Text: Hosea 3:1-5, Romans 5:6-8, Exodus 20:1-3
It started the way these things always do. I ate a cookie and wanted another one.
But here’s the catch: Although it tasted like gooey, chocolatey goodness, it was technically considered a protein bar, something you’d proudly toss in your workout bag. But delicious and permissible? These things do not just happen. I felt like I’d unlocked THE secret to eternal snacking bliss.
Gomer’s story starts the same way. She was hungry for love, and she had it in her husband, Hosea. But she wanted more. Her desire was delicious and permissible—until it wasn’t. And Hosea was left with something far from what he’d hoped for, not unlike the cardboard box that had arrived at my door a few weeks later.
That box was unexpectedly heavy, underscoring the compromises I’d made on flavor and price in exchange for a pantry filled with a lifetime supply of healthy “cookies.” As I opened the box, red and green labels signaled that my online order of “seasonal” and “limited edition” delights actually meant Christmas (it was May) and crusty (with mold, you guys). So here I am, stuck with a pantry full of rotten, non-returnable snacks. Incidentally, can I interest anyone in a “Snickerdoodle”?
Although I’m unsure about their stance on snickerdoodles, we know the Israelites loved raisin cakes. They piled them high and gorged themselves full in observance of the law and idol-worship. We see an illustration of their rebellion through Gomer; their pursuits of dried fruits and her chase after pitted romance would not lead to the one True Vine.
As a result, Hosea and Gomer’s marriage exited the honeymoon phase quickly—but they aren’t the only ones. Before we point fingers or assign blame, we ought to remember this truth: God is in a terrible marriage, too—with us—one He should have divorced from long ago.
He loved us first.
We loved sin more.
He made us without shame.
We dirtied the white dress.
He gave us a covenant.
We didn’t show up to the altar.
You cannot know how many healthy cookie bars are stuffed in each of my kitchen cabinets, a daily reminder of my unexpected, unwanted purchase. I can’t help but wonder: Was Hosea filled with the same regret? Is God?
Hosea is fully aware of Gomer’s adultery, yet God tells him to pursue her still.
“Go again; show love to a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, just as the Lord loves the Israelites though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes” (Hosea 3:1).
Hosea doesn’t have enough money to buy her back, so he pays for her with 15 shekels and 5 bushels—the price of a slave (Exodus 21:32).
God is all-knowing of our unfaithfulness, yet He pursues us still. He gives everything He has to buy us back, paying for us with His Son and a cross—the price for the ungodly (Romans 5:6).
We are His runaway brides, but He will not divorce us. May we return to Him with awe. Amen.
“Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. Do not have other gods besides Me.”
- Exodus 20:1-3