Summary: Hosea speaks of Gomer’s unfaithfulness as a reflection of the spiritual adultery of the people of God
Unfaithfulness – Fresh Start?
‘Hello’ magazine I believe is a very popular magazine with some women. It is bought primarily for the photographs and not its intellectual content I believe. Usually it is full of photo shoots of the rich and famous and their ‘loving’ relationships with their ‘latest’ love. Some of the tabloid press however are more likely to be full of the end of those relationships. Unfortunately it would appear that we live in a society where every sordid detail of a relationship is now paraded before the public. There appears to be no such thing anymore as privacy or modesty. Turn with me now to Hosea chapter 2 verses 2-13 – this passage reads almost like a tabloid report of the breakdown of Hosea’s marriage to Gomer. It is recorded for us in the form of poetry and it makes it a little difficult to read and understand – but behind the poetry important truths are being laid before the people of Israel. Remember, Hosea’s marriage is a symbol of the relationship between God and His people.
Verses 2-3 God pleads with His people.
Hosea gathers his children around him and in addressing them about their mother God is addressing His people about themselves. It is a desperate picture, one we are almost embarrassed to eavesdrop on. Look at verse 2 – these are difficult words for a father to speak to his children about their mother. You can hear the pain, the frustration and even the anger of Hosea in these words. But please note that he does not speak these words in order to make his children hate their mother but rather in desperation to make their mother come to her senses and to return to him. God speaks these words to His people in order that they too might come to their senses and return to the Covenant relationship with Him. Hosea desperately wants Gomer
back because he loves her despite all of her unfaithfulness and speaking to his children shows that he will go to great lengths to win her back. Demonstrating again for the people of Israel, and us, the lengths that God is willing to go to in order that we might come home to Him. However, I want you to note that the second part of verse 2 deals with reality if Gomer is to return to their marriage. It is not an unconditional return. Hosea’s love, just as God’s love, is unconditional for Gomer but she must leave her adulterous ways in order to return to their marriage bed.
Gomer had to remove the make up (the look of adultery) from her face. These cosmetics were a sign and a symbol to all that she was a prostitute and available to whomever could afford to buy her. Hosea points out that she must remove the make up as a sign that she is giving up that way of life. The second part of the verse also speaks about the removal of the jewellery which again was a sign of her unfaithfulness. In essence there had to be a change of her outward appearance as a sign that she had changed her ways. There was to be a difference in Gomer’s appearance when she came back and this was to signify her repentance of the past ways. Friends, I wonder how many of us fully take on board that coming back to God in Christ must lead to a change in appearance. It means leaving old ways, old habits, old clothes and putting on the new garments of Christ. It means removing the cosmetics of adultery and the jewellery of unfaithfulness. For some of you that will mean leaving certain relationships behind and breaking from patterns of behaviour and places. Just as Gomer could not keep the cosmetics and jewellery of prostitution neither can you keep the cosmetics and jewellery of your past sinful lives. Why? Because they will always be attractive to you and entice you back, as they did Gomer, the people of Israel.
In verse 3 Hosea speaks even harsher words to his wife through the children. A dire warning to Gomer of impending public shame. Gomer was willing to appear naked before her lovers but here Hosea warns her that he will expose her nakedness (her shame) before all if she does not repent of the way of life that she is presently living. Hosea says that she has cheapened herself by her way of life but if needs be he will cheapen her even further. He was willing to do this in order that he might win her back. The result of this action in the life of Gomer, and Israel, would be like living in a desert. Gomer, and Israel, would experience a deep thirst in her life. A thirst that would never be quenched by anything or anyone. Friends, how true is that for many people? Even in here this morning there will be people whose souls feel like a desert wasteland. Hosea warns Gomer, God warns Israel, that such will be her experience if she does not repent of her sin. Be warned the same will be true for us.