Is it just me? Or do you sometimes find yourself laughing at certain verses in the Bible? I am continuing to study Hosea this week. Re-reading Hosea chapter 1, I came across verse 2 and 3.
When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, ” Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.”
Ok. Ok. So, right here I think that God is just upset that this nation is not being faithful to Him. And He is just being facetious. I was anthropomorphizing God. I was trying to understand God’s line of thinking in my terms, in human terms. If I were saying this, I would be saying, my words dripping with sarcasm. “Oh just go marry a slut! For that is the way these people are treating me.” But then the next verse puzzles me.
“So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son” (Hosea 2:3)
I’m assuming that Hosea was following God’s instruction to a tee and that Gomer was exactly the type of woman that God had instructed Hosea to marry. Had Hosea misunderstood God. I don’t think so. So, God had truly been instructing Hosea, a prophet and a man of God, to go and marry a woman in her promiscuity. When things puzzle me from the Bible, I go and speak to God. I call on Him to reveal Himself to me and the facets of his personality. He is not like me. He is not a man. This is the only way that I can come to an understanding of who God is and his meaning. I walked outside the warmth of Starbucks, and lit a cigarette and began speaking to God.
You see, in my weakness, I still have a smoking habit. I have considered quitting and have many times only to start back again. My mom is baffled by the fact that I will praise God in my car and pray to God wherever while still smoking a cigarette. And I have thought, ‘Should I wait until a time when I am not smoking a cigarette to do these things? Or should I wait to smoke until later?’ But you see, my God knows me. And my God loves me. Even in weakness. When I open myself to Him in every moment, He is in love with me. And His ear is turned, His heart is poised ready to listen even in these moments.
And God said, what I asked Hosea to do was symbolic. You see,even in the nation’s weakness, even in her failure, I would join myself to her in the most intimate of ways. I, myself, would marry the promiscuous woman if she would just say “Yes”… “I do”. Hosea went and married Gomer to represent God’s longing to be married to his bride though adulterous.
Let’s skip forward to where we left off with the end of Hosea 2. Remember that God has spoken of his broken heart over Israel and has announced his judgments for the sole purpose of reconciling Israel to him.
“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her…There she will respond as in the days of her youth. In that day, ‘declares the Lord’ you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master’ I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips.” (Hosea 2:14-17)
Even in her adultery, God is longing, looking for ways to make her forget about her other lovers and to fall in love with Him once again. And Him alone. I don’t know how many of you have ever had a spouse commit adultery. I have never been married so I am not sure how much this would break my heart. But this wasn’t just ANY love affair. Here was a nation that God had rescued. Rescued! In our wildest fantasies, a woman will dream of a guy who comes and rescues her out of bondage and provides for her in amazing ways. (Parting a sea so that we could escape would be nice!). This usually isn’t the way that our love and marriage happens. And I don’t know that I would want the circumstances to exist prior to the rescue anyway. God had been their knight in shining armor. He had shown himself a worthy lover. He had revealed his power. And this nation, this people turned to worshiping other Gods. How could they do such a thing! I was just thinking this to myself when God brought to my memory, the night that forever scarred my ‘record’.
I was in a wilderness of my own making. Drowning in alcohol and drugs (my Baals), I took a drive. After going up an exit ramp (the wrong direction) and fleeing from the cops going the wrong way down the interstate, I was finally stopped and thrown in jail. God woke me up. I was sober and alive. He had exposed my lewdness and now no one would take me out of His hands (Hosea 2:10) God has ‘stopped all my celebrations’ (Hosea 2:11). He punished me for the days where I went after other lovers (2:13). But at the same time…
At the same time, He allured me with His love. He spoke to me with tenderness (Hosea 2:14) For a year, he kept me in perfect peace. I look back on that time in jail as a honeymoon with God. Where God revealed that even in punishment, he would show me mercy, tender love and comfort. Even after being released, I fell victim to committing adultery over and over again in smaller measures. But every time I returned to my God, begged Him to forgive me and draw near to me. And eventually, I began to realize that my hope and future was in my husband and my savior. He had rescued me, allured me, and I am His and His alone. I hope that my story does not continue to follow the same pattern as the people of Israel (as it has in the past). I pray that I never stray from the place of complete-commitment to God.
Prayer: Forgive me for those times that I have been promiscous in the things that I loved and the other gods that I chased. Thank you for your mercy in punishment. God, I pray that you will through your grace keep me in complete commitment to You and You alone. For in you, I have a hope and future. You are the husband of my soul. And I want to be married to You. I want to be found faithful. It is in faithful commitment to You that I will walk in the path You have chosen for me. It is in faithfulness to you that I will walk in righteousness. Keep me on the narrow path, and fill me with your love anew each day. I want to discover your faithful love for me that knows no bounds. That love will move mountains and part waters to reveal itself. I love you because you first loved me. I pray that one day, as I love you faithfully, I will be able to love you in the same way that ‘the Father loves the Son’.