Shakespeare’s words that “the course of love never did run smooth” in the play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” rings all too accurate for many. Just ask the prophet Hosea in the the Old Testament book that bears His name.
The story of Hosea and Gomer is one of the most powerful pictures of love in the Old Testament. It has all the makings of a great Shakespeare play: intrigue, deception, and love. But unlike a play, this story is real and tragic. God instructed Hosea to marry Gomer, even telling him that she would one day be unfaithful to him. Hosea was obedient to God and took her as his wife. Like many other couples the marriage seemingly started out well. They established a home and began a family.
However, It didn’t take long for the marriage to unravel. Hosea’s wife began going off with other men, sometimes for long periods of time. He wasn’t even sure that the children she bore were his. It wasn’t long before she didn’t return home at all. She had fallen into the hands of the worse kind of men who eventually enslaved her. God next told Hosea to do what most men could never do, go to an auction and buy her. I can only imagine what went thru Hosea’s mind and the scene that followed. He loved and cherished his wife. He met every need she had. In spite of that she ran off and lived the life of a harlot. She now stands in front of a crowd of people, used, abused, and most likely stripped of her clothing, being sold to the highest bidder. As instructed by God Hosea bids the highest amount and takes his wife home. Gomer’s actions did not warrant her redemption, but Hosea’s love for his wife was far greater than her unfaithfulness.
What a beautiful picture of unconditional love! In God’s eyes we are no better than Gomer. Our sin took us far from God and no action on our part could correct that. God unconditionally loved us and bought us off the auction block of sin with his own precious blood! The story of Hosea and Gomer is both real and symbolic. God was disgusted with his people for their unfaithfulness and idolatry and sought to restore them.
Our own story isn’t much different. We spend our lives serving the idols of self, work, pleasure, and addictions. We don’t have to be a slave to any sin. Jesus bought our freedom on the cross years ago. Let’s live like it!
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”