Hosea 1-3 NLT
The first three chapters of the book of Hosea illustrates a deep kind of love, obedience and strength that supersedes anything that we could possibly imagine. Perhaps it’s because if we knew we’d be getting into a relationship with someone who’d be unfaithful and cause us great pain, we’d think twice, be hesitant, maybe run away…
In the book of Hosea, God told Hosea to marry a prostitute. Hosea obeyed God and he married Gomer. However, Gomer may not have been a prostitute at the beginning of their marriage. She could have been settled in their marriage, comfortable in her surroundings, had a couple of children for Hosea, one boy, ‘Jezreel’ and one girl, ‘Lo-ruhamah’ (not loved) and then began to look around at what others have, thought the grass was greener… got bored and went out to look for someone else to keep her occupied. As a result of her “browsing” and blatant unfaithfulness to her husband, Gomer got pregnant and gave birth to her third child, second son. There’s no indication leading to Hosea being the father. And so her unfaithfulness can be visibly seen – she had a child called ‘Lo-ammi’ (not my people).
“Then the LORD said to me, ‘Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the LORD still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them’” (Hosea 3:1)
Hosea provided for his wife and gave her everything she needed so we’d assume he was vex when she ran off for something “better”. Interestingly, God told him to “go and love his wife again” (Hosea 3) and Hosea obeys. From what we know about Hosea, he was a young man just starting out in his ministry. In his preparation time, God made him aware that his marriage would demonstrate Israel’s current relationship with God and would prophesy what would happen to Israel in the coming years. This marriage was to make Israel aware of their actions as they had been unfaithful to God.
Perhaps because of God’s forewarning, Hosea took necessary precautions to fast and pray and to spend time with God, so that he’d be able to demonstrate that kind of love, obedience and strength to fulfil this message to the people of Israel and all who read this book.
You may have read the novel Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers which highlights these very chapters in a way that you see yourself in Angel’s shoes. Even though we may feel like Angel who experienced deep hatred, hurt and pain from her childhood years or we’re like Gomer who had difficulties staying faithful, nothing can ever separate us from God’s love (Rom 8:38).
I think that’s what’s so powerful about this marriage: God is incredibly patience with us. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God with undeserved kindness, declares we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty of our sins.” (Rom 3:23-24) Despite our shortcomings, God is still there.
He withdrew from Israel until they actually realised that it was God who was sustaining them (check chapter two). Because of their disobedience, the Israelites had to go into captivity for 70 years. But when God called for their return, they had developed a new attitude, to Him. Being humbled changes the dynamics in our relationship to God and helps us to remember who God is.
Maybe to some, God seems unfair but God had always loved Israel as a parent loves a stubborn child, and that is why He would not release Israel from the consequences of its behaviour… All through Israel’s sad history, God repeatedly offered to restore the nation if it would only listen to Him (NLT footnote).
God wants more than just routine from us. He wants our hearts. Then like Hosea displayed to Gomer who returned home with him and he lovedhis wife again, we too will have a taste of God’s unconditional love for us through Jesus in our daily lives.
“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know Me, more than I want burnt offerings” Hosea 6:6