Grace and Peace from Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Hosea had wife trouble. Hosea didn’t just have wife trouble though; Hosea quite possibly had the very “Worst Wife in the World”. If the Prodigal Son is the New Testament’s most famous story of Family dysfunction due to odd dealings between Father and Son. Hosea’s story is the Old Testament’s most famous tale of Family dysfunction highlighting the odd dealings with Husband and Wife.
Hosea had a wife named Gomer. Gomer worked as a prostitute. Hosea had married Gomer for no good reason other than God had ordered him.
God had a very odd reason for wanting Hosea to marry Gomer. Hosea was known as a "complainer" or a "belly acher". The type of person that once he started ranting people would just say “there goes Hosea again.”
What Hosea was always ranting about was the harm that had fallen unto the nation of Israel because of their failure to abide by any sort of sexual boundaries. Within Hosea’s life prostitution was running rampant. Finding prostitutes in Israel was about as difficult as finding casinos in Las Vegas. In fact prostitutes would even line themselves up outside the Holy Grounds of the Temple.
God was going to use Hosea, famous for his ranting, to make a dramatic point regarding the relationship between God and the people of Israel. God knew that as soon as Hosea would be ordered to marry Gomer that Hosea would be the definition of loving in return. Hosea would be the perfect Husband; he would be the guy with the flowers, the guy with patience, kindness, and understanding. Hosea would set out on a course to do anything to make Gomer happy.
God knew that Hosea’s friends were probably going to tell him “to run away from Gomer, that she was nothing but trouble”. People were going to snicker behind Hosea’s back about how foolish he was being.
God knew that Gomer was going to be loved by other men and turn her back on Hosea through adultery. Only, Hosea was just going to keep on loving Gomer, the Prostitute, no matter what he grief he had experienced at Gomer’s hands.
What can we say about Hosea and Gomer’s marriage? They had three children together although only one for certain was known to be Hosea’s.
No matter how loving Hosea was to Gomer, Gomer just couldn’t stop herself. Gomer kept cheating on Hosea, then she cheated on him again. Gomer’s life continued into a deeper and deeper downward spiral until the point that Gomer eventually abandoned her dysfunctional family, only for Gomer to end up so low that she ended up on the brink of being sold into slavery.
The reason that God wanted Hosea to marry Gomer was because he wanted their marriage to serve as an illustration of the relationship of God to the people of Israel.
How the people of Israel had been unfaithful. How even with the depths of God’s steadfast love, Israel had gone out to pursue what they considered to be more attractive gods.
The story of Hosea illustrates how “God is going to be faithful even as the people of Israel continue to be unfaithful.”
Think of how many people out there would stay in a relationship like Hosea’s? How absolutely no one would ever seek out to marry someone who they knew was going to be unfaithful to them continually.
The point of Hosea’s story is one we often miss. People often view relationships in terms of potential. Girls figure if they can just tame a guy’s wildness they’ll make really great husbands. Guys figure that if they can get a girl to lose that final 10 LBS that she’ll then be the girl of their dreams.
Girls figure that they can get a guy’s work ethic to turn around, get him to dress better, get him more clean shaven, get him to get nicer haircuts, give up the extra beers on Saturday night then they’ll have the ideal husband.
Too often people view potential mates in terms of what they will eventually become. The way we understand our normal relationship working is we see devotion being returned with devotion, “If you love me you will do this.”
This is what made Hosea’s marriage so dysfunctional; Hosea received no devotion in return.
Hosea only received grief in marriage. Hosea’s marriage was the one that everyone around him felt sorry him. Hosea had to put up with Gomer.
Yet word finally got back to Hosea after Gomer had abandoned him that she was about to be sold into slavery. Hosea finally had the opportunity to be done with the “Worst Wife in the World” once and for all. Many guys would have shouted out “Hallelujah” at that moment they could have been done with Gomer.
Only, Hosea refused to give up on Gomer. Hosea sought Gomer out once again. Hosea was going to stop at nothing to buy Gomer back again and bring her back home. Hosea was going to buy Gomer back, no matter the cost.
