Have you ever been betrayed? Maybe in grade school, your best friend turned your other friends against you. Or maybe it’s a fresh wound, and one of your closest friends at work talked poorly about you to your supervisors. Or maybe your ex left you or cheated on you while you always remained committed on your end, or possibly your family believed someone else’s word against yours.
Hosea was a God-fearing man, full of integrity and well-respected in his community. Yet, he made a surprising choice to take Gomer as his wife, a woman promiscuous by reputation. (Although we aren’t as shocked by this move, because hundreds of years later, we’re privy to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Lord commanding him to marry a prostitute.) But you can bet at the time, Hosea’s friends and family raised their brows at his choice.
It didn’t help that, three kids later, Gomer did leave him, cheat on him, and returned to her promiscuous ways. Hosea could’ve washed his hands of her and moved on with his life. No one would’ve blamed him if he did. But God says otherwise: “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them.”
So he did. Hosea tracked her down and bought her back for 15 pieces of silver. What’s note-worthy here is that Jesus did the same for us. Hosea’s example represents God’s forgiveness not just for Israel back in the day, but for all of God’s people today. If we’re being honest with ourselves, we know we’re an adulterous people, chasing after our own desires, and at times, leaving God in the dust. But His love pursues us each and every day, and God bought us back from the penalty of sin with His Son’s own blood.
What forgiveness. What unconditional love.
Just as God asked Hosea to display this type of mercy and tenderness to his wife, He asks us to extend His forgiveness and love to those in our world today—as an example of His character and His desire for a restored relationship.
When the ball is in our court to forgive, let’s forgive quickly. When someone doesn’t deserve our grace, may we give it anyways. And whenever we do, may we always point to Christ as our reason and our Source. Maybe then, just like with the hope for Israel, others will turn away from their adulterous ways and turn back to their Creator.
- How can you relate to Hosea? How can you relate to Gomer?
- Like Hosea 3:5 describes, we’re called to tremble in awe of the Lord and of His goodness. In prayer today, meditate on God’s goodness to you, list out specific examples, and thank Him!
1 The Lord gave this message to Hosea son of Beeri during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel.
Hosea’s Wife and Children
2 When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.”
3 So Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she became pregnant and gave Hosea a son. 4 And the Lord said, “Name the child Jezreel, for I am about to punish King Jehu’s dynasty to avenge the murders he committed at Jezreel. In fact, I will bring an end to Israel’s independence. 5 I will break its military power in the Jezreel Valley.”
6 Soon Gomer became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said to Hosea, “Name your daughter Lo-ruhamah—‘Not loved’—for I will no longer show love to the people of Israel or forgive them. 7 But I will show love to the people of Judah. I will free them from their enemies—not with weapons and armies or horses and charioteers, but by my power as the Lordtheir God.”
8 After Gomer had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she again became pregnant and gave birth to a second son. 9 And the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi—‘Not my people’—for Israel is not my people, and I am not their God.
10 “Yet the time will come when Israel’s people will be like the sands of the seashore—too many to count! Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ it will be said, ‘You are children of the living God.’ 11 Then the people of Judah and Israel will unite together. They will choose one leader for themselves, and they will return from exile together. What a day that will be—the day of Jezreel—when God will again plant his people in his land.
1 “In that day you will call your brothers Ammi—‘My people.’ And you will call your sisters Ruhamah—‘The ones I love.’
Charges against an Unfaithful Wife
2 “But now bring charges against Israel—your mother—
for she is no longer my wife,
and I am no longer her husband.
Tell her to remove the prostitute’s makeup from her face
and the clothing that exposes her breasts.
3 Otherwise, I will strip her as naked
as she was on the day she was born.
I will leave her to die of thirst,
as in a dry and barren wilderness.
4 And I will not love her children,
for they were conceived in prostitution.
5 Their mother is a shameless prostitute
and became pregnant in a shameful way.
She said, ‘I’ll run after other lovers
and sell myself to them for food and water,
for clothing of wool and linen,
and for olive oil and drinks.’
6 “For this reason I will fence her in with thornbushes.
I will block her path with a wall
to make her lose her way.
7 When she runs after her lovers,
she won’t be able to catch them.
She will search for them
but not find them.
Then she will think,
‘I might as well return to my husband,
for I was better off with him than I am now.’
8 She doesn’t realize it was I who gave her everything she has—
the grain, the new wine, the olive oil;
I even gave her silver and gold.
But she gave all my gifts to Baal.
9 “But now I will take back the ripened grain and new wine
I generously provided each harvest season.
I will take away the wool and linen clothing
I gave her to cover her nakedness.
10 I will strip her naked in public,
while all her lovers look on.
No one will be able
to rescue her from my hands.
11 I will put an end to her annual festivals,
her new moon celebrations, and her Sabbath days—
all her appointed festivals.
12 I will destroy her grapevines and fig trees,
things she claims her lovers gave her.
I will let them grow into tangled thickets,
where only wild animals will eat the fruit.
13 I will punish her for all those times
when she burned incense to her images of Baal,
when she put on her earrings and jewels
and went out to look for her lovers
but forgot all about me,”
says the Lord.
The Lord’s Love for Unfaithful Israel
14 “But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there.
15 I will return her vineyards to her
and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.
She will give herself to me there,
as she did long ago when she was young,
when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.
16 When that day comes,” says the Lord,
“you will call me ‘my husband’
instead of ‘my master.’
17 O Israel, I will wipe the many names of Baal from your lips,
and you will never mention them again.
18 On that day I will make a covenant
with all the wild animals and the birds of the sky
and the animals that scurry along the ground
so they will not harm you.
I will remove all weapons of war from the land,
all swords and bows,
so you can live unafraid
in peace and safety.
19 I will make you my wife forever,
showing you righteousness and justice,
unfailing love and compassion.
20 I will be faithful to you and make you mine,
and you will finally know me as the Lord.
21 “In that day, I will answer,”
says the Lord.
“I will answer the sky as it pleads for clouds.
And the sky will answer the earth with rain.
22 Then the earth will answer the thirsty cries
of the grain, the grapevines, and the olive trees.
And they in turn will answer,
23 At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites
and raise them for myself.
I will show love
to those I called ‘Not loved.’
And to those I called ‘Not my people,’
I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’
And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’”
Subscribe to Receive Daily Devotionals
Start your morning off right! Enter your information below to receive email notifications of our daily devotionals.