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Hosea, the Prophet of a Broken Home

(Hosea 1:1-3; 3:1,2; 6:4-6; 11:1-4)

Lesson 11 -- Fourth Quarter 1992
November 15, 1992

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1992, Christian Light Publications

Salmon married a woman of faith. That is the positive view of her. She had been a pagan and an experienced prostitute. I have long admired Salmon for taking Rahab for his wife. I doubt if he knew she would bear him a forerunner of the Messiah. But I admire Hosea even more.

Hosea married a faithless and unfaithful woman. Gomer not only had been a prostitute, she was a prostitute. No doubt Hosea knew she would be consistently unfaithful to him. But he married her nonetheless. Why?

God had a message for His people. For this particular message, He needed a messenger whose heart ached and yearned as His did. This messenger needed to know from personal experience just how He felt. But there was none. Enter Hosea, likely a single man. God told him to marry a prostitute, knowing that his experiences with her would mold Hosea into the messenger He needed.

Are you this committed to God and His message to the Church? Would you give up your "right" to marry a virgin of good reputation if it meant honing God's message through you? Most of us would jump at the chance to be God's messenger of choice, but most of us lay down preconditions that preclude our being chosen.

Back to Hosea. How could he love a woman such as Gomer! Just as God's love for us is not based on our merits or lovableness, so Hosea's love for Gomer. She had nothing to do with whether he loved her or not. His love was an act of the will. He chose to love her. He determined to love her. Love isn't what you feel, it is what you do. Had Hosea gone by his feelings, he likely never would have loved Gomer. As it was, he was able to love her in spite of, and perhaps because of, her past and her moral uncleanness.

And God was preparing His message in the heart of His messenger.

Perhaps just as Hosea was starting to feel love for Gomer (to "fall in love" with her, if you please), she reverted to her old ways. She went back to the prostitution of the past. Now what did Hosea feel? I do not know that, but I do know what he did. He acted in love. While she was unfaithful, he remained faithful to her and to his love for her. He did all he could to win her back.

And God sharpened His message in the heart of His messenger.

Do you see how Hosea had to hurt so that he could effectively feel God's hurt? And once he did, what a messenger to Israel he made for God! It really cost him personally, but although God's messengers ought to count the cost, they should not be deterred by it. Hosea wasn't. So we can safely say his love for Gomer was an indicator of his love for God.

Does this lesson have any practical insights to dealing with unfaithfulness today? I have no doubts that it does. Here are four, in summary, for your consideration:

  • Continue to love the unfaithful spouse.
  • Accept the unfaithful spouse if he/she returns.
  • Do what is possible to try to win back the spouse.
  • Be open to God's purposes through it all.
  • Perhaps you have not chosen a prospective spouse yet. If this lesson does nothing else, let it accomplish two things. First, subject your will to the purposes and selection of the message Giver. Second, learn to love--beware of falling in love.

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