Lessons In The Life Of Gomer

 

But Me she forgot. 

Hosea 1-3

Our reading for this week was on the life of Gomer but I think we got a two for one deal. It’s not only is about The life of Hosea t and Gomer his unfaithful wife but it’s also the unfaithfulness of the nation of Israel.

If you joined us last week we are seeing another “picture” type story just like we did in the Song of Solomon. The book of Hosea is about God’s love for His people plain and simple. No matter the depth of sin even harlotry and infidelity. He loves His people. 

The book of Hosea starts out in a whirlwind. God does the unthinkable in the eyes of American Christianity. It starts out going against everything we stand for. In The book of Hosea,

God tells Hosea to go marry “a wife of harlotry, a whore, a prostitute. She’s unfaithful and she’s going to unfaithful in the future but yet God tells this prophet to go marry a harlot !!!!

What a great way to start out a relationship?  Going in Hosea knows she will be unfaithful but yet God has told him to go marry her. Just like any story you can’t just stop there. If you do, it makes absolutely no sense. If you didn’t get to study or aren’t familiar with this Biblical story you will see several things as we study. You’ll see as we study that this relationship between Gomer and Hosea is actually a picture of what is going on in the life of the nation of Israel. If you can picture a mirror in front you you. These two mirror each other. We are to get the picture that if anyone looked at the life of Hosea and Gomer and saw how Hosea loved Gomer even in her harlot days, it would show them Gods love for His people. 

If anyone looked at the harlotry of Gomer then they would see a picture of what the nation of Israel looked like as they went after other Gods. It also is a huge lesson to us as to see the lengths God will go to to love His people.This is a huge peek into the love and character of God

Now remember Hosea is a prophet. As he is prophesying to Israel about their infidelity to God while seeing this very picture of the same thing played out in his own life.I can’t imagine that !

Hosea is processing the judgment that is coming against the people that He is to prophesy to but also walking out the infidelity of his wife. 

Did Hosea know that this season of his wife being unfaithful was a picture of Gods faithfulness to His unfaithful Israel?

Did he understand that God was using this very personal relationship as an example to himself…to the nation of Israel or was this personal struggle just added on top of being a Prophet for the most high God.

I don’t know…..

A lot of conjuncture is given around whether Gomer was unfaithful from the get go.

Was she unfaithful because of Cannanite rituals or did she become unfaithful after their marriage. 

Seriously there is so much information out there and I didn’t feel comfortable bringing you any concrete thoughts about it. 

There are thoughts about it… just thoughts…

What I do see is that God knew of her unfaithfulness yet God still called Hosea to marry her. God knew one day she would be faithful again.  Just like God called Israel His people even when He knew they would be unfaithful.

Just go along with me on this thought…

Just like God called you and knew you would have times of playing the harlot. 

Now understand when I say the word harlot.  I am not meaning the physical sense I mean the spiritual sense. I mean you choose to follow other gods in your life

Other things have your attention and you make decisions for your life based upon the things that have your focus instead  of God having your full attention.That is playing the harlot.Those things you can’t say no to. Those things that have your attention

 

 

 

 

God spoke to Hosea to marry her knowing ahead of time it was going to be a bumpy road but knowing He was going to use it. Knowing ahead of time this was going to be a real life picture of what He would have Hosea prophesy to the nation of Israel about.

 

 

Again, you have to keep in context that this relationship between Hosea and Gomer is a real life relationship.

Some even question that but it seems as though this is a real life relationship because Hosea goes back and forth weaving these stories together in the first three chapters. We will see over and over and over that God is faithful when Israel isn’t.  

God is faithful when we are unfaithful.  

God loves us when we don’t reciprocate the love.

We see God pursuing us even in our unfaithfulness.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

He is Good.

We know Hosea does as he is asked by the Lord and marries Gomer. Gomer and Hosea have 3 children and then becomes unfaithful.The names of these three children give us a lot of insight into the relationship between God and Israel.  Let’s delve into those and apply those to our relationship with Him.

