Hosea starred at the sleeping bodies of his wife and daughter. Gomer wore the expressions and aging of inappropriate use. In prayer, before God, Hosea unburdened his heart with words and decrees and laments over the dying dispositions of both Israel and his precious Gomer. “Plead with your mother, pleeeaaad – for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband!” Hosea yelled and kicked at the four walls. “I will strip her naked and make her as in the day she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and make her like a parched land, and kill her with thirst! Upon her children also I will have no mercy, because they are children of whoredom!” Hosea’s pain lay with him on the cold floor, for in the end he knew he would show mercy. His sighing body melted over the stone.
Hosea couldn’t harm her. Mercy restrained the just requirements of the Law. The Law had not changed or been emptied of its good justice, yet, Yahweh’s kindness had entered Hosea’s personhood to reveal that patience was powerful to encourage repentance… .more powerful than Law. Hosea was forced to watch Gomer harm herself. In the end, she would be the victim of her own mercilessness and the mercilessness of the men, the many “baals”, that used her up.
The sleeping infant girl known as Lo-Ammi, “not loved”, was the loveliest part of Hosea’s broken world. You are not loved by liars and thieves Gomer and Lo-Ammi, but you are loved by me. Sweat and tears poured from his face and mingled inside his cupped palms, “How can I give you up?”
“Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she shall seek them but shall not find them. Then she shall say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now.’
And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal. Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my wine in its season, and I will take away my wool and my flax, which were to cover her nakedness. Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall rescue her out of my hand. And I will put an end to all her mirth, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her appointed feasts. And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees, of which she said, ‘These are my wages, which my lovers have given me.’ I will make then a forest, and the beasts of the field shall devour them. And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals when she burned offerings to them and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her loves and forgot me, declares the Lord.
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor (trouble) a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me. ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal’,” Hosea 2:6-16.
God is in love. He watches us go in and out chasing the fantasies and frivolities of relationships and ideas that have more interest in using us up than protecting us. Humanity has the potential to tear Yahweh’s affectionate heart out of His chest. His head is level and He always pursues a just course but this doesn’t mean He is not deeply affected by our choices to ignore His goodness and seek out other forms of pleasure and provision. And He therefore gives aid to anything that will facilitate making our pleasure seeking less pleasurable. He wants our baals and valleys to become trouble to us – to be known for what they are…. .for He cannot easily give us up…