God’s word came to Hosea in Hosea 3:1, “Go, show your love to your wife again … Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites …”. The Book of Hosea can be broken up into two parts. There is the story of Hosea, Gomer, and their children, and there is the story of God and His people Israel. Both are stories of covenant relationships which get violated and then restored. This reconciliation of Gomer with Hosea foretold the future return to God the nation of Israel would make, and His forgiveness.
Apparently in verse one, Hosea and Gomer had been living apart and she had become the property of someone else. Gomer’s usefulness as a prostitute slave had run it’s course. So she was brought by her owner into a slave market, where she was put up for sale. Just imagine how degrading that would have been. Imagine the astonishment and pity or maybe even disgust on the face of every onlooker. Imagine every whisper being hushed by the announcement as the bidding on Gomer had begun.
Then the silence in the slave market was broken by the voice of someone bidding. Hosea! He was the last person anyone would have expected to have interest in Gomer, but Hosea bought back his unfaithful wife and took her home. This passage may very well record the only time in history that a slave market reflected, the love of God. Oh what redemption! Like what Hosea did for Gomer, Jesus has done for us. He has purchased us the scripture says, “while we were yet sinning”. We used to be “slaves to sin” according to Romans 6:17, but we have been “redeemed…with the precious blood of Christ” 1 Peter 1:18-19. He “gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” Titus 2:14.
God used Hosea’s own life as a symbol for this relationship through the prophet’s marriage to Gomer, who would be unfaithful to him. Why would God want Hosea to marry Gomer? What was the greater plan? Hosea’s life and ministry serve not only as prophecy for Israel at that time, but as a reminder today about the consequences of choice, the power of forgiveness, and the importance of virtue. God made a covenant relationship with Israel, promising to bless and protect them if they follow Him, worshipping only the one, true God.
Marriage was instituted to be a lifelong promise between a man and a woman to be faithful, and to help one another. Under the Lord’s guidance, Hosea married Gomer, a woman he knew would commit adultery. The marriage would serve as a symbol for the relationship between God and His people and God chose Hosea to live a life which illustrated the relationship between Israel and Himself. What greater love than this, that God’s only Son would lay down His life for us to purchase us from sin’s yoke of slavery.