So I’ve been reading the Book of Hosea and I’m kinda freaking out.
First of all, God tells this PROPHET to marry a WHORE. A PROSTITUTE. (1:2) Imagine that. A man of God, a man people respect and people look up to is ordered to marry a woman with no morals. I guess sometimes God tells us to do some crazy things, all we have to do is obey.
Hosea knew her history, her identity, her character and married her nonetheless. She gives birth to his children (1:3-4,6,8) and then leaves. (2:5)
She leaves her husband, her children and returns to her old ‘lovers’.
The true, pure Love Hosea had for her was something she wasn’t used to, so She returned to this mediocre, counterfeit ‘love’.
A ‘love’ she felt safe in because it was all she had ever known.
Could this man really love her and accept her in all her mistakes? She didn’t think so. She ran back to what she was comfortable with and ended up in the hands of strange men. Men who wanted her to abuse her. Men who desired her to exploit her. Men who she thought could give her everything she needed.
Little did she know that it was Hosea who really Loved her with a pure Love. It was Hosea who knew what she needed and was willing to give her everything she wanted. (2:8)
Whilst Hosea saw a Jewel, these men saw a piece of meat. Meat that they wanted to sell.
So here Gomer is, waiting to be sold.
And then Hosea gets the same commandment from God,
“Go. Go and find her. Go. Buy her back” (3:1)
So he went looking for her. No doubt he had to go to the roughest parts of the neighbourhood.
“Isn’t that Hosea? Isn’t he a prophet? What’s he doing in this side of town?”
People were looking, pointing, whispering but Hosea didn’t care. He was looking for his wife. Looking for a woman who had rejected him, a mother who had abandoned his three children. A wife who had disregarded their wedding vows.
And he found her.
In ragged clothes.
On display for the highest bidder.
They locked eyes and in shame she hung her head.
“He’s found me. He definitely won’t want me back now. This is who I am. This is my life. I’m not a wife or a mother. I’m a whore”
Hosea looks at her with tears in his eyes. He has found his bride!
“Excuse me sir, that woman you want to sell. Yeah, that’s my wife. She is mine. We belong together”
“The one with the long black hair? That’s Gomer and she’s for sale.”
“But..she’s already mine-”
“- I don’t care what you say or who you think she is, there’s a price on her head”
“How much.. how much for my wife?”
Imagine that. He was willing to buy her, a woman he had already married and claimed. Someone that already belonged to him!
A woman who had run away from him. A woman who clearly showed no intention on being a true wife and mother. A woman with no self-respect.
but he didn’t care about all that. He didn’t care about what she had been up to since she had ran away. He just wanted her back in his arms. He wanted what was rightfully his.
Gomer was stunned. She couldn’t believe that he still wanted her. After everything, he still wanted her.
“I’ll buy her”.
And so he did. He bought her back for a hefty price. (3:2) He believed she was worth it. Even though she didn’t see her own worth, Hosea did.
She returned and realised that those men could never love her the way Hosea did. They could never hold her, believe in her, lift her up, provide for her or care for her the way Hosea could. She realised that nothing could surpass the love Hosea had expressed towards her. She realised what true Love really was.
She realised the redemptive power of Love and in that realisation she gave herself wholeheartedly to him because she knew that there wasn’t anyone in the earth like Hosea, there wasn’t anyone who could Love the way he did. (2:7)
Hosea had bought his wife back and he wasn’t giving her up or letting her go for anything or anyone. He vowed to hold onto her tightly. (2:10)
Even after all of Gomer’s wrongdoings, Hosea only had thoughts of love, kindness and peace towards her. Hosea was still planning on willingly giving her everything she needed and desired once he had her back. (2:15).
This story is one of pain, heartbreak, feelings of self-doubt, lack of self worth, rejection, loss, redemption, sacrifice but above all it is a beautifully heart-wrenching illustration of the Love God has for us.
We are all Gomers. We have given ourselves over to the “strange men” of this world over and over again. We are all runaway brides. We have run away and indulged in the things that distance us from God. We have rejected God and accepted the counterfeit love of idols in the form of mediocre, God-less/Love-less relationships, social media, school, work, objects etc. We have not recognised that the Love we seek is the Love we can only find in God. We give ourselves over to people who leave us feeling empty inside. But God being so rich in mercy bought us back.
“How much for this runaway bride?”
“The Blood of your only begotten Son” – a hefty price but He knew we would be worth it.
He bought back what already belonged to Him.
He bought us back with a jealous Love. (Deuteronomy 4:24)
A Love that looked past our past, past our mistakes, sins, regrets, failures and shortcomings.
God saw into the future. He knew us before we were even formed (Jeremiah 1:5a) He looked at us not as we are now but as what we shall be; a true spotless Bride.
Gomer tried to run away but Hosea found her. Where could we run from the presence of the Lord? (Psalms 139:7) Where could we hide from His Love? (Psalms 139:15). Through the highs and lows, He is present. He pursues us relentlessly. Should we rise or fall, He is faithful through it all. After all, He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13).
Peace and love xoxo