“The Lord said to me, ‘Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” Hosea 3:1
Hosea is a book of at least three stories. You have the story of Gomer’s unfaithfulness to Hosea set against the backdrop of the bigger story of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. Gomer chased after other men worshipping lust, Israel chased after other gods worshipping Baal. Both entered into relationships against God’s warnings. But the third story is God’s unconditional love, and no matter how far we have strayed, he is chasing us with open arms, forgiving and restoring.
You can look to any of the three parts of this story for value, but what brought me to my knees was the very literal story in the foreground – the marriage between Hosea and Gomer, and the fact that I don’t get to choose to stop loving my wife because of her actions or the conditions in our marriage. If you have been married long enough, you are probably going to walk through some valleys where you question the marriage and feel like leaving. I know this because I was separated for three years, and the other gods sounded so good – find someone else that will love me better, appreciate me more, more connection, less conflict, divorce won’t be that bad, the kids will be fine, etc., etc. And the world around me including well intentioned Christians had a similar but more subtle message like you deserve happiness, you’re still young and can start over.
But the problem is, I don’t see this anywhere in God’s word and I certainly don’t see it in the story of Hosea and Gomer. God was clear to Hosea to go back to his wife regardless of her actions, and offer her the forgiveness and unconditional love that He offers. Not for a season, not until things get better or worse again, but for a lifetime. So for me this meant stopping the divorce process, no more lawyers, and no more fantasizing about the lie of a life in another marriage or being single. The thing is staying married or reconciling a broken marriage is the hardest course of action. My reconciliation will not be easy and I will feel like quitting again. But thank the Lord for Hosea and Gomer, which showed me that if I’m following God, then marriage and unconditional love is not a choice.
Daily Battle Order:
If you are married ask yourself – is your love for your wife conditional? Is it based on her actions and words, based on your feelings or stress levels, or any other conditions in your life or relationship? Then ask her the same question. Then read about Hosea and Gomer.