- Religion and Philosophy
Hosea's Wife Gomer—A Difficult Lesson in Unfaithfulness—Part Two—Gomer's "Needs"—A Personal Testimony
Hosea the Prophet - A Living Parable Of God's Faithful Love to the Unfaithful
Part One dealt primarily with an introduction of what and where this message was born from in terms of my personal experience, as well as encourages us to receive the sometimes hard lessons that the continuation of this series may present. It also presented the recommendation to take a risk and expose ourselves to God, ugly and all, without excuse, that He might heal us, with the understanding that forgiveness in Christ makes it a safe place to do so. The main thrust of Part One is that if we won't humble ourselves God cannot lift us up nor move us forward.
I attended an Alanon group just prior to my prodigal return, as I was looking for answers for the messed up state of my life, and found some useful lessons there. One of them that is in concert with this same theme, was that we need to take responsibility for our life whether we did bad or someone else did bad to us. We alone are responsible to decide what we will do with it all. There is no need to remain a victim or sinner in Christ's kingdom. His blood covers and heals it all!
we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
— Romans 8:37
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ
— I Corinthians 15:57
Part Two will introduce the characters of the Book of Hosea as well as study the events that will give us a mirror to examine ourselves with, in terms of our relationship with God Himself. Adultery as far as God is concerned doesn't just include cheating on your spouse. Spiritual adultery can take many forms as we will take a look at later.
Although there is much in this book of the Bible that is historic as well as prophetic, my main focus will concentrate on the application. The application leads to the title given it by "The World's Bible Handbook" of "The Backsliders Book" How appropriate considering my story
Hosea and Israel
Hosea was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of God's covenant people. The Southern Kingdom was Judah, with whom He eventually took issue with as well. This book, however, is mainly dealing with Israel and its stubborn insistence on looking to all things but God to satisfy, help, and save them.
The narrative of Hosea is presented with the understanding that God in covenant with His people, is likened to, and imaged by a human marriage covenant that depended on faithfulness to one another.
Our culture leaves us very little to imagine in terms of an example in order to properly understand the gravity of a covenant relationship. I would liken our modern understanding to be more in keeping with a contract, as in something negotiable and possibly breakable. The ancient idea of covenant was quite different and much more weighty. It was a life and death arrangement. Ask Adam and Eve if breaking a covenant was any light matter. This is why blood was always necessary for the joining of two parties in a covenant. It was a visual of requirement as well as consequence.
The northern kingdom at this period of time was what Chuck Missler quoted as "It was the best of times, It was the worst of times" Although they were at the height of prosperity, they were at the same time declining morally in forsaking God and worshiping the gods of the cultures that surrounded them, Baal most specifically.
Entertainment a Conduit of Darkness
A fascinating historical fact that Baalbek (temple ruins of Baal worship in Lebanon) includes an entertainment theater that once served as an integral part of its practice and service. According to Ministry International Journal for Pastors, The culture of Baal worship seemed to center around what seems like the common place activities of dinner, and a movie then out for some drinks.
"Whoredom, and wine, and new wine take away the heart"
— Hosea 4:11
In the western world we have come to view these things as harmless and normal, to which I can testify for me, was all part of the seduction process of moving me away from God and into the endorsement and encouragement of the compromising ideas I had already been flirting with in my private thought life, which at the time, I considered harmless as well.
"True worship has no room, that is, it cannot by its very nature make room for compromise with something as foreign to the essence of God's kingdom as is so much at the heart of contemporary entertainment. Christian worship cannot make these accommodations and maintain the life and nature given it by God."
—Kai Arasola, “Entertainment as Worship: Old Testament Trends,” Ministry (August 2003), 22-24, 31
Can I say on this note, that It truly does matter what we watch, listen to, drink, and entertain ourselves with? Although they were not the cause of my poor decisions they certainly supported them.
So what was the big deal? Baal worship included drunkenness, bestiality, mutilations, incest and also included child sacrifice.
