The Preacher and the Prostitute
“The Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel” – Hosea 3:1
One of the most powerful personal testimonies in the entire bible is the personal testimony of the prophet Hosea. Hosea was a prophet of God who married a harlot named Gomer. Hosea was a righteous man, but yet God told him to marry a sinful and ungodly prostitute. I suppose that if that happened today it would be all over local and national news. Their lead story would be called “Preacher Marries Street Walker” Their story may even make The Dr. Phil Show! It’s so hard to even fathom, but it happened. God told Hosea to do it, and he was obedient. And Hosea did so and loved her and treated her with the utmost dignity and respect. It was a level of respect Gomer had never experienced before in her life. But after a while she started taking Hosea’s love for granted and grew dissatisfied. She started thinking about her old life again. It was at this point that the prophet Hosea then begins a journey through one of the most trying times in his life. His wife has cheated on him and left him. To make things even worse, she had run out on him and started not just shacking up with one man, but she was literally pursuing the life of a prostitute. And after all her bad behavior, how did Hosea respond to Gomer’s infidelity? He pleaded with her. Even after all she had done, he did not give up on her. He still clung to the hope that one day she would come home and come to her senses. One day God told Hosea to go into the city and go find his wife. So he did. Where was she? She was up on the slave trading block. God told Hosea, that even though she belonged to him, he was to buy her back, and bring her back home. He was to pay the price for her. You know, Hosea was an amazing husband considering after all that she did to him and her unfaithfulness to him. He forgave her for what she had done. He loved her more than he had before it ever had happened.
But Hosea’s personal testimony about his marriage tells two stories. Certainly it is a literal story between husband and wife, but is also symbolizes God’s relationship with his people. Israel had been very unfaithful to God. They had been involved two types of adultery. They had committed spiritual adultery against God. How did they do this? They were involved with pagan Idol worship. But their spiritual adultery led to “real” sexual adultery. Israel was guilty of worshiping the false god Baal, the Canaanite rain god. This pagan worship towards Baal taught that human sexuality was tied to agricultural fertility. To encourage good crops they would do sexual immoral acts. That’s why God chose Hosea to be the author of the book that bears his name. Only a man that had been cheated on could properly tell the story of how Israel cheated on God. Gomer’s behavior towards her husband Hosea certainly pictures Israel’s behavior toward God. God tells Hosea to share his painful story and compare it to Israel’s unfaithfulness to God.
How many times have you and I treated God similar to how Gomer treated Hosea? Do you want to know how God feels when we run out on Him and we shack up with the world? Hosea 2:13 describes how God feels. Listen to what God says about Gomer. “She adorns herself with her earrings and jewelry, and she follows her lovers, because she has forgotten Me.” Forgotten; that is how God feels. But just like Hosea was a great husband, Our God is great. Like Hosea, He still loves you. He never gives up on you, and still wants to restore you. He paid the price for you. Now that is love!
– Pastor Eric