To show Israel what they were like in their infidelity to Him, God told one of His prophets to marry a harlot. This is not the normal thing that God wants His children to do, just as Isaiah is the only person in the Bible whom God told to walk around naked in public, and Abraham is the only one whom He told to offer up his child as a sacrifice. Some things are only one time things.
Gomer was probably not openly practicing prostitution when Hosea married her. He had to bargain with her father Diblaim to obtain her hand in marriage. It could be that she had given up her virginity, but had so far escaped pregnancy. Or it could be that Gomer was still a virgin when she married, but had a harlot's heart and had to be closely guarded by her father because she was a notorious flirt. Then again, it could be that she was pregnant when Hosea married her, and she would not have married him except that nobody else would, and she needed to take any husband she could get in her predicament, even one who prosed on about righteousness and impending doom on Israel for its wickedness.
At this point in Israel's history, it is doubtful that women were stoned to death for fornication and adultery. At least, not in every case. Probably only if someone wanted to get rid of a woman, the Law was cited as a convenience, rather than in righteous indignation. Israel was no longer a righteous society that was shocked by fornication and adultery, unless it went to extremes. It was about to see a case that went to extremes to show them how far gone they were in their unfaithfulness to the Lord.
Gomer was one of the unicorn's pets. Boy crazy from childhood, probably. And she was probably too pretty for her own good. Her name means "completion" which could mean "perfection", but it also can mean "corruption". She was likely such a beautiful baby that her parents thought she was perfection, but she went rotten and turned out to be corruption.
The Bible says in Proverbs 11:22, "As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion." God gives beauty as a precious gift, that one may glorify God with it through being modest and chaste, in spite of being swarmed by the many opportunities for sin that usually comes from having beauty. When an attractive–looking person, male as well as female, indulges themselves in their opportunities for illicit sex, or exploit their beautiful body by showing off more of it than they ought to, they demonstrate that they are unworthy of the gift of beauty.
The Song of Solomon 8:8 & 9 says, "We have a little sister, and she has no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for? If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar." This speaks of a girl about to enter puberty, and those who are responsible for her are wondering what kind of woman she will turn out to be. If she is one who guards her virtue (a wall where there is no way to get in), she will be honoured. If she is like a door, one who can be compromised, she will have to be closely guarded. Enclosing her with boards of cedar means that to preserve her virginity, she will need a chaperone everywhere she goes, or her parents will have to keep her at home under watchful eyes until she is safely married and off their hands.
Some girls are shamelessly wanton. They make it very obvious that they would like guys to chat them up and are open to improper suggestions and activity. They keep the door open all the time. Other girls keep the door closed, but all it takes is a knock on the door to get them to open it. Buy them dinner, and they feel obligated to show their appreciation by going to bed with their date. Others have a lock on the door, but it is a feeble lock that doesn't take much to jimmy it open. A guy just has to tell her that he loves her, and put on a fairly good act to make it believable, maybe even give her an engagement ring, but he doesn't have to actually marry her before she comes across.
The Bible says that there should be no door at all. Not even one with a sturdy lock. Doors can be battered down with lavish gift after lavish gift until finally a woman's ego is so flattered, or her greed is sufficiently mollified, that she gives in. Rather, a woman should be like an "impregnable" fortress that is kept inviolate for the man who marries her. A woman gains an advantage if she saves herself for marriage, and doesn't take some other woman's man when she marries. No matter what her other faults are, at least no one can say that she is a slut. Even in "sexually–liberated" North American culture, that word is still bandied about a lot as an abusive epithet, and quite frequently by people who are rather promiscuous themselves.
Whether Gomer was still a virgin or not when she married, she already had a reputation for being a slut. Her packaging had been tampered with, at the very least. If she was a virgin, it was only a technicality.
Once she was married, Gomer was Hosea's problem. The first child she bore was a sign that God was going to destroy the royal house of Israel. He probably was not Hosea's child. This was a child of judgment, not blessing, and it was like his name meant "Revenge". The second child was also fathered by another man, her name foretelling Israel's judgment. It was like the child was called "Doom". With the third child, it was really obvious that he was not Hosea's. His name meant "not my people", which was like calling him "Rejection".
