She did not deserve it. Marrying her was scandalous enough, but to bring her back into his home when everyone knew she betrayed him? What kind of man would track down a woman who chose to return to prostitution instead of living comfortably with him, and pay to redeem her?
A man who trusted God.
His name was Hosea. Her name was Gomer. No one would have considered her an appropriate wife for a prophet. It is doubtful Hosea would have considered her.
But she was God’s choice.
As always, God had more in mind than one couple. He had a message His people needed to hear.
We need to hear it, too.
God’s chosen people preferred life apart from Him. They were faithless, but He remained faithful. The kingdom of Israel chose to prostitute itself, and the ugliness of its sin would be exposed. Israel would be humiliated. But God, as a patient, selfless Lover, would woo the nation back, and restore her status as His own.
In the beginning
When God created the world, everything in it was good. But there was nothing else as wonderful man and woman made in His image. We alone can have a relationship with Him. But He will not force us. That’s not the way love works.
If pure relationship cannot be forced, there had to be an alternative.
The first couple could choose to trust their Creator enough to obey His one rule, or not. Adam and Eve lived in the midst of perfection, and it was all theirs to enjoy. All except the fruit of one tree. One. They could eat from every other. And there was no shortage of variety.
God even warned them what would happen if they chose to eat from that one tree. They would die.
They chose death.
How many of us like to fool ourselves that we would have made the right choice, that we would have chosen to live in innocence, and not swallow the lies that God was withholding something good and we could be like Him if we took a bite?
Our lives prove we would have failed, too. We choose our own way over and over again.
Sin is far worse than we admit, or even realize.
It cannot be atoned for apart from the shedding of blood. Life for life.
An innocent animal bled and died in place of Adam and Eve. Its blood covered their sin, as its skin covered their nakedness.
An imperfect sacrifice
Adam and Eve were not made perfect by the first sacrifice.
There were, and are, and always will be consequences for the choice to act outside God’s will, the pride of thinking humans can be gods, and the search for satisfaction outside of God’s provision. Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden they had decided was not enough. They would toil for what they needed to survive. Before they died physically, they would fulfill God’s plan to parent humanity. All of their descendents, each and every one of us, could only be born outside of perfect relationship with Him. Each and every one of us… except One?
Adam and Eve would sin again, as would their children. Another sacrifice would always be required.
Along with the choice that separates humankind from God, and its consequences related in Genesis 3, God revealed He had a plan to redeem us from an endless cycle of sacrifice.
The cost of redemption
Unlike us, Jesus never sinned. His blood was the only blood that could cleanse us completely and forever.
As God promised Eve, Satan may bruise His heel, but He will crush that serpent’s head. Through Him, we are not only redeemed, but also restored to relationship with our Creator.
Although Jesus went to the cross willingly, it was not easy. We cannot imagine the pain He experienced on our behalf. Emotional. Physical. Spiritual. So we would not have to suffer eternally.
Yet even believers take it lightly. We compromise with sin as if Jesus’ suffering was a small thing.
We have no excuse to sell ourselves cheap.
Adam and Eve did not love God as He loved them. Gomer did not love Hosea as Hosea loved her, at least not at first. God goes to great lengths to demonstrate His love to us. He even bought the redemption we could never afford… and do not deserve.
You can read the account of Hosea’s ministry and his marriage to Gomer in the Biblical book of Hosea. If you’re a fan of historical Christian romance novels, check out Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love, inspired by the story of Hosea and Gomer.
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