We will delve deeper into the names of these three kiddos but let’s call them out right quick.  The names are Jezreel, LoRuhamah and Lo Ammi. The names of these children have extreme significance and a tie to the unfaithfulness of Israel.  They kind of give us a glimpse into the seriousness of the unfaithfulness of Israel.

Jezreel:  

The name Jezebel means God will scatter. He is the first son of Gomer and Hosea that was to tell them judgement was coming. Israel’s discipline is coming.  

Jezreel was an actual place where a terrible massacre had already happened.  Military conquest and many wars that went down play into this name. I believe too much for us to get into in this short Bible study. 

Lo-Ruhamah:

The name Lo-Ruhamah means no compassion. 

What a name for a little girl but remember these names are a picture of what is coming to Israel because of their harlotry or playing a whore with other Gods.

I want to use the word “whore” because I know that word is offensive to you. Harlotry doesn’t jab at our heart like “whore” does.  I want this to jab at your heart that often times we are a “whore” to other gods and talk about the seriousness of it in our own lives.

It’s serious in the life of Gomer. It’s serious in the life of Israel and it’s serious in our lives.

This name of this second child let’s us know that Gods love for  unfaithful Israel would be shut down for a time. Judgement was coming.  Ruhamah means compassion. Lo means no. 

This word was a strong word meaning “no compassion”. Judgment was coming.

Lo-Ammi: (son)

The name Lo-Ammi means “not my people”.  We know from the scriptures we know by heart that  the people of Israel are His chosen people but there would be a season of judgment because of their unfaithfulness to Him. I think the name of Gomer’s third son grips my heart the tightest, that the judgment of God could and had become so severe that He would proclaim these are “not my people”.

 

I can’t tell you how this statement stuns me.  

At some point in the life of Israel God, even in His merciful nature, God has had enough.  God will deal with sin however He has to.

We often look at the character of God and remember His overwhelming mercy and grace and we forget that God will and does judge sin.

 

 

 

 

 

Again I want to bring it back around to your life. I don’t want to look at the life of Gomer and the stories of Israel and think “yikes” yes God sure does judge sin but to bring it home to you. God will judge your sin and God will judge my sin.

 

 

 

 

We are going to see in this story God goes to great lengths to get their attention and bring them back. I am thankful to know that the Lo-Ammi season of “not my people” doesn’t last.

Ok lets hit Hosea 1:2 hard. 

THE BEGINNING

I want to start back in Hosea 1:2 when he tells Hosea go take for yourself a wife of harlotry.  Remember how we talked last week that the church is the bridegroom of christ? 

Christ took for himself a bride who He knew would commit adultery on Him. He knew the church would be unfaithful yet just like Hosea pursued Gomer, God pursued us. This type of love is overwhelming. 

 

 

 

It’s almost like God is making a point to say, “I will pursue you to the end. I have loved you, pursued you even in your unfaithfulness to me, even when you were a whore and but because of that your sin against me must be dealt with”.

“You are my children and I will discipline you and bring you back to myself”. We are going to see God pursue them in multiple ways. Israels sin of “spiritual adultery” would be dealt with. Thus the names of these 3 sons that are a picture of the judgment thats coming.  

Let’s recall the meanings of the names of the children. They are God is going to scatter you, no compassion and not my people.They were not acting like God was their God. I had never delved into the pit of those statements and they sting even as I read them. 

 

 

 

 

WHEN GOD DROPS A “YET”

God has spoken figuratively using the names of the children of Gomer and Hosea to the judgment that is coming on the children of Israel but then God drops a yet.  

We go from the 3rd child named Lo-Ammi which means “not my people” to God speaking a “yet”. The yet comes in Hosea 1:10. Even though there was unfaithfulness, Israel will once again have benefits of their relationship with God. 

 I love that God never forgets His children.  

Even in the midst of a “God will scatter” and “not my people” and “no compassion”,He never forgets His children.  These statements speak of the discipline for playing around and bowing to other gods.  

