Seeing Ourselves in the Story of Gomer
Have you ever watched a Hallmark movie or read a romance novel and found your heart rejoicing in the love that’s growing between the main characters? Was there something within you that yearned to be rescued, loved, and cherished in the same way the leading lady was?
It’s a classic tale that’s made its appearance in stories for generations. She’s lost; she’s lonely, with seemingly no hope. She needs help but has nowhere to turn until by a twist of fate she meets him, and everything changes. He’s kind, helpful, gracious, and understanding. He’s patient and strong, and he loves her. He rescues her, and our hearts scream, “Hooray!”
But what is it within us that longs for this storyline? Why do we feel a sense of triumph and relief when the damsel in distress is rescued, loved, and cherished? Because her story is our story. It’s been etched upon our souls and ingrained in our hearts. We are lost, lonely, and without hope. We need help and feel like there’s nowhere to turn, and then he rescues us.
God wrote the greatest love story of all time in the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus, on our behalf. He freed us by giving his life for ours. We were separated from God because of our sin, without hope. And yet—though we didn’t deserve it—he bought us, declared us righteous, and promised us entrance into his kingdom through the blood of his own Son.
Let’s look at the book of Hosea for a more tangible picture of God’s relentless pursuit of those he loves. God used the story of his prophet Hosea to show his people the depth of his love for them and his desire to rescue them from their sin. The Lord instructs Hosea to pursue Gomer, a known prostitute, and make her his bride. Gomer violates her vows and deserts Hosea for her old lifestyle. Inexplicably, God tells Hosea to pursue his wife again and bring her home to her family.
From an outward perspective this seems crazy: Why would God want his prophet to repeatedly rescue an adulterous prostitute? Because the story of Hosea and Gomer was meant to be a living analogy of God’s extravagant, undeserved love for the sinful adultery of the people of Israel.
Israel had come out of Egypt and instead of reflecting hearts of praise and gratitude for God’s provision in their lives, the nation had become a people marked by idolatry—prostituting themselves with the gods of the Canaanites. Yet, time after time God, in his mercy, rescued them only to have his love spurned once again. This cycle repeated throughout Israel’s history.
As a spurned lover, God justly indicts Israel for her sin and lists the many grievances against her. But in his loyal, selfless, covenantal love, he yearns to see this wayward nation return. He seeks her, finds her and rescues her once again.
We are the object of the deep, deep, relentless love of God.
It’s a love that suffers betrayal, disrespect, idolatry, and blasphemy—for we are utterly sinful and unworthy. Our only hope is for a redeemer—someone to rescue us from ourselves. Our only hope is for the redeemer to love us with an everlasting love that will never let us go. To bring us to himself.
That’s what’s written on our hearts, and it is the reason we long for happy endings. Because it’s our story. It’s the greatest love story of all time! We are the unworthy objects of his extravagant love, a redeemed people, saved by his mercy and grace. And most importantly this love story, our love story, says everything about our God. He sought us while we were still running from him and he sacrificed his own son to find us and buy us. We are known and loved, the star of our very own love story, opposite the greatest lover of all; Jesus our Savior.