Reading time: 3 minutes
The book of Hosea is well-known for its story of Hosea and Gomer, the prostitute who Hosea is told to go and marry. But, do you realize that after chapter 3, Gomer is not mentioned anymore within the book? Beyond the rocky love story of a prophet and a prostitute, this is a story about us today. Of how we, like the Israelites, have wandered away from God to other lovers.
I’ve been wanting to rest and sit in the idea of God pursuing me. And the more I sit in it, the more uncomfortable I get. Because I know, like Gomer and the Israelites, I’ve found myself attracted to other “lovers” that claim they can love me back in bigger, better, bolder ways.
So there I run, ignoring the promise of an eternal betrothal of righteousness and faithfulness from God (2:19-20). I choose disgraceful things over glorious ones (4:7) and forget that my stubbornness doesn’t allow me to be led to pastures (4:16).
I am doomed (5:4), when I’m running this way, forsaking Him who does not forsake me and hoping these other “lovers” will help cure the loneliness inside (5:13).
But they will not.
I must return to the One who truly loves me, with the eternal betrothal. The One who leads to wildernesses, we see.
And it seems like a trap at first! What good can be found in a wilderness?
“What good can come from Nazareth?” the apostle would later ask.
Don’t we unknowingly ask this question every time we step into a desert place? Nothing good is what our eyes see first, but then they begin to adjust. Blinking harder as we continue to walk, the ground around us changing before us.
But it can’t be! Water in the desert? And it’s coming from the ground!
The dusty dirt turns darker as the water rises and flows. Our eyes follow the swelling stream and we look ahead. It is pooling together. Now large enough for us to wash ourselves and our dirty feet. Now large enough for us to drink! We can make it, we begin to think.
And what is that pricking our heart? Hope.
This desert wilderness that once held us captive is now turning into an oasis. New life, not certain death.
And we were led here all along.
We must resist going back.
Gomer, it’s believed, finally stopped resisting. Her silence for the rest of the book of Hosea seen as a sign that she stayed and remained faithful to the husband who bought and brought her back lovingly.
I wish to be Gomer and get it right within three chapters, but like the Israelites, I take a bit longer. Israel repents in chapter 6, but it’s not a faithful repentance. Their love has no substance (6:4) and they continue to say all the right things, but don’t do them. Very reminiscent of me today, confusing obedience and sacrifice.
So I ask myself, does my love for God have substance?
There are roots there, but how are they doing? Are they planted strong by the water that pools together in the wilderness or are they rotted?
“As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” (Hosea 6:3) As surely as the sun rises...
Will my repentance be empty like the “lovers” I chase after, like that of the Israelites? Or will I see the way in the wilderness that springs forth hope and eternal betrothal and never look back?
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