 

 

 

 

There is so much that I can not touch about this scripture so much prophecy that is hard to decipher.  So I will take what I understand about the character of God as I read.

Some might say, well you aren’t teaching the entire council of the word.  I will say to that we are all growing. Let me give an example.Some of you are in post grad school when it comes to the word of God. You have deep knowledge of the word,  you understand all the conquests of Israel and all the prophetic interpretation that goes along with the book of Hosea. 

I know all of that information is in this book  but to say I can teach it wholeheartedly with 100% assurance.. I’m just not.  

There are some of you who are studying and growing for the first time. For you, what I want you to know about this book is prophetic in nature. What I mean by that is it speaks of things yet to come in the life of the nation of Israel. While realizing we don’t understand the entire significance of lots of that we can grow from how we see God deal with Israel and how God has Hosea pursue Gomer even while she was a whore.

The first chapter of Hosea starts out with Hosea is to marry a harlot then it really gives us an overall picture that God will judge Israel then restore it. Even though they would go through a season of judgement, God will restore fellowship with His people.

Hosea chapter 2 hits us hard right off the bat. 

You can see God is talking about Himself as the husband and the wife being Israel because the “MY” is capitalized. So we have jumped from Hosea 1 that Hosea is to marry a whore named Gomer, to the judgement thats exemplified in the names of their children to mid chapter 1 talking about God will restore Israel.  Then we pick up in chapter 2 hitting us hard with the unfaithfulness of Israel and how God is going to deal with them.

The book of Hosea does a play on words like this is Hosea and Gomer but because of the “My” is capitalized we know God is talking about the unfaithfulness of His people Israel.  We even see it talked about as a husband and wife analogy but make no mistake these scriptures are talking about God’s relationship with Israel.

I wanted to write down what we see about Israel.  Let’s dig out what God calls the unfaithful to do.  Again, these are areas we can see how God deals with unfaithfulness.  This is golden into the heart of God and how He addresses unfaithfulness, even ours.

THE PURSUIT OF HIS LOVE

We see this pursuit from God for their actions come in Hosea 2:2.  He calls them on the carpet and gives instruction and the repercussions of not following His instruction. 

 

God says put away your harlotries. The language here is straight to the point. Hosea leaves nothing for us to wonder about.  In the physical sense with Gomer, she is to put away those who lay between her physical breasts.  Israel had also “bedded” up with other gods and has “stepped out” on God.  In laymen’s terms he says, “stop sleeping around and get the adulterer from between your breasts or I am gonna lay you bear”. 

God is using some serious picturesque language about the harlot that Israel has been with other gods.  In Hosea 2:2-3, God even goes so far as to have Hosea pen that if you don’t remove these gods from your life, I will strip you naked and expose you naked as a jay bird.

God says to the nation of Israel, “You wanna lay naked and be a whore with other gods, ok I’ll strip you bear and expose you naked”.  Tough stuff !!  Y’all that right there should stop us in our tracks as we play with other gods in our life. 

If you reach back to Ezekiel 16:38-40, this stripping an adulterous woman bear would have happened right before they stoned her.  

God is dealing with this sin!  He plans to bring you into the wilderness and slay you with thirst.  A wilderness makes me think of solitude. Slaying them with thirst makes me think of a desolate place.

Hosea 2:5 speaks about her conceiving them and behaving shamefully.  Adultery breeds adultery.  How one generation of Israel had committed adultery that it would conceive the next generation that committed adultery.  God is basically stripped Israel bare but I say He can also strip us bare as we move away from His ways.  A good father does that yall !  Even an earthly father disciplines His children. Gods love for us means He will deal with those areas where we have played the whore. 

Then conversation continues and Israel is content to go back to her lovers to find the things she needs. Hosea 2:5 says Israel wants to be let go to follow their little “g” gods. They plan to go after their lovers again. The little “g” gods (aka her lovers) give her bread and water, and clothing and drink.

