Scripture: I will read selected passages as I preach.




Christians look back on the death of Jesus as a great example of God’s love.

But suppose you lived during Old Testament times.



Suppose you lived before the death of Jesus.

How would you describe God’s love, if you lived before the death of Jesus?



I don't know what I would say.

But I know what the prophet Hosea said.



He used his unfaithful wife Gomer and their broken home to reveal God’s     

love for His people.

God gave us the home.



It’s the basic foundation of our society.

It was on God’s mind when He created Adam and Eve.



He said, “A man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto   

his wife; and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:24).

God performed the first marriage;



Blessed the first couple;

Made marriage a sacred relationship;





Made marriage so important God allows only two things to break the  

relationship: death and adultery.

Death automatically severs the marriage.



And adultery rips it apart.

It’s one of humanity’s worst sins;



Something that God said must be dealt with in the harshest manner we can    


“The man that committeth adultery with another man's wife,”



“Even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife,”

“The adulterer and the adulteress shall surely BE PUT TO DEATH”

(Lev. 20:10).



God abhors adultery.

He even said the man or woman who does that should die.


This brings us to the 1st Scripture: Hosea 1:2-3

And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and

children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing

from the LORD. So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which

conceived, and bare him a son.


It’s important to notice that Hosea said this is the word of the Lord because

he made a statement that startles many Bible scholars.

Some say, “God would never tell a man to marry a woman who committed   




“God would never tell a man to make a terrible mess out of his life.”

Hosea said, “God told me to take a wife of whoredoms and children of        


This is the problem.

Would God who strongly opposes adultery approve of one of His prophets

marrying an adulteress?




And Hosea told us why.



“For the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord.”

God told Hosea to marry an adulteress to create a living picture of what        

spiritual adultery was doing to Israel and God.



Hosea’s broken home would illustrate that Israel’s sin was breaking up the    

house of God.

His broken heart would illustrate that Israel’s sin was breaking the heart of     




Gomer’s adultery would let the people know that God considered their sin    

worthy of death.

And Hosea’s problems with his children would demonstrate what God was  

going through with the children Israel.



We can usually see what the sin of a loose woman is doing to her husband    

and children.

But we often overlook what our sin is doing to God when we play fast and   

loose with the Word of God.



We can readily condemn the sins of a harlot.

But we often ignore the fact that our sins make us spiritual harlots.



That’s why God told Hosea to marry an adulteress.

He wanted Israel to see the seriousness of her sin.


So Hosea married an adulteress named Gomer.

God gave them three children.



He named all three.

He named the first child Jezreel.



Jezreel means “God sows” or “God scatters.”

He was saying, “I intend to scatter Israel like a farmer scatters his seed.”



He named the second child Lo-ruhamah.

Lo-ruhamah means “not pitied.”



He was saying, “I won’t have pity on Israel anymore;”

“But I will utterly take them away.”



He named the third child Lo-ammi.

Lo-ammi means “not my people.”



He was saying, “The children of Israel are not my people.”

After that, Gomer deserted Hosea for another man.



She resumed her work as a harlot.

She wound up broke and  sold into slavery.



Wouldn’t you think it was time for God to let Hosea out of this ugly    


Time for God to say, “Hosea you’ve suffered enough;”



Time for God to give Hosea a good marriage?


These questions are answered in our 2nd Scripture selection: Hosea 3:1-2

Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet

an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel,

who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine. So I bought her to me for

fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley:


God told Hosea to buy Gomer out of slavery;

“To take her back.”



“She has a lover.”

“She is an adulteress.”



“But you have to take her back and love her in spite of everything she’s        


Hosea said, “God even told me how much I should love Gomer.”



He said I had to love her “According to the love of the Lord toward the        

children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.”

God told Hosea to love Gomer as much as God loved the adulterous children        

of Israel who worshipped other gods and involved themselves in drunken

pagan rituals.



How would you describe the love of God, if you couldn’t talk about the death       

of Jesus?

You would talk about Hosea’s love for an adulterous woman named Gomer.



