Gomer (or, The Ultimate Object Lesson)

Right now at Eastridge we’re reading the book of Hosea, one of the most interesting stories in the Old Testament. Basically, the story goes like this: God asked His prophet, Hosea, to become the ultimate object lesson. He told Hosea to marry Gomer, a prostitute, remain faithful to her, and raise a family with her. The idea behind this clearly difficult life for Hosea is that he was to represent the faithful God, while Gomer stood in for the unfaithful people of Israel. In spite of Gomer’s straying, Hosea remained faithful, and Hosea brought the Lord’s words to Israel.

I can think of two songs that stem from this book of the Bible. Third Day wrote a song on their excellent Conspiracy No 5 album way back in 1997 called “Gomer’s Song,” and I think it tells the story pretty well. Some of the lines include:

Lavished on silver, gold
Anything she needed
Wasted thoughts, broken hearts
Love was not acknowledged
He deserves the very best
But he loves her nonetheless

Another great song from this story is Brooke Fraser’s “Hosea’s Wife” from her Albertine album (which was released in 2008 here in the US). This song hits home…here’s a sample of the lyrics:

I see the scars of searches everywhere I go
From hearts to wars to literature to radio
There’s a question like a shame no one show
“What do I live for?”

We are Hosea’s wife
We are squandering this life
Using people like ladders and words like knives

Doesn’t that sound like us? Doesn’t the story of Hosea hit home? We mess around with selfishness and our desire to have our way, and God allows us to return to Him over and over, just like the faithful Father He is. Regardless of how many times we stray, He takes us back. It’s a heartrending object lesson, and, though we can be encouraged by God’s unconditional love, we should also be convicted by it.

Contrast that with this picture from the book of Revelation:

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

Revelation 21:9-11 (NIV)

After considering the story of Hosea and Gomer, and thinking about how we’re like the unfaithful wife, it’s so encouraging to know that those of us who are covered in the blood of Jesus are called the Bride of Christ. One day we’ll be united with Him forever, just like a truly faithful, cherished wife. I can’t help but be filled with gratefulness at the thought of what awaits His bride for eternity.