I love seeing the heart of God even after they are content to just walk away.  We see God knows the heart of His people. He says because you are so bent to having it your way and are so turned from me I will just hedge you in. By doing this He shows another side of my goodness.

 

HIS LOVE CALLS YOU OUT, DISCIPLINES AND STRIPS. 

My pastor used to say when you see a “therefore” in a passage you need to know what it is therefore.  Brilliant!  They have this mindset that they can just return to their spiritual infidelity with the little “g” gods He is going to respond again to bring them back to himself.  Hosea 2:6 tells us God is going to put a wall of thorns up and wall her in. He will block their path. She (they) we will chase after her lovers but can’t find them. 

God is going to hem them in to protect them even in their “adulterous” state.  I will tell you my friend I have seen Him do it as I look in the rear view mirror. 

God will hem you in to protect you.

God will pursue you even in your adulterous state. 

He will continue to try to turn you back

He will box you in as His child.

 

 

God will hem me in to protect me

God will pursue me even in my adulterous state.

He will continue to try to turn me back

He will box me in as His child.

 

 

I can say looking back over my life 

I am so thankful for God hedging me up with thorns.

I am so thankful for walls 

He’s put in my way so I couldn’t find my way back to the world.

 

 

 

You can see this ebb and flow of relationship. She runs He responds.

These scriptures talk about how Israel forgot who gave her grain. Israel forgot who gave her wine and oil. Sounds no different than us does it? We forget that God provides what we have. God decides to strip Israel. God takes away the grain. Hosea 2:9-13 goes into great detail of how God will strip Israel to bring her back to Himself.  He will deprive her of grain. He will uncover them.  He will withhold you where deliverance from His hand is impossible. He will even destroy the vines that could produce.  

Please remember this is because Israel has been a whore with other gods. 

We know discipline gets our attention.

God knows we will respond to discipline. 

 

 

Probably another one of those one liners that really got my attention is in Hosea 2: 13.  The words echo in my ear is“but Me she forgot. 

But me she forgot !!!  How many times have I forgotten Him?

Can you imagine God saying to you….

”you forgot me”?

These are very surreal thoughts to me.  Those are really heavy thoughts to think about that I would forget Him and he would discipline me.The discipline of Gods love in this passage and in my life can seem heavy but oh how I see God show His love all through these chapters.

I see the fact that He knew I would be unfaithful yet He loved and pursued me anyway. He knew Israel would be unfaithful yet He loved her and called her His own anyway.

 

 

I love that He disciplines me to bring me back to Himself. I love that He will even take me through the wilderness so I will be free from distraction to show me His love and that’s where I want to head next.

 

 

Scripture tells us in Hosea 2:12 that once she is stripped and free from distraction, He will minister to her. God will minister to Israel through this heavy judgment. God will minister to you through heavy judgment. God ministers to me during discipline. God also continues to minister after the strictest of judgement.  He binds our wounds. 

The purpose of discipline is to bring us back to Him and we see this played out in Hosea 2:14. How we see the tenderness of God.He knows this is hard but He also knows our bend to do it our own way. He knows our way often leads to spiritual destruction. He knows that the stripping has to come under His mighty hand and their eyes are fully made aware that they have sinned.

God doesn’t play around with sin. 

Then this next part of how God deals with His children is just profound to me. It’s a picture I think we rarely Get a grasp on of how God deals with us. We see a picture of God taking her into the wilderness to speak comfort to her.

 

A LOVE THAT HE NEVER GIVES UP ON ME

I love that Hosea 2:14 starts out and talks about once the stripping of distractions, the lure of wealth and lovers has been taken away He allures her.  She feels like she is in the wilderness and perhaps she is.  We see the wilderness in a whole different light in this passage. Hosea 2:14 tells us He allures her. I love seeing how God “allures” her. He allures His people. He pursues His people. He pursues you even after you’ve run from Him He pursues you.He allures you.He brings you to the wilderness

We often look at a season of God stripping things from us as a bad thing. No often times it’s the only thing that will bring us back to Him.