It seems terrible to put such tags on innocent children, but those kids were better off than what they would have been if God had not told Hosea to marry their harlot mother. Mercy is always at the heart of God's judgments. He had to judge Israel because they would not repent and accept His mercy, but He demonstrated through those children that He wanted to show mercy.
First of all, He put them in the care of a godly man. A godly person is tender and kind and responsible towards children, even if they aren't their own children. If Gomer had not married such a fine man, those children would have been neglected by their mother and probably abused by her lovers. They remained in Hosea's care after their mother ran off to whore around. They received a godly upbringing. They had a sensitive, loving father who continued to love their mother, in spite of how wayward she was. Hosea loved them as if they were his own, and helped them understand why they had to be named as they were.
Eventually, the children's names were changed. Jezreel, which means "God will sow", lost its connotations of revenge. They were changed to indicate "Prosperity". Loruhamah, the daughter whose name meant "not pitied" was changed to "loved, comforted" or in other words, "Mercy". Loammi, the youngest child, whose name meant "not my people", had his name changed to "Ammi" which meant "my people" or "Accepted".
As for the mother, she became infamous. The unicorn drove her into the depths of degradation. She galloped around looking for stallions. Basically, she was a nymphomaniac and had many lovers who used her and threw her away. Finally she stood on an auction block to be sold as a slave into the lowest kind of brothel, naked, hagged out, ruined by her profligate lifestyle. Then God told Hosea where Gomer was and sent him to buy her from the pimp who figured she was no longer of any use to him.
Hosea had endured a lot of shame and misunderstanding because of this wife. People supposed that he had married her because he got carried away by lust. "Such a nice man, that Hosea, a man of God and usually of good sense, but look what he goes and does. He marries Diblaim's daughter, when everybody knew what she was, and now look how she has disgraced him. Rottenness in his bones, that's what the Proverbs say of a wife who causes her husband shame. Well, he has only himself to blame for his troubles. He wouldn't listen to anybody when they tried to warn him."
Now the Lord is telling him to go to a brothel. People go into shock when they see him entering that place. It is crowded with men making crude remarks, jostling against each other. Someone recognizes the prophet and snickers; the news quickly gets around. Harlots mockingly make him offers; everybody laughs. Someone says, "That's his wife up for sale right now." More laughter and rude jokes. Hosea's face is burning. Room is made for him to stand in front, directly facing her. Everyone waits in silence, to hear what he will say. Has he come to rant at her that she deserves to come to this pass? Will he spit on her to show his contempt for her and revile her for the shame she has brought on him? Isn't that the sort of thing those "holy" people do?
Hosea looks at his wife as her head hangs down. Tears of compassion well up in his eyes and run down his cheeks, but he says nothing. The auctioneer resumes the bidding. Hosea makes an offer. A murmur runs through the crowd. He wants to buy his wife back? Someone ups the bidding in a jest. The bidding goes on until people begin to frown. If the husband wants to recover that poor wreck of a woman, then let him have her. The price is agreed. Fifteen pieces of silver and 1 ½ homers of barley, more than what her pimp had hoped for.
Gomer may have been so drugged out or insane that she didn't even know who it was who purchased her, threw a cloak over her naked body, and led her by the hand to his home. Hosea nursed her back to health, the way God wants to recover lost souls and nurse them to wholeness, and the way He wanted to rescue Israel, if only His people would have turned back to Him, so He could restore them to righteousness and bless them.
God is righteous, therefore He shows mercy. It is not righteous to not extend mercy to those who sincerely repent of their sins. Psalm 130:4 says, "But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared." That word fear means revered.
Micah 7:18 & 19 says, "Who is a God like unto you, that pardons iniquity, and passes by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retains not his anger for ever, because he delights in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and you will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." Yes, and it has been said that He also sets up a sign that says, "No Fishing." Those sins are gone, forgotten, cast behind His back so that they never again come between Him and those souls whom He has received back to Himself.
Psalm 85:8 speaks further on this and says, "I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly."
A person may not be able to recover their virginity or forget the sordid things they learned when they went astray, but they can be made clean through the blood of Yehoshua when they call upon Him to save their soul. A man or woman may have a sordid reputation in their past, but they can start fresh and live differently.
