Growing up, I often daydreamed about being married. I learned to cook, thinking I would bless my future wife with my culinary skills. I worked hard to get a good job, hoping to one day provide a nice, comfortable life for my future bride. It was rare for me to go on a date without wondering if the girl sitting across from me might be my future wife. I spent a lot of time dreaming about what marriage would be like, imagining how beautiful it would be. But like so many things in life, God’s plans are bigger and even more beautiful than we could ever conjure up. His ways are better than ours, but that doesn’t mean they’re always easier.
Now, imagine how Hosea must have felt when God gave him this call:
“Go and marry a woman of promiscuity” (Hosea 1:2).
Why would God call Hosea to faithfully love a woman who would not be faithful to him in return? To offer everything to someone who offered him so little, and then to “go again; show love to a woman who is loved by another man and is an adultress”? (Hosea 3:1). This biblical account only makes sense when we realize that it is not primarily written about Hosea and Gomer. Their marriage is a living metaphor for the faithful love God continuously showers upon His faithless people.
Though His people did not reciprocate His faithfulness, and though they used His gifts to worship false gods such as Baal (Hosea 2:8), God promised to deliver His people from the consequences of their rebellion and to restore them to the blessedness of right relationship with Him. And in framing His promise, God drew upon the metaphor He had established between the faithful husband Hosea and the faithless wife Gomer:
“I will take you to be my wife forever.
I will take you to be my wife in righteousness,
justice, love, and compassion.
I will take you to be my wife in faithfulness,
and you will know the LORD” (Hosea 2:19–20).
This Old Testament account of the gracious faithfulness of God is good news for the modern-day people of God. We may be living in a different day and age, but the sin nature that defiled the people of Hosea’s day continues to haunt us and lead us astray. It’s as Robert Robinson wrote in his famous hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” we are “prone to wander” and “prone to leave” the God we love.
Yet as prone as we are to leave Him, God Himself—King Jesus—left the glories of heaven in order to come to earth as a man, live humbly as a servant, and ultimately, die upon a cross (Philippians 2:5–8). In His death and resurrection, Christ won the Church to Himself as His pure, spotless bride (Ephesians 5:25–27). The promise God offered His people in the book of Hosea is fulfilled once and for all time through Jesus Christ.
Because the gospel is true, the redeemed from all nations will be assembled together as “a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). Though we were faithless, Christ has been faithful. And because this is true, we will dwell with Him forever. The gospel is very good news, indeed, especially for those of us who are prone to wander.
Written by Davis Lacey