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Why did God command Hosea to marry Gomer?
Thank you for your interesting question about the prophet Hosea and his marriage to Gomer.
The story of Hosea and Gomer is an unusual one and a story that we may find strange and uncomfortable.
Hosea is commanded by God to marry a prostitute called Gomer and have children with her. The children's name are strange by any standard, having names like Jezreel (a sign of upcoming punishment), No Mercy and Not My People. These names are given as a prophecy of what God would do with His people. Every time their name is mentioned, it would be a declaration and reminder of God's plan and purpose.
However, Gomer is unfaithful to Hosea. She goes back to her former ways, abandoning Hosea, and Hosea has to pay to get her back! God then gives a lengthy prophecy against the sins of Israel.
At first glance, this seems like an odd story, and we may even question why this is in the Bible! However, the characters in this story are representative of God, Israel and the people.
The people of Israel have known God throughout the generations. They had seen his power through his delivery of them in Egypt. They had known his power through the battles against stronger and larger armies. God had always been known to His people.
However, the people of Israel, just like Gomer in Hosea, return to their former ways. Time and time again in the Bible we see the people worshipping false gods and giving sacrifices to Baal. It is through these times that we see the people of Israel suffer; the hand of protection is removed and allows other nations that take over Israel and as a result the people suffer.
In all these times of sin, God still loves His people and each time they return to Him, crying out for forgiveness, He hears them, forgives them and redeems them. It may not be long before they sin and turn away from God, but each time they ask for forgiveness, God redeems them. In fact, God declares:
How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
9I will not execute my burning anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a man,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath. (Hosea 11:8-9)
Hosea is a type (foreshadow) of Christ. Hosea bought Gomer from the slave market. Jesus Christ, through His death and resurrection on the cross, has bought us from the slave market of sin, redeeming us into His family.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:20-23).
This story is for us today. God declared "I will say to Not My People, 'You are my people'; and he shall say, 'You are my God'" (Hosea 2:23). Jesus died not just for the people of Israel, but for the whole world, including you and me. Where as once we were not God's people, now we can be; just as God was not our God, now He can be. Let us make sure that we are not like Gomer, going back to our former sins, but let us follow Christ each and every day.
So this story is not random, it is showing us what we are like, and what Christ has done for us. If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, then I urge you to cry out to Him today. Just as God forgave the people of Israel for their sin, and Gomer was bought back from slavery by Hosea, we have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus shed for us on the cross and He can forgive you today, if you ask for it.
I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video
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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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