Scandalous Women of the Bible | Day Three
By: Brittany Green
I’m an escaper. If I’m uncomfortable in a situation or upset or don’t want to do something, I bail. My friends often joke that my catch phrase is, “I’m going home” because if they’re giving me a hard time I tend to want to escape. Anyone else relate?
Escaping can be good sometimes, but other times it’s not healthy to escape conflict. And it’s especially not healthy if I’m running from God. Here’s the deal, we can’t outrun God. He is relentlessly, scandalously pursuing you, no matter if you’re close to Him right now or far away or somewhere in between. His love is pursuing you.
The woman we’re going to talk about today was an escaper. She constantly ran back to her old life. She’s one of the most scandalous people in the Bible, but also one with the clearest picture of redemption for you and me.
Turn to the book of Hosea and let me introduce you to Gomer. Gomer’s story is woven in a time when God spoke to His people through prophets. These men would be committed to speaking to God’s people a message of redemption. This message typically was that Israel had sinned, God was giving them a chance to turn back to Him, and if they didn’t God would have consequences for them. The point through it all was that God was being gracious to His people, giving them a second chance (or third, or fourth) to turn back.
So meet Gomer. Gomer’s story is real but also stands as an example for the relationship between God and Israel, His people.
Read Hosea 1:1-3.
Did I actually read such scandalous things coming from the Bible, about a man of God???
Yes, yes you did.
I don’t know what translation you have, but we learn here that Gomer is a promiscuous woman, a prostitute. As if her name isn’t bad enough, I would imagine that she also has a pretty horrible life. But God tells this prophet to go and marry her; to take her out of her horrible situation and love her. That’s pretty dreamy for her, right? Pretty scandalous for him! (And people say the Bible is boring!)
Let’s keep reading to see how the fairy tale continues. Skip ahead to chapter 3.
Read Hosea 3:1-3.
What happened here? It’s a bit confusing, but the story goes that Gomer returns to her life of promiscuity. She leaves the comfort, the love, and the safety of Hosea’s home (and her children) to return to her former life. But God calls Hosea to continue to pursue her. He pays for her to leave her life of prostitution. She returns and he relentlessly pursues her.
Now if you skip back to chapter 2, we see tough love and grace. I encourage you to read it. The first 13 verses are tough love. She has to be taken out of her sinful, destructive lifestyle. And then we come to verses 14-23. The tender love comes in.
Why do I love this story so much? Because of Hosea 2:19. Read it and underline it. I tell you the story of Gomer because of this very verse. This might seem insignificant, but look at that word “betroth.” This word is only used for virgin wives being married.
Yet here we see Hosea using it for his promiscuous wife, God using it on His promiscuous people. Don’t you see? Just as Hosea viewed his bride as pure, so does God because of Jesus. It’s the most beautiful thing. Time and time again, the people of Israel turned from the Lord. They sold themselves to other gods, to their sinful natures. And time and time again God relentlessly pursued them to bring His people back into a relationship with Him.
It’s the same with us.
Just because Gomer’s story is highly scandalous doesn’t mean we can’t relate. Sin is sin to God. Sin separates us from God no matter how huge or insignificant it is. And yet He calls us His bride. I love that.
Sometimes we want to escape back to what we feel is comfortable. Let me encourage you that God doesn’t call us to a comfortable life. He calls us to scandalously pursue Him just as He is relentlessly pursuing us.
So where are you in this story?
Are you running from God? It’s exhausting, isn’t it? Can I encourage you that God is waiting with open arms for you to run to Him.
What areas of your life are you turning from God, putting other things before Him? Take some time to pray about that.
Let me close with the second half of Hosea 14:9 – “For the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.”
Let’s be women who walk in the ways of the Lord. His love and grace are waiting to walk with you in whatever you’re going through.