Once Hosea had finally purchased Gomer back from the dead for Fifteen Shekels of Silver and a Lechel of Barley, Hosea spoke to Gomer how their relationship would be defined from that day forward,
“You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.”-Hosea 3:3
Hosea was not going to look upon Gomer with a grudge, or never ending one-upsmanship. Gomer was going to remain Hosea’s wife from that day forward, whether even Gomer herself believed it or not.
The story of Hosea and Gomer is a tale of redemption. A tale of being brought back from the dead. A tale that speaks how far Grace can reach.
Hosea’s story is ultimately a parable of the Church. How those who that gather here today have made their share of bad decisions, how the Church is full of people who have experienced the consequences of their actions, how the Church is full of people who are sick in need of healing. Yet Christ chooses us still. Christ chooses us a bride, he didn’t overlook our flaws, our warts, our stains, our sins, he took them unto himself.
The point of the story of Hosea and Gomer is how God operates within our own lives. God bought us just like Hosea bought Gomer. Because of the Cross of Christ we are assured that God’s love for us, is just as unconditional as was Hosea’s love was for Gomer.
How in the words of the Apostle Paul that “there is truly nothing that can separate us from the love of God found in Christ Jesus”- Romans 8:39.
How the love that has been given to us is not a love given with limits, but rather a love given without limits of forgiveness, time, and faithfulness. That love can reach the most unlikely of sources. That no matter how messed up and broken Gomer seemed to be. How even Gomer was not outside the possibility of God’s reach.
Why does the story of Hosea and Gomer matter to us today?
What can we say about Hosea and Gomer’s dysfunctional marriage before we go home today?
Let me read a reflection given about Gomer and Hosea if it were to take place in 2013 in Silver Bay written by Fredrick Buchner
Gomer was always good company-a little heavy with the lipstick maybe, a little less than choosy about men and booze, a little loud, but great on a party and always good for a laugh. Then the prophet Hosea came along wearing a sandwich board that read "The End is at Hand" on one side and "Watch Out" on the other.
The first time he asked her to marry him, she thought he was kidding. The second time she knew he was serious but thought he was crazy. The third time she said yes. He wasn't exactly a swinger, but he had a kind face, and he was generous, and he wasn't all that crazier than everybody else. Besides, any fool could see he loved her.
Give or take a little, she even loved him back for a while, and they had three children whom Hosea named with strange names like Not-pitied-for-God-will-no-Longer-pity-Israel-now-that-it's-gone-to-the-dogs so that every time the roll was called at school, Hosea would be scoring a prophetic bulls-eye in absentia. But everybody could see the marriage wasn't going to last, and it didn't.
While Hosea was off hitting the sawdust trail, Gomer took to hitting as many night spots as she could squeeze into a night, and any resemblance between her next batch of children and Hosea was purely coincidental. It almost killed him, of course. Every time he raised a hand to her, he burst into tears. Every time she raised one to him, he was the one who ended up apologizing.
He tried locking her out of the house a few times when she wasn't in by five in the morning, but he always opened the door when she finally showed up and helped get her to bed if she couldn't see straight enough to get there herself. Then one day she didn't show up at all.
He swore that this time he was through with her for keeps, but of course he wasn't. When he finally found her, she was lying passed out in a highly specialized establishment located above an adult bookstore, and he had to pay the management plenty to let her out of her contract. She'd lost her front teeth and picked up some scars you had to see to believe, but Hosea had her back again and that seemed to be all that mattered.
Hosea changed his sandwich board to read "God is love" on one side and "There's no end to it" on the other, and when he stood on the street corner belting out. Nobody can say how many converts he made, but one thing that’s for sure is that as Hosea held up his sign is that, there was a seldom a dry eye as he held that sign even Gomer (The Worst Wife in the World)
  http://frederickbuechner.com/content/weekly-sermon-illustration-hosea-and-gomer