The Story of Hosea and Gomer
Perhaps the most jarring and unexpected story of the Bridegroom’s love for His Bride is found in the prophetic parable of Hosea and Gomer. The story line is not difficult to follow, except that the reality of it is so astounding. The book of Hosea stands as an unfathomable declaration of the ravished heart of God that will not be dissuaded from loving the Bride of His choice, regardless of her rebellious and foolish ways.
As we are introduced to the drama in the first few verses of chapter one, we are stunned by the command given to the prophet Hosea: “Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry, and the children of harlotry . . .” As if it is not enough to take a wife of harlotry, in chapter three Hosea is again commanded concerning this woman, only this time in a more intensive fashion: “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.” Hosea is commanded not only to take an adulterous wife, but he is commanded to love her, “like the love of the Lord for . . . Israel.”
It is clear that the Lord knows exactly what kind of woman He is embracing—one who “loves the raisin cakes” of the pagan peoples. Raisin cakes were a symbol of sexual desire, often used in the rites of pagan religions as an aphrodisiac to stimulate lewd desire and ritual promiscuity. God is fully aware who He is loving here, and in order to demonstrate His love to the people of the earth, He arrests, commands and empowers a human male to love such a woman with His kind of love.
At first glance we might think, “How nice that the Lord would give such a love to Hosea!” But this love is anything but “nice.” The Holy Spirit gives Hosea a supernatural, burning passion for this woman Gomer, a love that will not be dissuaded by the vilest practices. This is an agonizing love, a love rooted in the covenant of a burning heart, one that cannot change. It is a love poured forth through a man held in the grip of God so that the people of the nation may have an undeniable example of God’s heart for them. This is raw and unrelenting passion, terrible and inextinguishable love, the kind of strong love that will face the shame of the cross so the Bride may be purchased once and for all.
In one of the most powerful encounters of the entire Scriptures, the Lord speaks to Israel in chapter two of Hosea, and charges her with the vileness of her sin against God. In the first 13 verses, God charges Israel with repeated unfaithfulness and vows to expose the vile nature of her sin and shame. It is made clear in these records that Israel’s sin was not the result of being misled or unwittingly enticed. She has been purposeful in her sin, pursuing false lovers with zeal, even stooping to the place of paying them for her pleasure.
In our next article, we will consider the amazing mercy of God as He lovingly deals with this situation.