Hosea said, “I bought my adulterous wife back for fifteen pieces of silver, and       

a homer of barley and a half homer of barley.”

He redeemed his adulterous wife from slavery with silver and barley to show

how much God loves His adulterous people.


There’s something precious here.

If half the fee was fifteen pieces of silver,



And the other half was a homer and a half of barley,

Then, the total fee was the equivalent of thirty pieces of silver.



This is probably right because Moses told the Hebrews, if they owned an ox

that killed a slave,

They had to pay the slave owner thirty pieces of silver (Exodus 21:32).



If one of your animals killed a slave, your fine was thirty pieces of silver.

And you would have to kill the animal.



Did you ever wonder why the chief priests paid Judas Iscariot thirty pieces of         

silver to betray Jesus (Matt. 26:15)?

They were saying the life of Jesus is worth no more than the life of a dead     




His life is worth no more than the life of an adulterous woman who’s been    

sold into slavery.

They thought they were insulting Jesus.



But God was letting His Son be sold for the price of a slave so He could      

redeem those who are slaves to sin.

Anyway, Hosea redeemed his wife out of slavery.



And this is a beautiful picture of God’s love.

Gomer was a dirty tramp.



But Hosea bought her.

And loved her.

Israel was a rotten nation.

But God brought her into existence.



And loved her.

We’re slaves to sin.



But God bought us.

And loved us.



He redeemed us not with corruptible things, as silver and gold (or silver and  

barley), but with the precious blood of Jesus.

Think about the love of God.



It seems like He asked Hosea to do an unreasonable thing.

I called Gomer a dirty tramp.



But Gomer’s sin is a picture of Israel’s sin.

And our sin.



It’s meant to help us understand how offensive our spiritual adultery is to      


To help us understand that He loves us with a love that’s beyond our  




He could’ve told Hosea to marry a godly woman.

He could’ve told Israel I’ll find another nation.



He could’ve told us I’ll redeem someone else.

But He was really saying I love you in spite of adultery or anything else you  

have done.


I think we can say, God’s love is unreasonable.

God’s love is beyond our comprehension.



Now, let's look at something else.

We know Hosea loved Gomer.



But did Gomer love Hosea?




Hosea deserved the best wife on earth.

But Gomer committed adultery AGAIN.



God was telling Israel, “That’s what you’ll do when I allow you to become a          

nation again.”

“When I end your captivity, you should love me with all your heart.”



“But you’ll commit adultery AGAIN.”

When God saved us, we should’ve stopped sinning.



But we do it again and again.

I hope this shocks you a little.



God asks us to love Him.

But we are constantly finding ways to do our own thing.



God asks us to trust Him to run our lives.

But we often run our lives to suit ourselves.



We’re like criminals who won’t give up their crime.

They keep running afoul of the law and we keep running afoul of God.

Now, I want to read Hosea 6:4-6

O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for

your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.

Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words

of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. For I desired

mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.


I don’t know if God ever gets frustrated or not.

But this sure sounds like it.



God asks Ephraim and Judah (the northern and southern kingdom), “What   

shall I do unto thee?”

This is the picture.



Hosea bought Gomer out of slavery;

Took her home;



Loved her;

Did everything he could to make her happy.



But she committed adultery again.

We can almost hear a frustrated Hosea ask, “O Gomer, what shall I do unto  




That’s what God was saying to Israel.

“You’ll go into captivity for spiritual adultery.”



“But I love you with an everlasting love.”

“After many years, I’ll redeem you from slavery in a foreign land.”


“I’ll bring you home.”

“Love you like nothing ever happened.”



“But you’ll reject me again.”

Concerning Israel, God said, “Your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as

the early dew it goeth away.”



The morning cloud floats away.

The early dew evaporates.



And the promises of many to be faithful to God are often nothing more than

fading words.

Unless one’s salvation is real, a slave to sin will always be a slave to sin.



How about your vows to support your Church with your prayers, your         

presence, your gifts, and your service?

Did you mean it?



Or, were those vows like the morning cloud and the early dew?

Okay, let's look at God's response to Israel’s adulterous religion.



What does God do when people just pretend to love Him?

