Prophet weds and loves practicing prostitute

(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)


“Go and marry a prostitute.” Thus begins the unusual story of Hosea, one of the most surprising prophets to the nation of Israel. It was his prophetic mission to marry a prostitute and love her in spite of her whoring with other men. In doing so, he became a living illustration of God’s love for His people in spite of their sin of giving themselves over to the worship of other gods.

After marrying her and lavishing his love on her, Hosea stood by and watched as his wife left him and went back to other lovers. And then the Lord told Hosea, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them.” (Hosea 3:1)

So Hosea went and found his wife, even bought her back with “fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine.” (Hosea 3:2) He bought back his wife. He paid for what was already his. Just as God has done with us.

Nowhere in this story is it evident that Hosea’s wife, Gomer, ever cleaned up her act. It’s not a story about Gomer learning her lesson and getting her husband back. It’s the story of the relentless love of the husband in spite of a whoring wife. It’s the story of how time and again Israel turned away from God, and experienced the consequences of the separation, and yet, in spite of that, God remained faithful to her. He found her; He bought her back; He brought her home; He clothed her nakedness and covered her shame. And He does it time and time again. It’s a story about the faithfulness of the lover in spite of the unfaithfulness of the loved. It was to be a real-life illustration to the nation of Israel about the love of God, and likewise, a story to us about the same.

How about you? Are you a practicing sinner or do you have sin completely under control in your life? Do you plan to never sin again? Do you want your relationship with God to be on the basis of your good behavior, or on the basis of His persistent, forgiving, unconditional love? How do you want it? Then that’s what you must give out, as well. That is what grace turned outward is all about. What you want for yourself is what you must give out to others.

But John, how do you love and accept someone who practices sin? I hear this a lot today. I wonder if Hosea might have something to say about that.

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3 Responses to Prophet weds and loves practicing prostitute

  1. Lisa in Sunland says:

    What a GREAT reminder about love and tolerance! And God’s love for Israel (us), and how we should turn that grace/love outward. Kind of surprised I didn’t come over here to dozens of comments saying the same. Love is the thing, and forgiveness and encouragement and all the positive things come alongside. Yes, sometimes we need to advise something is unwise or dangerous or a sin, but only out of love, and with love. Thank you!

  2. peter leenheer says:

    Israel prostituted themselves which was made aware to them by Hosea marrying a prostitute at God’s command. I am a sinner, and as such prostitute myself before God in some way everyday. God’s forgiving grace saves me from eternal destruction. It took a dose of humility from God to make me realize that He only has sinners to work with, thank goodness He can make a right out of a wrong. My time as a Pharisee has come to an end, but I remember vividly how my perceived righteousness was much like Israel’s. God now has me practicing unconditional love…love for no reason …no one needs that love more than vitriol and being shamed and arrogant to boot. Thank you John for the timely reminder.

    I agree with the above comment about the lack of response. Whenever there is a lack of response I think that.


  3. Elizabeth says:

    This book of the bible, and your embracing of it as a lesson, make me so angry I can’t think straight enough to make an understandable explanation, but I will rant a little here anyway. It is the arrogant patriarchalism of the ancient Israelites, of the modern evangelical church, and everything in between. Why is infidelity (breaking promises) equated to prostitution (earning a living in the only way available to some women)? why is it only Gomer’s fault, and not even partially the fault of all those lovers who tempt her away? Hosea BOUGHT his wife back? she is property to be bought? I don’t see a loving God anywhere in this story, only judgement and condemnation of women.

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