Summary: A sermon on the rocky love story of Hosea and Gomer (Modern day setting of the story provided by Allan R. Gunther in the book, Believers Church Bible Commentary: Hosea, Amos, pgs. 83-84)
As I read and studied this passage of Scripture, I felt like it needed to be put in a modern day setting so that we can relate to these characters. From the text, too many questions, too many things left out, and too much OT history and symbolism.
Don’t want to deal with most of that that so first lets hear this from a modern day perspective: Tami grew up in an urban middle class family. Her memories of early childhood were filled with sadness and tears. Her mother and alcoholic father fought long and often. As the oldest child, Tami came to feel that she was somehow the cause of the bickering and the anger which exploded into yelling, cursing, name calling, pushing, and the occasional beating. When her father came home drunk on his weekend binges, she cringed with fear, wanting to protect her mother and knowing at the same time that she would become the object of his anger as well.
Most such weekends, her father would find a time alone with Tami, since her mother worked weekends. “You can make up for being bad- and for your mother,” he would say as he did unspeakable things to her. After he was satisfied, he would often say, “If you tell your mother, you’ll break up our family. She won’t understand.”
Tami’s mother found out about the secret when Tami was twelve. She sued for divorce and obtained custody of the children. Her mother assured her, “What your father did to you was terribly wrong.” Yet Tami could not rid herself of the feeling that she was responsible for the divorce and the hardships that followed.
They moved into an apartment in another part of the city. That meant changing schools and making new friends. Tami was desperate for friendship and affection and felt lonely. She thought, “I don’t know anyone here. Nobody loves me. I’m not worth anything.” She found it harder to concentrate on schoolwork. Her grades dropped.
Tami began hanging around with a group of fringe students. They accepted her. When her dates began asking for favors after an evening out, she complied, hoping to find the acceptance she was looking for. But instead of feeling loved, she felt used. They just reminded her of her father. “Men are all the same!” she thought.
Except for Steve. He was a good student and helped her with her homework, saving her from public embarrassment. Through him, Tami got to know another group of students- clean living, drug free, many of them members of a Christian group. Tami struggled with loyalty to her friends, who seemed to represent two different worlds. In her junior year, Tami became a Christian. It was difficult to leave her partying friends, but she was committed to a new way.
After high school, Steve and Tami attended the same Christian college and were married soon after graduation. They had received counseling which addressed Tami’s dysfunctional family relationships and her personal abuse by her father and many dates. Steve and Tami were determined to have a Christian marriage and family. They identified with a local church, nurtured their spiritual life together, and were blessed by the arrival of a son.
Tami, however, developed a severe case of postpartum depression. She was again overcome by feelings of worthlessness. She refused the help offered by friends and counselors. Steve and Tami agreed not to have any more children until she recovered emotionally. One night Steve and Tami got carried away physically and they conceived another child. They talked about what they were going to do. They were against abortion so that was ruled out. When the daughter was born, Steve found it hard not to think of her as an “Accident.” He thought it was funny that they had only been together once in several months and a baby came from that.
After the daughter, Tami’s depression deepened, and she began a pattern of unfaithfulness. Steve was as understanding as he knew how to be, but he could no longer get through to Tami. Their third child, a son, was not fathered by Steve. As much as Steve tried to rid himself of the thought, the more persistent it became: “This child is not mine!”
Tami, distraught, left Steve and children. She moved in with an old high school friend for a while, prompting Steve to file for divorce and the custody of children. Both were granted.
Years went by. Steve remained single; Tami remarried, divorced, and then lived with another man- an abuser- until she developed hepatitis. Steve heard that Tami had been admitted to the local hospital and went to visit her. The illness seemed to have had a powerful impact on Tami, restoring her to her Christian commitments. The medical and hospital bills mounted, and she felt that there was no way she could ever pay them. But when Steve came to visit, he paid her bill in full. He offered to cover her counseling costs if she would return to a Christian counselor who had helped them before. It was years before she was ready to accept a new offer of marriage from Steve, a marriage they did not consummate until she was able to reach down to the roots of her alienation and depression.