1st---God said, “I hewed them by the prophets.”



God’s prophets confronted Israel's spiritual adultery.

Today, His preachers confront our sins.



We may not want the preacher to talk about our sins

But God’s preachers should talk about our sins.



They’re a fact of life.

If we don’t want to deal with them, we’re under the influence of the Devil.



2nd---God said, “I have slain them by the words of my mouth.”

God’s prophets used the Word of God to condemn the Jews who were        

committing spiritual adultery.



Preachers should use the Word of God to condemn our sins.

The Word of God says loving God today and doing what we want to  

tomorrow is useless.



It says a lukewarm relationship with God will be worthless when we stand     

before the judgment seat.

When we hear the Word of God we should change our ways that are wrong.



3rd---We learn that God’s “judgments are as the light that goeth forth.”

The destruction of Israel and Judah sheds light on what God is like.



The Jews didn’t get away with faking their love for God.

And we won’t get away with it either.



When Gomer wanted to be a harlot, Hosea let her.

As a prophet of God, he knew what would happen to her.



But she had to learn some lessons the hard way.

When the prodigal son wanted to squander his inheritance, his father let him.



His father knew what would happen to him.

But the prodigal son had to learn some lessons the hard way.



If we want to leave God out of our life, He will let us.

But we will have to learn some lessons the hard way.



Hosea said, “They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind”    

(Hos. 8:7).

“They have sown the wind” means they have lived a life without God.



A life without God is a wasted life.

It’s like sowing the wind.



What do you have when you sow the wind?

God said when you sow the wind, the crop will be a whirlwind, a tornado or a        




The harvest for a life without God will be a harvest of destruction.

If we choose to disappoint God with our life, we should expect to be  

disappointed when the harvest comes.



This reminds me of a sign I saw in front of a Church one time.

It said, “If you don’t want the fruit of sin, don’t play in the Devil’s orchard.”



4th---God said, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God         

more than burnt offerings.”

The Jews couldn’t substitute slaughtered lambs for loving God



And we can’t substitute Church membership or anything else for loving God.

What does He want?



He wants us to be a people of mercy.

And to know Him in a very personal way.


He doesn’t want us to be like Gomer who just went through the motions of   


He wants us to establish a real relationship.


Finally, I want to read Hosea 11:1-4

When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. As they

called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense

 to graven images. I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they

knew not that I healed them. I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love:

and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.



These verses are comparing God’s treatment of Israel to raising a child and  

caring for an ox or a horse.

When the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt, God looked upon them as a father

looks upon his child.



He led them out of Egypt.

He led them to the land of Canaan.



He called prophets to patiently teach them.

But His children ignored what the prophets said.



They got involved in false religions.

They served other gods.



This is the point.

God reached out to you like a father reaches out to a child.



He loves you.

Are you going to turn away from Him?

Let's talk about horses.

We put a bridle on a horse and a bit in his mouth;



Leather reins on the bridle to guide the horse.

When it’s time to eat, we remove the bridle and bit so the horse can eat in     




We set food and water in front of the horse.

We love the horse.



God loved the children of Israel.

He put reigns of love on Israel.



He gently guided Israel.

He was good to Israel.



He fed and watered Israel.

He’s like a husband who loves an adulterous wife;



Like a father who raises the children of a harlot;

Like a farmer who cares for his horse.



He loves us with an unreasonable love.

He loves us so much He let Judas sell Jesus for the price of a slave.



He let His only begotten Son suffer and die for us.

He wants us to return that unreasonable love.



Perhaps, there’s someone here who hasn’t been returning God’s love.

We all do our share of wandering.

We all fail to love God the way we should.

But I’ll tell you this.



It’s not too late to straighten things out.

The story of Hosea and Gomer has a happy ending.



Their turbulent marriage eventually succeeded;

Not because of Gomer’s faithfulness;



But because of Hosea’s faithfulness.

We can straighten things out.



We can have eternal life;

Not because of our faithfulness;



But because of God’s faithfulness.

Will you rededicate your life?



Will you accept Jesus for the first time?

“If we will confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to

cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I Jn. 1:9).