The Whore

Call me Gomer.

So often, I just can’t figure God out. The books of Job and Hosea make it worse. Oh I get the point of the books, but I have such a problem with the thought that God used real, living breathing humans with feelings and emotions to create examples for posterity. Given the context of God’s timeless omniscience, were Job’s wife and children born just to be massacred by Sabeans and Chaldeans? Job’s first wife was famous for her saying, “Baruch Elokhim, ve mos!” But I feel confident that she had a name and that Job loved her, and she loved her children that she had to bury due to God’s deal with Satan. Does our loving Jehovah create some people only to suffer and die? It seems so. If you who interact with me in real life see me sitting somewhere by myself, not engaging with people, this is what’s tormenting my head. But this is not about Job. Or my brain.

I, and the Church in general, are more Gomer than I would like to admit. But I must. Otherwise the suffering of the real people whose stories are told in that book are for naught. And I just can’t stand that.

The Book of Hosea starts by setting the stage in a real time, with real historical figures. And then it says something that is quite difficult to accept:

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

Hosea 1:2-3

Gomer was someone’s daughter. But she was a loose woman, a whore, a slut. Harsh words but that’s the point here. She represents God’s people. And to make his point clear for all the people living within time, God directed Hosea to marry her and have children. WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN? They are pawns in God’s plan? They had names, just like Job’s wife and children. The children born to Hosea and Gomer were “Jezreel,” “No Mercy,” and “Not My People.” What happened to them?

Upon her children also I will have no mercy,
    because they are children of whoredom.

Hosea 2:4

What did they do wrong? They were created to suffer and die. This is hard. How can I worship this God?

But who am I to judge? I am Gomer. We are Gomer. The church is the Bride of Christ but it is only because of our Groom that we are dressed nicely and cleaned up. The modern church has been dressed in its good clothes and perfumes so long now that we scoff at the sinners in the gutters around us, as if we got out of the gutter by our own strength.

We are sinners picked up and cleaned off by the groom, who have turned haughty against those whose souls match our own. We have lived in His cleanliness so long that we have forgotten.

For their mother has played the whore;
    she who conceived them has acted shamefully.
For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers,
    who give me my bread and my water,
    my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’
Therefore I will hedge up her[d] way with thorns,
    and I will build a wall against her,
    so that she cannot find her paths.

Hosea 2:5-6

We wonder why the church is so weak in the 21st century. We blame the unredeemed sinners when it is our own fault. We have sought to have our needs filled by anything but God – entertainment, food, technology, wealth. God sees this and holds us back. But why does the secular world seem to take such delight in our mistakes?

10 Now I will uncover her lewdness
    in the sight of her lovers,
    and no one shall rescue her out of my hand.
11 And I will put an end to all her mirth,
    her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths,
    and all her appointed feasts.

Hosea 2:10-11

We MUST stop blaming the secular world for the state of the church and the nation. We’ve earned it. Several times over.

Maybe the saddest part of Hosea is the brokenness of Hosea and God over our lack of monogamy.

“for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”

Hosea 1:9

This comes from the God who said “They will be my people and I will be their God,” sooo many times more than this, the reverse. (Gen 17:8; Jer 24:7; Jer 31:33; Jer 32:28; Ez 11:20; Ez 37:23; Ez 37:27; Zech 8:8; 2 Cor 6:16; Heb 8:10)

Just as God loves His people in spite of our sin, I think he gave Hosea a love for his wandering wife. After casting her out and letting people witness her sin and her humiliation, in the end, Hosea brings her back into his home, cleans her up and tries again. Even the kids:

21 “And in that day I will answer, declares the Lord,
    I will answer the heavens,
    and they shall answer the earth,
22 and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,
    and they shall answer Jezreel,[g]
23     and I will sow her for myself in the land.
And I will have mercy on No Mercy,[h]
    and I will say to Not My People,[i] ‘You are my people’;
    and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’”

Hosea 2:21-23

He is waiting for us, the church. We claim Him as we sit in houses that we built, calling them His, surrounded by self-placed distractions. The clean clothes He gave us are visibly soiled though, by our scratching around for what we want like the prodigal son in the pen. The secular world laughs at us as we sit in our dirty clothes and call the people around us filthy.

He is waiting for us to recognize our own filth and accept Him again. The state of the church, the nation and the world is not “their” fault. It is the consequence of our ironically prideful sins.

For the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,
    and no knowledge of God in the land;
there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
    they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Therefore the land mourns,
    and all who dwell in it languish,
and also the beasts of the field
    and the birds of the heavens,
    and even the fish of the sea are taken away.

Yet let no one contend,
    and let none accuse,
    for with you is my contention, O priest.[a]
You shall stumble by day;
    the prophet also shall stumble with you by night;
    and I will destroy your mother.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
    because you have rejected knowledge,
    I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
    I also will forget your children.

Hosea 4:1-6

I am a prideful, arrogant Gomer, looking stupid as I cast aspersions on the other filthy souls outside the gates. I, we, need to remember who redeemed us, shut our judgmental mouths and turn back to our Redeemer. I do. WE do. Only then will the others see something worth their attention.

And God is not something I understand. But I refuse to try to make Him smaller, more manageable, more comfortable. I MUST accept Him as the Creator that He is, whether I, in my finite, Gomer mind, approve of His ways or not.

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