A Whore-Wife and Crazy Kid Names – Hosea’s Story

It’s easy to judge a prostitute for their unfaithfulness. The message of Hosea is that God probably quite often sees us as people who abandon him and prostitute ourselves to the next best exciting thing that comes our way. The good news is that God will do whatever it takes to woo you back.

This is Session 1 in Series 3 of the Enter Life Curriculum. [Series 3 HomeEnter Life Home]

The Story

Hosea probably had one of the toughest jobs of all the prophets in the Old Testament. That’s actually saying quite a lot because some of the things the prophets had to do were pretty intense – like lying in poo or walking around naked (those stories in Ezekiel 4 and Isaiah 20).

The main job of a prophet back then was to be a kind of Covenant-enforcer. They had to tell the people if they were doing well or not so well in keeping the Covenant that would restore their relationship with God. Sometimes they used words to do that. Other times… well God needed to take things to the next level to get peoples’ attention. With Hosea God seems to go completely overboard… Read the story in Hosea chapter 1.

Find a whore and marry her. Make this whore the mother of your children. And here’s why: This whole country has become a whorehouse, unfaithful to me, God.”

Is that crazy or what?? The Bible says a lot about how bad adultery and unfaithfulness is. And here’s God telling Hosea to go marry a prostitute!

And then, as soon as everyone sees the newlywed couple together: holy, God-guy Hosea and um … rather embarrassing prostitute Gomer, God says this:

you all are like Gomer to me’

BOOM!

That came from God?

It gets worse.

The couple soon start a family, but God tells Hosea what to name his kids:

Name this one No-Mercy. I’m fed up with Israel. I’ve run out of mercy.”
Name [your son] Nobody. You’ve become nobodies to me, and I, God, am a nobody to you.”

Every time someone would call Hosea’s kids it would be a reminder from God that they had really messed up this Covenant thing.

I wonder how many friends those poor kids had?

After Gomer has had three children she wanders off and falls in love with another guy. There’s a messy, embarrassing and painful separation. Hosea doesn’t know what to do … until, in Chapter 3, God says:

‘Hosea, go get back together again’
‘God. Are. You. Serious?’
‘Yes. Go do it.’
‘Ok.’ “Start all over: Love your wife again, your wife who’s in bed with her latest boyfriend, your cheating wife. Love her the way I, God, love the Israelite people, even as they flirt and party with every god that takes their fancy.”

Have you ever really liked someone who didn’t like you back? Or maybe a best friend suddenly didn’t want to be friends anymore? Can you remember, or imagine, what that feels like? Can you imagine what Hosea felt like watching his wife messing around with other guys?

Can you imagine what God felt like watching the tribe he loved and wanted to protect turn to other things for their comfort and security?

In the end God shows his people some tough love. God lets them have what they want. If they are so keen to live without God then God lets them experience what life can be like that way …

The people of Israel are going to live a long time
stripped of security and protection,
without religion and comfort,
godless and prayerless.
But in time they’ll come back, these Israelites,
come back looking for their God and their David-King.
They’ll come back chastened to reverence
before God and his good gifts, ready for the End of the story of his love.
Hosea 3v4-5

It’s tough love because God is pretty sure his people will realise how empty life is without God – but only after suffering for a while.

God will bring his people back from their crooked path to his straight line. Again. Why? Because God just can’t give up on these stubborn, faithless, clueless people he loves madly.

Hosea Chapter 11 is one of the most beautiful and heart-aching passages in the Bible.

My people are hell-bent on leaving me.
They pray to god Baal for help.
He doesn’t lift a finger to help them.
But how can I give up on you, Ephraim?
How can I turn you loose, Israel?
How can I leave you to be ruined like Admah,
devastated like luckless Zeboim?
I can’t bear to even think such thoughts.
My insides churn in protest.
And so I’m not going to act on my anger.
I’m not going to destroy Ephraim.
And why? Because I am God and not a human.
I’m The Holy One and I’m here—in your very midst.

Have you ever wondered how God views you? Do you think it’s sometimes like the way Hosea viewed his wife – someone who he loves dearly and deeply but who is so often unfaithful and so easily tempted by other things?

The message of Hosea is that God probably quite often sees us as people who abandon him and prostitute ourselves to the next best exciting thing that comes our way. The good news is that God loves and cares for us so deeply that he will keep enticing us back into a relationship with him. God will do whatever it takes to woo you back.

It doesn’t say in the book how things end between Hosea and his whore-wife Gomer. I hope Gomer learned to become faithful and that they enjoyed a happier marriage. I hope they changed the names of their kids…I hope they were able to overcome the pain and brokenness of a relationship wrecked by unfaithfulness.

The stories of each of our lives are still being written but there’s a larger story in which a holy groom on a cross suffers all the pain and brokenness of sin and evil so that his bride’s unfaithfulness can be forgiven and their relationship restored. Check this out in Revelation 19v1-8.

Here’s the last paragraph in Hosea

If you want to live well,
make sure you understand all of this.
If you know what’s good for you,
you’ll learn this inside and out.
God’s paths get you where you want to go.
Right-living people walk them easily;
wrong-living people are always tripping and stumbling.

