The book of Hosea describes a heartrending love story of a unilateral love affair. Hosea is instructed by God to marry Gomer, a harlot. The Bible is intentional with every word, story, and text; God is teaching us that He loves us, even at our worst, and even when we run from Him.
Hosea and Gomer live together as man and wife. She bears three children and all seems well, until a yearning for the strange paths of her old life. After meditating on distant horizons, she makes the decision to return to the streets to become a woman of the night once more. She adorns herself and seeks to find former lovers.
Far Away From Home
This fantasy world breathes a false sense of belonging. Perhaps there are parties, friends, and laughter, but the fun is only a facade. Life begins to deteriorate at a rapid pace.
Soon Gomer’s beauty fades and her laughter is only a memory. She is penniless, homeless, and filled with despair.
Gomer’s inability to pay her debts forces her into slavery. She is too poor to buy food. In time, she is no longer useful to her master and he takes her to the auction to sell her to the highest bidder.
Hosea 3:1-3, “The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels[a] of silver and about a homer and a lethek[b] of barley. 3 Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.”
Hosea, brokenhearted and his children abandoned, discovers Gomer’s predicament and arrives at the auction block with every asset he has acquired: fifteen pieces of silver and 1.5 homers of barley.
Beautiful Gomer is reduced to a broken, unwanted, and unattractive woman. She is wrinkled and gaunt and her eyes have lost their luster. Her clothes are ragged and soiled, hanging on her skinny frame. She has no shoes and her whole body shakes with apprehension.
She cannot look into Hosea’s eyes.
Hosea is undaunted by her appearance, unfazed by her avoiding look. He pays the asking price and takes her to be restored to her rightful place—home.
God puts this example in the Bible to help us understand the agape love with which he loves the lost, the broken, the runaways.
He asks us to love them as He loved us. A lost soul may have a beautiful outward appearance, but spiritually they are disfigured. God wants us to love them. God desires for us to forgive them, too. He is the God of restoration and hope.
If you feel like you are Gomer, know that God manifests Himself above a seat of mercy, not judgment. He loves you with an everlasting love.
Come home today.