The man defies any logic I know just by his very being. How can it be, I ask myself over and over again? And yet — it was and it is.
He married a prostitute. Yes, he knew she was a prostitute when he married her and he tells me that God told him to marry this particular prostitute and to have children with her. I’m not going to argue with him but God doesn’t normally go around telling God-fearing men to marry prostitutes.
But, He did. At least that’s what he said. I guess I’ll take him at his word but the more he tells me about his life the less believable it is to me.
It’s not easy being married to a prostitute, he told me. One time, she ran away and came back pregnant. “I don’t think the baby’s mine” he said matter-of-factly.
How’s that for in-your-face honesty?
I’ve never met the man who goes by the name Hosea. He wrote a book about his life and when I read it, it made me shake my head in disbelief. But I have no reason to doubt that his first hand account is true.
What’s interesting about Hosea’s marriage to Gomer (his wife) is that he tells me that God wanted him to understand His relationship to us by being in this marriage. Is he out of his mind, I wonder?
But the more I read, the more it becomes believable to me because in the Bible, our relationship with God is many times described as a bride with her Bridegroom.
“As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:5
“Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while He is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.” Matthew 9:15
And yet, if we believe what Hosea says about his relationship with Gomer being similar to our relationship with God then I have a serious problem because if I follow the logic then Hosea would represent God and Gomer would represent me.
Oh dear, that would be quite scandalous wouldn’t it? So here I am representing a prostitute and God represents my husband. The Bible puts it this way:
“Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.” Hosea 1:2
And that’s where the rubber meets the road — unfaithfulness in my relationship to God.
If I think about it, it happens all the time. I treat God differently than I do my spouse and my loved ones. Is it because God is not physically present that I so easily become unfaithful to him?
And what does unfaithfulness look like to God anyway? Well, I’ll let the Bible speak for itself …
- Unintentional sin – “When anyone is unfaithful to the Lord by sinning unintentionally in regard to any of the Lord’s holy things … ” Leviticus 5:15
- Cheating or deceiving – “If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the Lord by deceiving a neighbor about something entrusted to them or left in their care or about something stolen, or if they cheat their neighbor … ” Leviticus 6:2
- Having other gods (which is the same as placing importance or priority on other things besides God) – “But they were unfaithful to the God of their ancestors and prostituted themselves to the gods of the peoples of the land …” 1 Chronicles 5:25
- Boasting of what “I” have instead of giving God the credit – “Why do you boast of your valleys, boast of your valleys so fruitful? Unfaithful Daughter Ammon, you trust in your riches and say, ‘Who will attack me?’ Jeremiah 49:4
- Adultery (both physical and mental) – “Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts.” Hosea 2:2
- Dabbling in spiritualism – “My people consult a wooden idol, and a diviner’s rod speaks to them. A spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God.” Hosea 4:12
- Unfaithfulness with our money (and time) – “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings.” Malachi 3:8
There’s so many ways we can be unfaithful to God, and for Him, it is painful enough that He considers it prostituting.
The word prostitute has more than one meaning. The normal definition we think of is of a man or woman selling their bodies for money, but it also means “to put to any base or unworthy use.”
The original Hebrew word is zanuwn which is translated whoredom, adultery, fornication and prostitution. (from Strong’s Concordance)
Am I guilty of unfaithfulness to God? Absolutely. How would my husband feel if I spent all my time in front of the TV and none with him? Or what if I took the money my husband worked for and spent it on frivolous things?
So, how can I expect the Creator of the universe — the one who gave me life — to not feel like I am unfaithful when I don’t spend time with Him or waste what He has given me on frivolous things?
Yet, it happens all the time because I am human. The story of Hosea and Gomer is so beautiful because it portrays God as still wanting me (us) in spite of what I (we) have done. He sees our “prostitution” and says “I still want to marry her.” He pursues us and tries to bring us to our senses and He will fight for us as long as there’s any chance of a relationship. Only after we continue to say no to Him does he leave us alone.
I can hear Him say “I love you Norma — even with all your imperfections I still want you.”
This is love. Can I love this way? Can you love this way? How different the world would be if we could love like He loves us.