It’s February, so this month All God’s Women podcast and radio episodes will be dedicated to love lessons from the Bible. Each week we will focus on a Bible couple, looking at their struggles, their strengths, and their secrets for success. Then we’ll see what we can take away from their stories. We kick off with Gomer and Hosea.
Gomer and Hosea are a unique couple in that though they are real people, they are also representative. Gomer represents God’s unfaithful people, and Hosea represents God’s redeeming love for them.
Gomer and Hosea’s Story
Hosea was an Old Testament prophet during the days when the Israelites had abandoned God and turned to the worship of idols. Not only did God use Hosea as a mouthpiece to sound the warnings of what was to come, but He used Hosea’s life as a visual illustration of what he was preaching.
When God called Hosea to be a prophet, His first command was for Hosea to take a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, “For the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord.” Hosea 1:2 (NKJV)
So Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she bore a son. God told Hosea to call him Jezreel which means “God sowed”.
She went on to have a daughter they named Lo-Ruhamah, which means “no mercy” and a son named Lo-Ammi which means “not my people”.
At some point Gomer abandoned her family to chase after other men. It didn’t turn out quite like she expected, and she ended up a slave. Though she’d committed adultery and deserted Hosea, God told Hosea to go after her.
Hosea paid fifteen shekels of silver and one and a half homers of barley. He told her that she would stay with him for many days, no longer the harlot, no other men, and he would be faithful to her.
Gomer and Hosea’s Struggles
Gomer’s name means “completion”. She was the daughter of Diblaim whose name means “two cakes”. Those names may not mean much to us, but cakes referred to sensuality. Two cakes would be consumed with sensuality. Which means that Gomer grew up in a household that worshiped carnal pleasures. She was the completion or epitome of carnal living.
And yet, this woman, filled with worldly desires, agreed to marry a godly prophet. Deep within her being, she longed for something more.
Bible scholars are in disagreement over whether Gomer was already a harlot when Hosea married her or whether she was merely inclined in that direction. We know that Hosea loved her, so there was something about her that drew him, and I don’t think it was her beauty. The Bible calls many women beautiful – Sarah, Rachel, Abigail – but we have no mention of Gomer’s physical appearance. Personally, I think he saw in her a soul in need of saving.
Judging from the names given to the three children of Hosea and Gomer, it appears that Gomer may have strayed after the birth of their first child and Hosea wasn’t certain that the two other children were his. Eventually, she abandoned her husband and children in search for happiness with another lover.
Gomer had a good life. A husband who loved her. Children to adore. But she wanted more. The life of wife and mother wasn’t exciting for her. She longed for riches and glamour. She enjoyed the attention of men clamoring for her.
Gomer forgot how unsatisfying the carnal life is. All she remembered were the sensual pleasures. Only they’re temporary. The love she sought from the other lovers came with a price. She became a slave to them.
Though Hosea loved Gomer, he couldn’t overlook her unfaithfulness. She committed adultery. The penalty for adultery was death. Gomer deserved to be put to death.
Gomer and Hosea’s Strengths
The situation looked hopeless, but Hosea’s redeeming love for Gomer allowed him to not only forgive her but to pay the price to buy her back.
In Hosea 3:3 he made it clear that she was his and he was hers, but they had to be faithful to each other.
Hosea 3:4 continues with, “Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.” We can assume, then, that Gomer returned to Hosea with a new appreciation of his love.
Gomer and Hosea’s Secrets to Romance
Every marriage has its struggles, some more than others. Though Gomer and Hosea went into their marriage knowing it wouldn’t be easy, neither could have foreseen just how difficult it would be.
But they made it through. How did they do it?
Not every marriage can survive infidelity. In fact, that’s why God offered it as an acceptable reason for divorce. He knows the pain and suffering that comes with an unfaithful spouse. He also knows that love can weather the strongest storms.
Hosea continued to love Gomer even after she left him. She had to love him as well because she went back to him and remained faithful to him after that. After going back to her life of selfish indulgence, she had a new appreciation for selfless love. She realized that the pleasures the world has to offer pale in comparison to true love.
Your Love Story
I don’t know your story. It may be that you’ve had to deal with marital infidelity – yours or your spouse’s. I can’t begin to know what you’re going through. But I do know that God can work a miracle in the darkest situations. It will require a lot of prayer, forgiveness, and love to make it through.
It may be that you’re an abandoned spouse. You tried to make the marriage work, but it was all one-sided. Hosea was a godly man, a loving and kind husband, and yet, his wife left him. You can’t make someone love you. You can’t control them. Sometimes we have to accept that this is where we’re at. It may not be where we chose to be, but this is where we are.
Perhaps you’re feeling trapped in marriage. You’ve got a good life, but it’s not enough. You’re not content with what you have. You feel things would be better with someone else.
Please, if you are harboring these thoughts, take them to the Lord immediately. Do not linger on them.
The world can entice us with promises of glamour and excitement, but it’s all a fleeting mirage. When reality seeps in, you find yourself ambushed, a slave to the things you thought you wanted.
Whatever your situation, I challenge you to take a moment and pray for your spouse. Pray for God to help you see your husband through His eyes. Try to remember what drew you to him. Remember the good times. Focus on his strengths rather than his failures. If he’s hurt you, pray for God to help you forgive him. It won’t be easy, but it’s the only way you can move on. As long as you’re harboring anger and resentment, it will torment you. But if you give it to God, it takes the pressure off of you.
If you’re single, please pray for God to guide you as you seek a spouse. Ask Him to help you look past what the world sees, and find a man with a good heart who will faithfully love you through the good times and bad. Pray for God to make you into a woman deserving of such a man.
Lord God, what a difficult story this is. It makes us uncomfortable. It’s hard to understand how Hosea could continue loving Gomer after she did what she did. But Lord, thank You for this story that illustrates to us just how powerful Your love is. We all fail You at some point. We all take leave of our senses and go wandering away in search of fleeting fancies. Forgive us those times. But Lord, thank You for coming after us, for forgiving us, for letting us know that despite our failures, You still love us. Thank You for never failing nor forsaking us. We love You so very much. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Tune in next week for the love story of Priscilla and Aquila.
Hosea 1:1-11; 3:1-5
Bible Study Review
- What did God tell Hosea to do?
- What is the significance of the names of Gomer, her father, and the children?
- What did Hosea do when Gomer left?
Thoughts to Ponder
- Why did Hosea marry Gomer?
- Why did Gomer leave?
- Why did Gomer return?
- Have you ever chased after worldly pleasures?
- Have you ever experienced unmerited love and mercy?
- What does this story say to you?
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Did you realize that All God’s Women now releases on Sundays instead of Wednesdays? I made the switch in January so that you have all week to check out the episodes and study the stories in your Bible. Also, on Saturdays, I precede the shows with the radio episodes that give you a sneak peek into what to expect. So next Saturday you can listen to the Priscilla radio episode. Then on Sunday you can listen to the Priscilla podcast episode. Of course, the beauty of podcasting is it’s always there to listen to at your leisure.