The marriage of Hosea and Gomer parallels God’s relationship with the nation of Israel. God speaks to the prophet Hosea, telling him this and commanding him to marry a prostitute, warning him that she will be adulterous in their marriage. Imagine the pre-wedding jitters Hosea must have felt before marrying Gomer, knowing the hurt and shame their relationship would bring. Yet, he obediently married Gomer and showed her mercy and grace when she betrayed him, just as God did to the people of Israel.
This scripture compares idolatry to adultery. When we worship idols other than the one true God, it is as if we are cheating on Him. Although idolatry may look different today (I doubt there are many of us bowing down to gold statues or building sacrifice altars.), it still exists. Idolatry occurs when the pursuit of earthly desires such as wealth, success, or vanity becomes foremost in our lives and robs our devotion to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Just as there is a line with adultery, there is a line with idolatry. Sometimes we don’t recognize when we are approaching it or have crossed it. We are called to be good stewards of the resources God has given us and it is prudent to save wisely, but this can cross over into hoarding and making money our idol. The Bible tells us to work excellently at our job as if we are working for the Lord, but if we are so focused on climbing the corporate ladder that we put our careers before our relationship with God, our family, and our friends, success has become an idol.
People can become our idols. I’m writing this message on the heels of an extremely contentious election season in our nation. During this season, I watched people in both political parties put so much hope in their preferred candidate, as if they had the power to change everything wrong in our world. Elevating mere humans to a higher than appropriate status, whether it’s political leaders, religious leaders, or family members, can pull our focus away from God while setting ourselves up for a huge disappointment.
The beautiful overarching theme of Hosea and Gomer’s story is redemption. Even after Gomer continually wronged Hosea, he still pursued her, forgave her, and brought her back to him. Their marriage is a picture of God’s love and devotion to us. No matter how far we have strayed, he loves us, pursues us, and offers us redemption in a way that is hard for us to wrap our human minds around. I would have a hard time forgiving, let alone going after, my husband after multiple incidents of infidelity the way Hosea did with Gomer, but this is how God loves us and wants to redeem us.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”
Romans 8:38 NLT
1. Are there areas of your life that you worry can turn into idolatry?
2. When you read this scripture, is it hard to imagine the love, forgiveness, and redemption Hosea offers to Gomer?
3. Do you have a hard time believing God wants to extend this kind of love and grace to you?
4. Are there sins you believe are beyond redemption that are inhibiting your relationship with God?
Bonus reading: I recommend reading the book of Hosea to learn the story of God’s love and redemption of the people of Israel. “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers is a beautiful re-telling of Hosea and Gomer’s story symbolizing God’s unconditional love for us.