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Hosea Loves Gomer Hosea Loves Gomer
    by John William Smith

    I have often been troubled by the story of Hosea. I mean, it’s a good story with a great moral — if you’re a long-range observer, or if you want to use him as an example for a lesson you’re teaching. But Hosea was a real person who had to live his life one day at a time with no sneak previews of how it was all going to turn out. He was a man with feelings and frustrations, a guy who loved his kids, baseball, fried chicken, and rooted for the home team. I wonder how he felt about being used as a symbol — an analogy, a proof text, an illustration — a walking sign board —

“Hi, my name’s Hosea,
and I married
the town prostitute.”

    I wonder how he felt when God told him to that He wanted him to select a wife from the red-light district? What a slap in the face when she left him for her old way of life. I’m sure he thought he had done her a big favor by taking her in the first place (which is what a lot of husbands think). I mean, he thought she had a pretty good situation with him. I wonder how he felt when all his friends felt sorry for him or, worse yet, when he overheard the jokes they told about his shady lady. I’m sure they all felt he was crazy and that nobody could possibly love a woman like that.

    I’m sure that he had some reservations about the whole deal, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he argued quite a bit with God before he actually did what He told him. I bet he said, “Lord, let me make sure I heard You right. Now, did I, or did I not, hear You say that You want me to marry a prostitute? I mean, let me get this straight. You always told us to stone people like that, and now You want me to marry one?”

“Lord, let me make sure I heard You right.”
    I think one of the real lessons from this story has to do with Hosea’s willingness to obey God against all human wisdom and judgement, against all of his own desires, against his religious convictions and moral standards — and with his willingness to trust god for the outcome and to be ridiculed by everyone for God’s sake. I want to say that that is what we all must do in our marriages — we must place that relationship in God’s hands and trust Him.

    A second lesson has to do with the fact that apparently Hosea actually came to love Gomer — I mean, he really got attached to her. If he didn’t, then this story loses much of its purpose because it’s supposed to demonstrate God’s never-failing love for His people in spite of their sins. Hosea learned what it’s like to love someone in spite of their faults, and again, that’s what every marriage is about — loving someone in spite of their faults.

    Gomer became an inspiration to Hosea’s life — every time he looked at her, he was reminded of God’s love; and the more he loved her, the more he loved God and understood Him. He understood why it was so important to God that Israel do right and that they love Him, because

more than anything,
Hosea wanted Gomer to do right
and to love him.

    Isn’t that what we all want? And you know what? I think maybe she did come to love him. It may have taken a long time to understand that kind of love, but when she did — I mean, when she understood how much she was loved and what love really is — I believe she knew that it was the greatest thing that had ever happened to her. I want to believe that she became a beautiful person — that she blossomed into all that she was meant to be —

because that’s what love
and marriage
are supposed to do,
you know.
 
From the book My Mother's Favorite Song, by John William Smith, Howard Publishing, 1997. Copyright Howard Publishing, used by permission.

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About the Author...
John William Smith has been a preacher and educator for more than 40 years. He loves fishing and the outdoors, but mostly he loves telling stories that bring people closer to God.

 
Title: "Hosea Loves Gomer"
Author: John William Smith
Publication Date: February 17, 2000

 

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Excerpted from the book My Mother's Favorite Song, by John William Smith, Howard Publishing, 1997. Copyright Howard Publishing, used by permission.
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