I can lend a personal application to this. One of the more horrifying aspects of facing the realities of my choices during those backslidden years was the fire that I caused my children pass through in terms of their experience.
they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger
— II Kings 17:17
When we sell ourselves to evil, our children will get burned.
The first chapter begins with Hosea's name which means Salvation. The Greek name "Jesus" is the equivalent of "Joshua" which is a form of the name "Hoshea", all stemming from a root meaning to save and deliver. I find it so gracious of God to invite us to a confrontation with the understanding that it is He who will save us from whatever fault or folly that He may make us take a good hard look at. We can sincerely trust the One who sacrificed His one and only Son to make it possible! May we not miss that opportunity.
"Give me a father that is angry with my sins, and that seeks to bring me back, even though it be by chastisement. Thank God you have got a father that can be angry, but that loves you as much when he is angry as when he smiles upon you"
— Charles Spurgeon
Hosea was known as the brokenhearted prophet, for obvious reasons, considering he marries a wife who is unfaithful. The stranger element to this story is that he is instructed by God to do so, that God's people might see His own broken-heartedness concerning their unfaithfulness to Him.
On a more personal note. I recall a moment in my repentance phase of return when I laid in my bed weeping over the hurt that I had caused the ones I claimed to love the most and was recounting to God my sorriness over all of it.
‘You have chastised me, and I was chastised, Like an untrained bull; Restore me, and I will return, For You are the Lord my God. Surely, after my turning, I repented; And after I was instructed, I struck myself on the thigh; I was ashamed, yes, even humiliated, Because I bore the reproach of my youth.’
— Jeremiah 31:18-19
I distinctly heard a voice in my heart say. "That is nothing compared to what you have done to me" I certainly believe God took account of the pain I had caused others and that mattered much to Him but it was my first realization that our crimes against others are really crimes against Him. He takes it all very personally.
he who touches you touches the apple of His eye
— Zechariah 2:8
He also revealed to me that, just as was with the unforgiving servant, as noted in Part One, our crimes against Him are of much more weight than our crimes against each other.
I can honestly say this was a bittersweet experience. It really was not condemnation I felt but true godly sorrow. I felt very convicted yet very loved in that moment.
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite (crushed and destroyed) spirit.
— Psalm 34:18
I also felt relieved that I had finally looked at the mess and quit hiding behind all my worthless fig leaves that, I am sure, just exposed my shame even more to all who were watching.
Hosea was the Son of Beeri which means "Well". A well is where one goes to obtain much necessary water from a source that is hidden.
Isaiah whose name is also rooted in the word for salvation sums this up well what coming to the wells of salvation in Christ will do for us, should we reply to His gracious invitation. to...
Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
— Isaiah 55
And in that day you will say:
“O Lord, I will praise You;
Though You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.
Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.
Therefore with joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation
— Isaiah 12:3
God's complaint against His people is that they seek ulterior sources and leave Him to do it.
My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water
— Jeremiah 2:13
"Go Take Unto You a Wife of Whoredoms"
Hosea is told to take a wife whom he knows to be unfaithful. What is amazing is that Hosea is willing to do this, and not only is he asked to marry a woman who will have other lovers but she will have children of harlotry. Can you imagine the scandal of it to all who were watching? They must have wondered why he would do such a thing? Yet It was this very impact God wanted to make, in that, this is what they were doing to Him and Hosea was imaging for God His incredible mercy, and indescribable love that continues to pursue us to the ends of the earth.
God knew the ugly, sinful, unfaithful, unworthy creatures we are, who are willing to seek after and sacrifice to anything but Him and still sent His one and only son to die for us and Christ willingly did it.
God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us
— Romans 5:8
So Hosea took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim for a wife. Gomer's name means "complete", "bring to its end", or "accomplish".
Her name could be prophetic in the sense that God would bring His relationship with adulterous Israel to an end as in He would tolerate no more. Hosea's relationship with Gomer would image for them God's perfect right to do so.
Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband,
So have you dealt treacherously with Me,
O house of Israel,” says the Lord
— Jeremiah 20:3
Gomer produced three children, two of which are of questionable paternity. They are each named with a specific name that expresses the results of pushing God right over the edge in terms of toleration. Their names were "God will scatter"(Jezreel), "No more pity"(Lo-Ruhamah), and "No longer my people" (Lo-Ammi) The names of these children are meant to express the gut wrenching hurt and disappointment with the consequence that has occurred between God and the people whom He loves. Keep in mind that the Old Testament consequence of adultery was stoning. God was within His perfect right to completely do away with them.
For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still
— Isaiah 9:17
God's message through these children was also intended to make a last ditch effort at appeal for Israels return to Him and even commands them in chapter two to contend with their mother. It was this very thing that God used to awaken me from my rebellious slumber. I began to see how the way I was living was affecting my children and how distracted and unavailable I was to them in being so wrapped up in the dramas of my own making as well as subjecting them to all the chaos and stress that came along with that.
What we need to see that God's covenant is a covering and not a restraint. When we set foot outside of our relationship with God we become subject and targets of the evil and darkness that seek to destroy us. Through our own ridiculous decisions we give an invitation to the forces of darkness we flirt with that inevitably wreak havoc in our home and families.
The Root Problem
In another article "Seven Enemies of the Flesh" It is noted that there are three main root issues when it comes to sin and they are pride, selfishness, and unbelief. God shows us all three in his recitation of the thoughts of Gomer's heart.
she said, ‘I will (Pride) go after my lovers (unbelief - didn't seek God),
Who give (selfishness)me my bread and my water,
My wool and my linen,
My oil and my drink.’
— Hosea 2:5
Further examination of this is in the key phrase "I will". This statement is reminiscent of the "I wills" used several times by Lucifer himself and are indicators of pride.
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
— Isaiah 14
When our will exalts itself over God's will, we can be sure that we are headed for certain disaster as this portion in Isaiah continues...
Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit
— Isaiah 14:15
I recall when my rebellion began, much like Gomer, I determined that I was not necessarily thrilled with what I had in terms of life and marriage. I, therefore, entitled myself to look elsewhere. I reasoned as every adulterous person does that I deserved better. It didn't begin with a blatant decision. It was a behind the scenes operation that began in thought long before it ever manifested in behavior.
You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth
— Deuteronomy 5:8
I had many intricately carved images in my mind constructed of elaborate carefully fashioned fantasies of how I could be saved, rescued, and delivered from what I "considered" miserable and impossible at the time. I don't recall God being an element in any one of them...not even a fleeting thought.
The wicked (twisted thinking) in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts
— Psalm 10:4
A few interesting word study notes can lend to us a deeper revelation of how this works in reference to this verse, beginning with the English word used for wicked. Wicked is an Old English word that's root has to do with a candle wick in the sense of being twisted. Pride, another word we will look at in a bit, lies at the root of our twisted thinking.
The heart is deceitful (crooked, and twisted) above all things, And desperately sick
— Jeremiah 17:9
The Hebrew word pictograph for the word "wicked" "rashah" רָשָׁ֗ע used in Psalm 10:4 confirms and elaborates.
The first letter of the Hebrew word wicked is a "resh". It is a picture of a head and has to do with priority and exaltation meaning to place something or someone in the highest place.
The second letter of this word is a "sheen" that is imaged by teeth and is connected to the concept of consuming. It can also include the idea of insatiability. A good picture that also communicates this idea is a Hebrew word that begins with "sheen", that being fire.
fire never says, “Enough!
— Proverbs 30:16
The final letter is an "ayin" and its pictograph is an eye. The eye is strongly associated with desires as was the case in the garden narrative, and also has to do with focus.
when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable...
— Genesis 3:6
If we combine the pictures into one concept it might lead to a definition such as this. "rashah" (wicked) is when we exalt our insatiable desires to the highest place and they have become the focus of our lives. Recall Gomer's motive...
I will go after my lovers, Who give me...