Such was the case of Rahab, a harlot who lived in Jericho when Israel returned to Canaan in Joshua's day. She paid close attention to the stories she heard of Israel's deliverances, and decided that she wanted their God to be her God. She changed her allegiance from the world to God's kingdom, and her family's lives were saved because they listened to her when she urged them to find refuge in her house. After Jericho fell, Rahab was rewarded with an inheritance in Israel for helping God's people. One of Judah's princes married her, and she was also honoured with being in the direct lineage of the Messiah. God does not look any longer at a person's past when they sincerely repent of their sins.
It may take a while for people on Earth to change their opinion of those who have repented of their sins, but in Heaven, there is instant acceptance. The saints and angels in Heaven know whose repentance is sincere. They rejoice over those who have broken and contrite hearts. They have a party to celebrate that someone has escaped the snares of the devil and will be joining them in Heaven eventually, if they faithfully continue to follow Yehoshua.
Promiscuity is widely accepted in North American culture. Virginity is commonly considered to a hindrance and those who retain it after they pass their mid–teens are generally regarded by their peers as freaks. Unwed mothers are not frowned on to the extent that they used to be. Part of the reason for that is because so many children have been abandoned by their fathers, it is understandable that girls try to find, through lovers, the attention and affection they needed from their fathers. Even with that being so, it is not a good thing when society no longer frowns on fornication. God will not tolerate unrighteousness indefinitely.
God used Hosea's family as an object lesson of how He prefers to show mercy, but Israel did not repent of its sins and return to God, so it was conquered by a cruel nation. Now in His mercy and love, and remembrance of His covenant, God has restored Israel as a nation, and Jews are fighting for their lives against the rabid fanaticism of their neighbours. This is not the time for Israel to flaunt homosexuality, engage in casual sex, use profanity, or behave in any other way like people who have no close relationship with God. It is time for them to turn back to God and live in ways that are pleasing to Him, and to stay righteous, never risking again the loss of their homeland or their souls.
As for us Gentiles, we can lose our homelands, too. We can push things too far. It isn't just Israel whom God judges for their sins. There isn't much point in trying to warn unbelievers, though. They are too blind, but if Christians will repent of their sins, and pray, God will heal our land. If at least some will change, even if enough people don't change, judgment will be deferred and then mitigated for them with mercy when it comes.
People who know what the Bible teaches and call themselves Christians need to stop making excuses for smooching with people whom they don't intend to marry, stop fornicating or having affairs, stop living common–law, stop getting divorced when there really is no need, and Christian women need to dress like Christian women. That means they should keep the three B's covered – boobs, butts, and bellies.
I'm not one to dictate how people dress, or to recommend that we keep ourselves covered from neck to ankles. I reason that since God gave us water and the ability to have fun swimming in it, it is okay with Him if we wear comfortable clothes for that activity, which is probably something that hugs the skin, without showing off certain things that only a husband or wife should see. If it is okay to wear figure–hugging clothes at any time in public, such as when one goes swimming, then it probably isn't any problem with God if people wear tight clothes or shorts or sleeveless tops at other times in public.
I don't have an issue with mini skirts, though they look ridiculous on old women and on hefty women, but they aren't all that comfortable to sit in unless you wear bike shorts under them. Then you don't have to worry about them hitching up and showing too much or getting chilly legs. I figure that if men can't control themselves when they see a woman's legs, they need to get someone to pray for them to cast out their demon of lust. Women should not be oppressed by men's lack of self–control.
However, women should not push it too far. We do have a responsibility to be kind and not get a guy worked up over what he can't have. Showing off any part of those three B's is for the bedroom when we are with our husband. I feel sorry for young men who are confronted with a shapely bare belly, their eyes bugging out while the girl brazenly pretends that she has no responsibility for the direction their thoughts are taking. Or men who want to keep their mind on the Lord, but even in church it's difficult because they are confronted with cleavage. And the cleavage is not even always on a woman's front.
I was standing in church one day, and couldn't help but notice how slutty some of the girls looked with their low cut tops and their jeans riding so low on their hips. Most of them didn't even have the figure to wear those kinds of jeans. They would have looked more attractive if they kept their blubbery hips, thick waists, and bulgy bellies covered up. The remedy for this condition is not anorexia, but rather a loose top that hangs to the hips.
