Cruising Route 66
When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.” So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son
Hosea and Gomer would have fit right into today’s daytime TV talk show programming. It could have been called: “I Married A Prostitute.” The byline would go something like this: “Clergyman’s wife cheats on him. His children belong to three other men. After selling herself to everyone in town, Gomer ends up as a slave. Her husband, Hosea, eventually buys her back for $12.50 because God told him to!”
Few can imagine what it would be like to be married to a woman like Gomer. It appears as if she had no inner moral compass, no restraints. She couldn’t be trusted. She would disappear for days, only to return and mock Hosea making him the laughingstock of the town.
What makes Hosea unique is that he went into the relationship with his eyes open. He knew what kind of woman she was, and when God told him to marry her, and he did it willingly, in spite of the pain he knew it would bring.
God gave his prophets words of warning and words of love, in order to bring the people to a place of repentance. However, when the words failed, God used a different kind of communication. The prophet’s life would become the message. The prophet would be a living drama playing out God’s message. Hosea and Gomer present such a drama. It’s a story of God’s relentless love for people who were unfaithful.
Gomer was a woman with no moral sense. She becomes more vulgar and diseased every year, and the people knew that her husband Hosea, married her aware that she would be unfaithful. The message is clear, Hosea’s relationship with Gomer is like that of God’s relationship with you and me. God’s love is relentless and comes with three sides.
God’s relentless love is unreasonable.
Hosea 3:1 The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”
Who can explain the kind of love that God expects from Hosea? I guess God is saying that if love always had to make sense, it wouldn’t be love. One thing I’ve learned is that agape love rarely responds to logic. What God had asked Hosea to do did not make sense. But then, God’s love for you and me doesn’t make sense either.
The question that arises is not why God would ask Hosea to marry Gomer but why God would marry you and me. Why would God commit Himself to people He knew would not be faithful? He could have selected those who would follow His laws and appreciate the wisdom of his ways and who would be grateful for His love and grace. You have to admit, according to our way of thinking, God’s love appears to be unreasonable. When God enters into a covenant with us, the covenant doesn’t depend on our faithfulness but on His.
God’s relentless love is unyielding.
Hosea 2:6-7 “Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now’”.
Hosea never minimized the nature of the wrong Gomer had done to him. The pain was real and raw, he had been betrayed. He didn’t gloss over the situation, he just let her go, knowing what lay ahead for her. Now she was on her own, as she desired. She would be abused, beaten, and abandoned by those she trusted. She had to live with the consequences of her choices.
Hosea 8:7 “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind”
Our God is unyielding, and His love is steadfast. As with Gomer, we often learn the hard way that God’s way is the best way. We waste our lives and our love on many things, but ultimately the wise will say, “I will go back to my God, for then I was better off than now.”
God’s relentless love is unconditional.
When our love has been rejected or a trust is broken, we tend to strike back or write those who hurt us off. That is not true with God.
Hosea 3:2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley.
None of Gomer’s former beauty remained. Her sin had worn her down. She was now on an auction block, stripped and being sold as a slave. Hosea does the unthinkable; he buys her for himself. Apparently, she was not worth much to anyone at this point because the price was very low. In the beginning, she was beautiful, but now her beauty was gone, washed away by hard living. No one would have her except Hosea, who would make her his wife yet again.
Let me encourage you to by the book, rent the movie or go to the play of Victor Hugo’s – Les Miserables. The hero, Jean Valjean gives grace to people around him because he had received grace from an old priest. One of the people Valjean extends grace to a single mother who loses her job and is forced into prostitution. She is badly beaten, and Jean Valjean takes care of her. When she confesses that she is a prostitute and fears for her daughter, Valjean responds with these amazing words of grace:
“She has the Lord. He is her father, and you are His creation. In His eyes, you have never been anything but an innocent and beautiful woman.”
This is God’s unreasonable, unyielding, unconditional, relentless love. We see ourselves as we are, but He sees us for what we can become.
Until next time,