, God would not let them go. They would suffer. There would be a purging and a cleansing, but ultimately God would restore them. God longs for intimacy with His people. He desires a relationship with us. He longs for us to know Him intimately and deeply. He wants us to love Him for who He is, not just for what He gives us. The book of Hosea is a picture of spiritual unfaithfulness – loving someone or something else other than God. It contains a stinging accusation against Israel, but we can’t read this book and not be convicted by our own unfaithfulness. We prostitute ourselves daily to the things of this world, attempting to find satisfaction and pleasure from all it offers us. When we do, we show our disappointment and dissatisfaction with God. He is not enough. He can’t provide enough. He has not done enough. Yet He loves us and remains faithful to us. His love never fails. What an amazing reminder.
Father, I know that I can be like Gomer. I can be unfaithful and ungrateful to You. I turn away from You so often, seeking elsewhere for “love” and satisfaction, failing to realize that it only in You that I will find real love and true satisfaction. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Forgive me of my unfaithfulness and continue to call me back to You. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men