A Love Story

Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.” So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. And I said to her, “You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man—so, too, will I be toward you.
— Hosea 3:1-3

Hosea is a beautiful love story of a man, a prophet whose wife was an adulterous who finally left him for another man.  Hosea never stopped loving her and finally finds her again dirty, filthy and a slave.  As you read this sermon you will understand how God uses Hosea and his wife Gomer to illustrate His love for His wife Israel who is guilty of whoredom and prostitution.  Through this, Hosea could better understand and preach to Israel God's love and Israel's need to repent.  As most of my sermons on this blog, it's only a synopsis of the whole.

To understand the book of Hosea, you have to understand the background from which it was written. The book of Hosea was written by the prophet Hosea.  The book is a message of God's love and salvation to a spiritually bankrupt people.

Israel was a prosperous nation materially, politically and militarily but they were spiritually and morally bankrupt.  Verse one in our text pretty much describes their spiritual condition.  It says that they looked to other gods, and love flagons of wine.  The other gods were mainly Baal and his companion Ashtoreth.  Don't miss this, Israel belongs to God but she is whoring around committing adultery with other gods.  God is going to use Hosea and his wife Gomer to Illustrate His love for His people.

As I said, Israel was spiritually bankrupt during this time and they had no real love for God, for His Word, or for His worship.  But whenever a prophet showed up, they were very interested in his actions. That is why God often used the personal lives of the prophets to illustrate His relationship with Israel. Once again, that is the case in the book of Hosea.

 God uses Hosea, his wife Gomer, and the children born into their relationship, as a picture of His relationship with Israel. Through this family, God will reveal His love for His wayward people.

I do not believe God commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute as some proclaim.  In fact, I believe that Gomer was a faithful wife of a preacher who supported him, the work and the message he preached.  But something happened and everything changed.  Of course God knew all of this and would use Hosea's life and circumstance to show His grace, mercy and love for His wayward people.  Yes, I know what verse 2 says but let me explain that as we look at Gomer's lifestyle. 

For us to understand the depth of Hosea’s love we must first understand something of Gomer’s life. When Gomer first appears in Hosea 1:2, she was called “the wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms.”  This does not mean that God commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute. Most likely, Gomer was a chaste woman when Hosea married her. The phrase “a wife of whoredoms” simply means that she was an Israelite. It means that she was a product of her society; meaning that she had been raised in idolatry and rebellion.

At first, Hosea’s marriage to Gomer must have been a happy time for both of them. God blessed their union by giving him a son whom they named Jezreel.   But something happened.  By the time we get to our text, Gomer is called an “adulteress.”  Hosea 2:5 says, “For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them have done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread, my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.” In other words, Gomer is a prostitute. She committed adultery while she was with Hosea, then leaves him for another man. Now it appears, that her new lover is finished with her and has put her up for sale on the auction block.

This picture of Gomer’s lifestyle is a clear picture of what sin produces in every life it touches. A lifestyle of unrepentant sin may bring pleasure at the time, but eventually it leads to ruin, devastation, destruction, and death. Sin always leaves its mark, and eventually it leads to Hell.

According to Hosea 1:6-9, Gomer was guilty of committing adultery against Hosea. The child born in verse 6 was named “Lo-Ruhamah.”  This name means, “No mercy.”  The child born in verse 9 is called “Lo-ammi.” This name means, “Not my people.” So the first child was Hosea's but the other two were not Hosea's.  Gomer was guilty of breaking her marriage vows and abandoned the family to pursue a life of lust.

Get the picture?  Gomer is a picture of the lost sinner. Just like Gomer, those who are lost in their sins pursue their own lusts and care nothing about the God who loves them.  It's also a picture of a Christian who leaves God for the lust of the world.  I really like the picture of the backslidden Christian.  You see, she belonged to Hosea just like a Christian belongs to the Lord.  I think this is a perfect picture of God's children today backsliding and leaving Him for other things (gods).

The story goes on with Gomer's lover dumping her at a slave auction. In spite of all she's done. Hosea still loves her.  God tells Hosea “go yet, love a woman.” This phrase means, “Show her again how much you love her.” Then the Bible says that she is, “beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress.”  This phrase means, “She is a woman who loves another man and is still guilty of adultery.”

So, when Hosea receives the command to go after Gomer, he does not hesitate. Why? He goes after her because he loves her. He loved her before she fell into sin, and he still loved her in spite of her sin. His love is so great that he is willing to do whatever it takes to bring her back to himself.

When Hosea finds Gomer, she has been sold into slavery. She has probably been sold as a prostitute.  She is a far cry from the woman she was when he fell in love with her and married her all those years before.

To make a long story short, Hosea sacrificed and gave all he had to purchase the woman who in reality already belonged to him.  Hosea was surely the talk of the town.  The preacher's wife going after different lovers and finally running off with one.  Hosea didn't care what people said or thought, he loved her, pursued after her and bought her back for a price.

God has done the same for us.  Wether a lost sinner or a backslidden Christian, God loves you and wants you to be His.  He wants you to be faithful to Him and Him alone.  He wants you to live with Him now and in eternity.  God showed his marvelous love and grace through the life of Hosea and Gomer.