— Hosea 2:5
This revelation exposes the real problem was with me. It wasn't my less than perfect marriage, it was that pleasing myself was more important to me than pleasing God and if I am really honest I can say that this was the basis for being in the relationship from the beginning. I was not in it because I sought God's purpose, counsel, wisdom, or wishes in anything. "I went after my lovers who would give me..."
Spurgeon pointedly observed
how many times the word “my” is found in the text. “Give me my bread and my water, and my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.” Why, they were not hers but God’s
The other word that I think is significant to look at is the Hebrew word for pride in Psalm 10:4 about the pride of God not being in our thoughts is "gavah" which is in concert with our word pictograph above and means to raise on a platform carrying with it also the idea of height and arrogance.
Perception of Needs
Borrowing some insights from another previous series "The King's Daughter", it is made note of the legitimacy of our need. In fact, when a person's body is lacking something that it needs and it is not satisfied with the right nutrient it will begin to crave non-nutritive substances. This is called pica. If we do not go to God our only true source of sustenance. We will insatiably crave things that cannot and will never satisfy us and will ultimately damage us.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy?
— Isaiah 55:2
And Hosea points out once again what the heart of the problem of their dissatisfaction is.
"They shall eat, and not have enough, they shall commit whoredom and shall not increase; because they have left off to take heed from the Lord"
— Hosea 4:10
The things Gomer sought after in Hosea 2:5 reveal what she thinks she needs and are listed as Bread and water representing the satisfaction of her physical appetites, wool and flax are her clothes, representing being covered or taken care of in a very physical sense, her oil symbol of fullness, fulfillment, and fatness and her drink, possibly indicating a desire for a new kind of refreshment or excitement considering that water was already listed.
God explains in Hosea 2:8 (Expanded Bible) that it is because Israel/Gomer did not acknowledge God who provided her with what she really needed and He gives us a bit of a different list in terms of provision, beginning with grain which covers her physical needs, new wine for her soul (mind will and emotional) needs, and oil symbolizing the fulfillment of the His Spirit dwelling in us, which satisfies her spiritual needs. He also adorns her with silver and gold, representing redemption and godliness that reveals the purpose for which she is redeemed, that being the glory of God. True satisfaction can only be realized in living in the purposes of God.
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me
— John 4:34
The point God is trying to make, by showing us the different lists, is that Israel/Gomer is so distracted and consumed by what she thinks she needs, and concerns only her "this life -immediate" needs that she doesn't care where she gets them from nor is she willing, at this point, to consider what it is she really needs.
In this explanation, God also accuses Israel/Gomer of using what He has given her to spend upon her lovers. Chapter 16 in the book of Ezekiel elaborates on this further in this accusation against Jerusalem as it was God's accusation against me and His final question at the end is convicting
you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it. You took some of your garments and adorned multicolored high places for yourself, and played the harlot on them. Such things should not happen, nor be. You have also taken your beautiful jewelry from My gold and My silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself male images and played the harlot with them. You took your embroidered garments and covered them, and you set My oil and My incense before them. Also My food which I gave you—the pastry of fine flour, oil, and honey which I fed you—you set it before them as sweet incense; and so it was,” says the Lord God. “Moreover you took your sons and your daughters, whom you bore to Me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured.Were your acts of harlotry a small matter?
— Ezekiel 16:15-20
Oh, what a shame of the time energy and expense I wasted in those awful years adorning myself to be possibly noticed by whoever would pass by flirting with what I now know were behind the scenes demons (more on this in Part Three), and as the Lord further pointed out to me this reality.
You have been worse than a prostitute, so eager for sin that you have not even charged for your love!... you made your payments to all your lovers, and hired them to come to you from all around for your harlotry
— Ezekiel 16:31,33 (Living Translation and NKJV)
This is not the end of the story by any means and I hate to end this part on this note as it is an ugly one, as is my story. Although God has had enough of Israel as imaged through Gomer, and lets her go for a time, He is not through with her yet. Part 3 the saga continues with how God began to break up my fallow ground.
© 2015 Tamarajo