I thought to myself, "Things are getting so bad around here that the next thing you know, someone is going to walk in with their rear end showing." Right enough. Two minutes later, a girl walked in and stood a few rows ahead of me, wearing pants riding so low that I could see her crack. Ew! Or how about those little slingy undies showing over the top of their jeans? That is almost as bad. Bra straps showing are tacky, but undies are worse.
Girls might think it's sexy to let their pants ride so low that their backside shows when they sit down, but I have overheard the comments that men have made behind their backs, consisting of crude, contemptuous remarks. Even men who are promiscuous usually prefer their bedmates to have some class.
I spoke to a girl once about wearing low–cut tops. I told her that her charms were very charming, but she would attract a wider range of guys if she kept her bosom covered up. I said, "Decent guys will think that you're sleazy when they see you dressed like that, and they won't take an interest in you. As for sleazy guys, they goggle at everybody. They even goggle at me when I'm covered up from neck to ankles." She didn't have to worry that men wouldn't find her attractive if she dressed more modestly.
Some guys like their girlfriend or wife to flaunt their stuff because they figure that it will make other men envy them. Oh, sure they will. But do you guys want people to wonder if you're the lucky husband or boyfriend, or do you want them to wonder if you're that girl's pimp? Girls, do you want people to wonder if the guy you are with is your pimp?
Women should dress in a way that makes a man proud to be seen with them, but not cater to egotistical pride. And we need to be sensible. No guy is worth the pain of wearing killer high heels and ruining our back for, just because high heels make us look "sexy". It might take some looking to find flat shoes that have flair, but we will enjoy our socializing more if our feet aren't killing us. This issue is addressed in 1 Timothy 2:9 where it says to dress with sobriety. That doesn't mean drab. It refers to sanity. Women should not cater to fashions that compromise their health, such as tight corsets did in the olden days and high heels do nowadays, or that are not comfortable to wear. Girls, we are worth it to look beautiful, but also to feel comfy at the same time.
Gomer was a girl who pushed the limits to see what she could get away with. She had her fun for a while, but it led her to a dead end. If it wasn't for the grace of God, she would have been destroyed forever. Her children turned out okay, but it really wasn't to her credit. They turned out all right in spite of her, not because of her. Undoubtedly, she did some good things for them, but not as much as what she could have, if she wasn't chasing around, looking for thrills.
Gomer lived the rest of her life respectably, but not with any special distinction that warranted further mention. The only reason the Bible recorded her life was as an object lesson of how God can recover a person who has gone way off the track. She let the unicorn rob her of having her name alongside of Ruth, Esther, Deborah, Hannah, Mary, and other virtuous and godly women who were focussed on bringing glory to God through their lives.
God's standards never change. Cultures change. And God does take cultures into mind when He judges people for their sins. That does not mean that when we stand before God, He will say, "Oh you poor baby. I see you were raised in North America where it was considered okay to fornicate, as long as you used a condom. Well, okay then, I'll let you into Heaven, because you didn't know better."
No. It isn't like that. It's more like, "Oh, yes, you were raised in North America and were not properly taught by your parents to not fornicate. Regardless, you knew in your heart that it was wrong. But I will take the shortcomings of your upbringing and the pressure of your culture into consideration. Hell won't be as bad for you as it is for those who had a better upbringing, but rebelled against it." In Hell, people get only what they deserve and no more, but even if it's the lightest sentence in Hell, it's far beyond the worst that can happen on Earth. It is just not worth it to fight God or ignore Him.
Kneeling at an altar in church and saying the sinner's prayer doesn't buy fire insurance. If a person keeps on sinning, they haven't repented of their sins. If they are serious about turning away from their sins, but keep falling back into their sins, they need to get help. Don't cover it up. The Bible says that he who covers his sins will not prosper.
When I was a teenager, I recognized I had a lust problem, and sought out a godly, older woman in my church, told her how I kept slipping up in that area, and she prayed for me. God set me free. Praise the Lord! He is no respecter of persons. He will do the same for anyone who asks Him for help and sincerely means it.
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Taming the Unicorn, Chapter 14
Copyright © 2010, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on April 9, 2010
Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.