A Great Love Story: Hosea & Gomer

K   |   June 18, 2019 

I love a good romance. There is something about watching as two people take those first steps to open their hearts to each other. I am particularly fond of stories (either real or fictional) where the hero and heroine don't fit the Holly & Bollywood ideals, and yet they still find each other.

All my reading has led me to realise that a good love story needs three things: A hero and heroine, a challenge to overcome and a love that is willing to sacrifice to achieve what is best for the beloved.

My favourite love story is the unique story of Hosea and Gomer found in the first three chapters of the Old Testament book of Hosea.

The Hero and Heroine
Our hero Hosea is a prophet; his job is to pass on messages from God to God's chosen people, Israel. At the time of this story, the people of Israel aren't listening very well, so God decides to use Hosea and Gomer as a type of play. This play isn't on a stage but will be acted out in real life and will reflect the drama of what was happening between God and Israel. Hosea would represent God and Gomer the Israelites. Hosea is a great Hero; he loves God and is obedient. He is even obedient when God tells him to go and marry a woman who will break his heart by her unfaithfulness.

Gomer, on the other hand, is not a sympathetic heroine. When I read a romance, I want to like a heroine and to feel she deserves the hero. But right from the beginning of this story Gomer is the anti-heroine, she is going to break the hero's heart. And it seems that it doesn't take long for that to happen, they marry and start their family and while their first child belongs to Hosea, it is clear that other men have fathered child two and child three and it is not long before Gomer has left Hosea's home. At this point, you might be thinking,  how is this a love story, let alone a great one? Well hold on - it gets better.

The Challenge
Hosea and Gomer's challenge begins with Gomer's sin; she lusts after what other men can give her, sex, attention, jewelry, clothes. She longs for what they say they will provide for her; things she believes she is not getting at home with Hosea. But what she doesn't know is that even when she is living and sleeping with other men, her faithful husband is the one who is providing the food and even the gold that she lusts after.

Gomer's desires lead her to be passed from man to man until one day; she is tossed away and ends up naked and helpless on sale in the slave market. What Gomer had thought was love was nothing more than misuse and abuse. Now she has nothing left, not even hope.

A Great Love
Hosea is at home with the children when he hears that his wife is for sale at the slave market. A slave costs 30 shekels of silver, but Hosea (who in full-time ministry doesn't make a lot of money) doesn't have that much. However, he gathers what he does have, 15 shekels of silver and some barley and rushes to the market, hoping it is enough.

The auction has already begun when he arrives, and he hears the bids, "ten shekels", "fifteen shekels". Looking around at the other bidders and at his wife he looks at what he has and prays it will be enough, "Fifteen shekels and a homer and half of barley" Hosea yells out and then he holds his breath and waits to see if there will be another bid. He has bid all he has there is no more. After what seems like an eternity he hears the auctioneer call "Sold", and his heart begins to beat again.

Now, most love stories end here, the hero has got the heroine, and they walk off and live happily ever after. But Hosea and Gomer's story goes a step further. The final scene happens I imagine on the walk home. It must have felt so awkward, Hosea has his wife back, but she is deeply wounded by the consequences of her sin and the sin of the men she had chased after. I can hear him thinking, "What do I do now? How do I help her to heal and accept my love? Will she ever really love me?"

Hosea continues to be the hero that we have seen so far in the story; he calls her not just to a marriage of faithfulness, but he invites her to not rush into the physical intimacy of marriage. There is incredible wisdom in Hosea calling his wife to wait. For years Gomer has made sex and men her idols, and it would have been so easy for her to believe that Hosea only wanted her body. This time of waiting would give them both a chance to build a marriage built on love.

This is where the story ends, like all good love stories with Hosea and Gomer's lives together beginning (again).

As much as I love Hosea and Gomer's love story, the thing that is most amazing to me is that God tells this story so that I will know that He loves me. He tells this story so that I will see that He is jealous for my love and that He longs for me to love him faithfully as He loves me. Hosea and Gomer's story reminds me that I too chased after idols and was a slave on the block sold to do the bidding of those idols. I was a slave until Jesus paid everything he had to redeem me and restore my relationship with Him.

Hosea and Gomer's story has changed the way I read romance novels. Every story of love sought and found now reminds me that I too have a great love story, one that will never end.

 

 

Photo by Mike Kenneally on Unsplash

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K

K is an Aussie transplant who has lived in North India for the last two decades. Her biggest buzz comes from being able to help others to learn and to enjoy a deeper relationship with Jesus. K can frequently be found in one of the cafes in her adopted home city drinking hot chocolate since real decaf coffee has yet to make its way to India.

One comment on “A Great Love Story: Hosea & Gomer”

  1. The story is well said in today's language. However, the moral of the story is not limited in Gomar's character, but need to learn a lot from the hero Hosea. Jesus has redeemed the sinners and made one like him. He as Hosea loves the sinners unconditionally. Now Jesus wants the redeemed sinners to learn from Hosea and love their follow sinners unconditionally. The only way to help the sinner to be redeemed by unconditional love. Most of the church or the believers of Christ lack it. Let the church follow Jesus Christ and a fellow church leader and not to be judgmental but love fellow being unconditional.

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