A Tale of Holy Love, Unfaithfulness, Justice, Mercy, and Grace
God and Israel. Hosea and Gomer. Two covenant relationships that ended in estrangement. However, as we learned last week, God would eventually woo back Israel’s wayward heart and Israel would return to the God of her fathers'. But what about Hosea and Gomer? After giving Hosea three kids, Gomer took off and returned to her life of prostitution, flitting from man to man until she ended up in slavery. So was there any hope for their relationship?
Now remember, this is God’s story we’re talking about—the story that He orchestrated and put together—so there is always hope. However, the grand reunion between steadfast Hosea and flighty Gomer wasn’t a romantic scene where both parties re-declared their love for the other, nor was it overly dramatic and exciting. No, reconciliation between husband and wife came through a divine command and faithful obedience.
“And the LORD said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel…’”
Hosea had every right to lawfully divorce his wife, or as we would say in modern church lingo, he had biblical grounds for divorce. She was grossly unfaithful to him and unrepentant in her ways. In fact, she never returned to him; Hosea had to go out and buy her back! She was undeserving in so many ways and didn’t even make an effort to be reconciled with her husband. But God commanded Hosea to continue loving this ungodly woman, and Hosea obeyed.
He obeyed to the point where God’s command became his chief desire, to the point where it’s difficult to distinguish what was done out of obedience to God and what was done out of his own love for Gomer because the two had become one and the same. Hosea truly took on God’s love as he sought to love his wife. He pursued her. He found her. He loved her. And he bought her back. That’s an unrelenting, unconditional, selfless love!
Kyle M. Yates wrote, “Hosea takes his place among the greatest lovers of all the ages. His love was so strong that the vilest behavior could not dull it…”
Because of his obedience, Hosea faithfully served God’s purpose and gave to the world, both past and present, a beautiful picture of God’s heart and God’s love. While I doubt Hosea would have chosen this life of heartbreak for himself, God was using him. As Warren Wiersbe noted in his commentary on Hosea, “Gomer broke his heart but she made it possible for him to give to the world a picture of the heart of the divine Lover.”
Just like Hosea, God has every legal right to divorce and alienate us. We’ve fallen short in so many ways. We are an easily discontent people whose love is fickle and often based upon circumstances. We quickly forget all that God has done for us and His unfathomable love, and run off to seek pleasure and love from the false gods of the age. We have been grossly unfaithful to the One who purchased us with His blood and taken us as His bride.
But God does not divorce us. He doesn’t sever His covenant relationship with us. Instead, He does what He commanded Hosea to do. He pursues us. He relentlessly loves us. He buys us back. And most importantly, He never gives up.
So the question is, will we be like Hosea who embodied God’s persistent love? Will we seek to conquer the world for Christ by loving those in it? Will we so faithfully obey God’s commands that they become one with our own heart’s desire?
Or will we be like Gomer, who hardened her heart against Hosea’s pursuit? Will we resist our divine Lover’s efforts to bring us back? Will we keep trying to run away from the One who always knows where we are?
Let us be like Hosea, through whom God worked a beautiful testimony and used mightily. And let us never take for granted or forget God’s love that conquers all.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”