Permanence Within Marriage (Hosea 1:2-2:5, Matthew 19:3-9)

Permanence Within Marriage (Hosea 1:2-2:5, Matthew 19:3-9)

Hosea and Gomer’s background

Hosea is a poor prophet who God commands to marry Gomer, a woman with a very questionable reputation (to put it mildly.) Early on in their marriage it becomes apparent that Gomer is probably being unfaithful to Hosea and her last two children may not be his. She then leaves Hosea to sell herself into sex slavery. Instead of a happy life with a godly man, she chose slavery and prostitution, abandoning her children for Hosea to raise. Because of this Hosea calls off their marriage.

God’s strange command

In almost everyone’s eyes, Hosea was right and justified in what he did; however, God commands him to go get his wife back. The problem is that Gomer is now a sex slave and Hosea does not have the money buy her out of her slavery. He literally has to take food off the table to get Gomer back. It is at enormous cost that he restores his marriage with a most ungrateful and depraved woman. God, though, in His grace restores Gomer, and it would appear that she left behind her sinful ways.

Jesus’ teachings on marriage

Jesus is questioned about His view on divorce. Jesus replies that no human being, husband, or wife should dissolve the marriage union created by God. When asked why Moses commanded divorce, Jesus responds that Moses allowed divorce for one reason, hardness of heart. God allowed for people to get divorced because they had hard hearts that held no room for repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, grace, or compassion.

You are Gomer

Jesus teachings on marriage and the story of Hosea raise in most people the wrong question, “Am I supposed to forgive my sinful spouse for everything?” In the story though you are Gomer. The story of Hosea is not about you forgiving your sinful spouse; it is about God’s covenant love with His people. In Hosea 2 it is difficult to tell where Hosea stops speaking and God starts. God does not cast aside His sinful people. Even though God does separate from and divorce Israel it is only so that He may restore her to Himself. You are not Hosea. You are Gomer. You are the sinner that God has pursued, loved, and offers forgiveness and restoration to.

Don’t harden your heart

In light of this do not harden your heart. You must forgive as you have been forgiven. You must love as you have been loved. You must remain faithful to your covenant because God has remained faithful to His. God will not leave us or forsake us; therefore we should not leave or forsake our spouse. This goes well beyond marriage. We must remember God’s patience, grace, and compassion towards us and extend it towards others. As John says, “If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” (1 John 4:11)

Application

Will you love as you have been loved? Do you know the love of God for you?

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