Hosea served as a prophet from 750-725 B.C. in the northern kingdom of Judea. God spoke to Hosea as the Israelites were in a period of faithlessness. God was going to save Judea by the power of His love. God was preparing to send Hosea among his people. First, Hosea was to be married. But it wasn’t to be to the woman Hosea had in mind, but to a pagan and prostitute, Gomer, daughter of Diblaim. (That she was a pagan and a prostitute is a perfect metaphor for Israel’s spiritual depravity.)
Obviously, Hosea resisted the idea. For Hosea, this request was nonsensical, and was therefore a matter of faith. When we obey God, He sheds on us light and understanding. When we disobey, we wander in darkness. Thus, Hosea was to serve as God’s allegory. A prophet marrying a prostitute was akin to God’s love for everyone. Our sin is ugly to God.
On the outside, Gomer tried to make herself more presentable, but on the inside she still felt the pull toward her old lifestyle. Gomer ended up leaving Hosea. She rejected both Hosea & his God. Hosea confessed that he was embarrassed, ashamed, angry, rejected, but that he still loved Gomer. Only now was Hosea truly prepared to represent God to the Israelites.
Hosea was to dramatize God’s love for the unloveable, but also to learn forgiveness. Heretofore, Hosea had presented God only as a vengeful God, but there is also a part of a God that embodies forgiveness. We are to forgive as God has forgiven us.
Years later, Gomer was discovered being sold as a slave. Hosea withdrew all his money and purchased her. By now, she was repentant about having abandoned her family and offered herself as a slave. But all Hosea wanted was his wife back. And yet Hosea’s love for Gomer was minuscule compared to God’s love for humanity. Indeed, the wages of sin is death but the gift of salvation is eternal life. As remarkable as Hosea’s story is, the story of Christ our Savior is so much the greater.