 

 

I know in my own life there have been seasons where I thought the devil was just hammering me so hard.  When in reality looking back I wonder if God wasn’t allowing me to feel the darkness of the wilderness where He could speak to me and comfort me there and thats exactly what you see in Hosea 2:14.

He will allure us back to Himself. 

He takes us to the wilderness alone.

He provides vineyards in the desert.  

What great lengths God will go to for restoration of His children is mind blowing.

 

 

 

You’ve seen Him set the gauntlet down for what is going to happen early in Hosea 2. Israel is willing to run back to my lovers.Then you see God put walls up so Israel couldn’t run back to them. You see God strip them of everything. Then God takes them to the wilderness alone so He could love and comfort them.

I love the language of 2: 14.  The wilderness doesn’t seem like a great place to us but He speaks comfort there.  He gives her her vineyards there. Another wonderful change that happens in the wilderness is they are not to call Him Master but Husband.

 

 

 

Even after all the spiritual adultery of Israel

Even after all the spiritual adultery of Gomer

Even after all the times you have left Christ and pursued other things, He continues to pursue the relationship with us.

 

 

 

 

Discipline is for relationship sake. If you find yourself going through a season of discipline. Remember discipline is for relationship sake.

We know that these Scriptures speak to the restoration of Israel but they also speak volumes about the character of God and how He deals with His children.  We get a first hand look at how He deals with us. 

Our Story Shifts

Now our story shifts again to once again focus on Hosea and Gomer.  We have seen the restoring hand of God in His relationship with Israel but now we are about to see it in the life of Hosea’s unfaithful wife Gomer. In Chapter 3, we see this picture of Gomer’s whorish activity  brought back up. The first three chapters of Hosea really do flip flop back and forwards. Most of chapter 2 has been about the discipline of Israel. We see how God would draw them back to Himself but we see scripture bring it back around to a practical application of Gomer’s infidelity. I love practical application. I love how God does that.

When you read chapter 1-3, you can’t miss what God is saying. It’s like God is giving this prophecy for Hosea to speak to the people of Israel but He is giving him a real life OJT lesson of what this looks like and what this feels like to the heart of God.

Hosea is walking this infidelity out.  

Hosea 3:1 tells Hosea to go again to the woman who is loved by another lover.  He is speaking of Gomer.  He is to go get her. He even says just like Gomer is committing adultery this is the same thing that is happening with my people. 

  

This scriptures give us the picture that at some point, she has three children but then she leaves and becomes a prostitute or something of that nature. She is no longer with Hosea. We don’t know when that happens but he is given instruction to go “love her” again.

We see no matter the unfaithfulness of the people of God, He is always faithful.  Hosea does go and buy his “wife” back for 15 shekels and 1 1/2 homers of barley.  Most scholars say this would have been the price of a common slave.

 

 

Wow!  He was purchasing his wife that he was “one” with just like Christ purchased us on Calvary. Gosh, the length we see God go to for us to understand the depth of His love.  The picture of His love.  

As you read this story there is no way you can’t at least experience some feeling of how Christ looks at us playing around with other gods.

We can put ourselves in the shoes of Hosea. We can put ourselves in the shoes of Gomer. We can “feel” what that feels like. Perhaps that can put it into perspective just a little at how serious it is to have other gods before Him. Perhaps you get a sense of how it feels to God. Do you see how much He loves you?  Do you see His love on display?

 

 

Things I have learned from Hosea 1-3

 

 

 

 

God is serious about His relationship with me.

God is jealous for me to be only His. 

God will go to great lengths to bring me back to Him.

I can expect discipline when I play with other gods.

 

 

 

If I find myself stripped bare it may not be because the devil is attacking me, it may be because God is disciplining me.

 

 

Gods love knows no bounds and no reach.  

As His child He will never stop pursuing me.