This is a story about Gomer, the wife of Hosea. Gomer? Should you write about a woman of such ill repute? Well, there is a story in the story…
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness o Lord, great is Thy faithfulness.
This song came to mind while I was pondering over Hosea and Gomer… it is a true song: God’s steadfast love never ceases and yet when you read in the book of the prophet Hosea it seems as though God is totally fed up with His people. It seems as though His love is exhausted and His mercies are very close to coming to an end.
The life of Gomer
In this blog, I want to share about the life of Gomer. Little is known about her. God says to the prophet Hosea to go and marry Gomer, daughter of Diblaim. The Bible calls her a harlot, a woman of ill repute. Her name Gomer comes from the Hebrew root ‘gamar’ which means: to come to an end or failure. And I ask myself: ‘who gives his daughter such a name?’ I don’t want to put more into the story than what is really there, but to have a name with that meaning… failure… well, that will not do much good to anyone.
A difficult task
God commands his servant Hosea to go and marry Gomer and have children with her. What a difficult thing to do. What would the people around him think of this, his friends and family? We don’t know, but Hosea is obedient to God. Three children are born to him and the names of each child is a reference to God’s warnings and intended judgment. And each time Gomer is unfaithful and wanders off. And Hosea goes after her and takes her back, restoring her place of dignity. But she refuses to surrender. She loves her lovers and again she leaves Hosea. What a silly woman we would say. Gomer, worthy of her name ‘failure.’
But Hosea does not give up. Although she goes again to live with another man and leave her children behind, Hosea goes after her and even pays money to this man to have his wife back. What an example of unconditional love. And God is not finished with His people either. Chapter 2 of the book of Hosea is heartbreaking, deep love, still unanswered, a deep longing for restoration.
…a heart-wrenching attempt to bring her to that place of surrender so He can restore her.
How hard it must have been for Hosea to not only be a prophet but to live out the prophecy itself in his own life. A true example of how God is steadfast in His love, determined in His desire to take His unfaithful wife, His people back to Him, Although she continues to chase after her lovers, He still wants to allure her into the desert. When you thoroughly read Chapter 2 you can see that even the judgments that the Lord is about to pour out over His people are a heart-wrenching attempt to bring her to that place of surrender so He can restore her.
“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt .“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; no longer will their names be invoked.
An open ending
And Gomer? What was her problem? Why did she not answer the love of Hosea, her deliverer? We love to hear stories with a happy end. Did Gomer in the end surrender to the love of her Hosea? The story doesn’t tell.
But, let’s be honest… we know by reading the story of Hosea and Gomer that this is also about us. Our Lord is also speaking through this book to us. The wisest thing to do in life is surrender to His steadfast love. He longs for you and me to come to Him to acknowledge Him as Lord and say to Him: ‘Lord, we have been foolish to wander off. We surrender to Your will.’ We are no failures… yes, we have failed, but that is not our identity and it does not have to stay that way. When we come to Him and give Him our love and devotion and call Him ‘our Husband’… He will restore us completely because the love of the Lord never ceases and His mercies never end.