If you find you’re doing more tripping and stumbling in your life than you would like, here’s an invitation to think about what walking along God’s paths might be like instead. It begins with a relationship with God – no matter how unfaithful we’ve been

redperson

Leaders Toolkit


In this tab you’ll find ideas and questions to help you lead your group through an interactive, story-based journey. Our leaders guide has more info on how to use our Story-based framework.

Click on the time bomb to see how you could run this session in 15 minutes, 30 minutes or longer.
timebomb

Download a PDF version of this session here

Rewind

o What’s more important to you: loyalty or honesty?
o Have you ever been let down or even betrayed by a friend? Has a friend stuck with you through some tough times or had your back when people turned on you? What did that feel like?
o Are you the kind of person who is loyal and faithful to someone (or something) no matter what, or do you tend to be distracted by other things that come your way? How does that work out in your relationship with God?

theWordSpace_cropped

Get the conversation started …
Get everyone to check out the WordSpace posts from this week on their phones or from a printout (you’ll find them in the next tab.)

o Is there a post that stands out for you? Why so?
o Is there something in a post that raises a question for you? What is that?
o If you had to choose one post to share with a friend, which one would it be?

Refresh

Read the post in The Story tab.

replay

Some questions to help you replay your story 

o Did you have any particular feelings or thoughts towards Hosea or Gomer when you heard this story?
o In what ways could that story translate into your life?
o God plays quite a big role in this story – what aspects of God’s character stuck out for you?

Redraw Your Picture of Jesus

The idea of Jesus having the same kind of relationship to us as a husband has to his wife is a strong theme throughout the Bible. Does seeing how Hosea loves and treats his wife Gomer help you redraw your idea of what Jesus is like in any way? What characteristics are the most appealing to you?

remix

What practical action, response,or new way of thinking do you need to take into the week?

Re-pent …
Have you encountered something in Hosea’s story that makes you want to say to God: ‘sho, I’ve been pretty unfaithful and easily distracted in my relationship with you. I’m sorry! Help me figure out how to deal with the things that I keep chasing after that draw me away from you.’?

Jesus invites us to repent often and with freedom. It’s a real gift from God – go for it!

Some questions to help you remix your story …
o Are you in a place where you’ve abandoned a friendship or some other relationship because you’ve been a bit like Gomer and chased after something or someone else? Has someone done that to you? How could you begin to restore that relationship this week?
o Do you need to press the reset button on your relationship with God and start over? How could you do that this week?

 

From the WordSpace

Here are four posts from the WordSpace we’ve posted specially to tie in with this topic:

What would you do if you were caught doing something to hurt someone you loved a lot? Would you hide because you felt bad, or try and beg for forgiveness?

Often when we realise we’ve sinned against God we go into hiding until we think God might have forgotten! Hosea’s encouragement is this, ‘Come, let us return to the Lord!’ (Hosea 6v1)

Coming back to God when we’ve let him down can be hard, but it’s also the most healing thing we can do. Do you need to return to God and tell him about some stuff?

Check out Hosea 6 here – http://bit.ly/1lUEsAH
#fridayfeedback
#andrewv

Have you ever been cheated on? It really hurts deep down right? You feel betrayed, angry, sad…

In the Old Testament God tells Hosea to marry a woman who was known for sleeping around (Hosea 1v2). God knew Gomer would cheat on Hosea sooner or later and that it would hurt – but God wanted to show the Israelites that their sin was wrecking their relationship with God too.

When we choose to love other things in our lives more than God it’s kinda like we’re cheating on God too. What does it tell you about how much God loves you that he always stays faithful to you, no matter how unfaithful you’ve been?

Read Hosea 1 here: http://bit.ly/1i4GlLQ
#GodsViewofYou
#Hosea
#roblloyd

If you were to imagine God as a person who’s standing nearby, would you want to move towards him or away from him?

In the book of Hosea God says his people are like a wife who has had an affair. Even though they have cheated on him, God still wants them to come back to him and be faithful to him again (Hosea 2v16)

Do we go looking for love elsewhere because we see God as angry or scary? What if we really saw God as someone who loves us like crazy – no matter how unfaithful we’ve been? Would you want to move closer?

Read Hosea 2 here: http://bit.ly/1i4FT09

#KnowingGod
#Hosea
#roblloyd

Do you know the feeling when you really like someone who doesn’t like you back? Or when a best friend betrays you? I think God was feeling that way when he told the prophet Hosea to marry the local prostitute Gomer. They quickly broke up. Really awkward.

Then God said to his people: ‘You are all like Gomer to me’

Yoh

Could God say that about us? Do we put our trust in anything exciting that comes our way? Here’s how God responds. He tells Hosea: ‘start all over: Love your wife again your cheating wife. Love her the way I, God, love my people’ (Hosea 3v1, The Message)

Faithful God! Unfaithful me. Have mercy Jesus!

Read Hosea 1 here: http://bit.ly/14yaDdp
#andrewv

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