One of my favorite things to do is teach Bible studies. I’ve done so online, and currently I’m teaching a class for women at church. Throughout 2022 my teaching partner has been sharing through Heroes of the Old Testament. It’s a study that takes a snippet of a previously released Bible study and makes it one of the heroes of the Old Testament.
She asked if I would take the segment on Hosea, and I jumped at the opportunity. The actual study was written by Jennifer Rothschild, but I have combined her study with a deep dive of my own. I’ve come up for air with Biblical treasure.
And a lot of conviction.
When I started, I was certain that the readers were Hosea, the obedient faithful, and Gomer had to be the people we have been praying for who don’t respond or return to their ways time and time again. What a shocker to learn that God used Hosea to not only convict Israel for their wicked ways—-but it is also a message for us.
Me. You. Readers.
Jennifer Rothschild even repeatedly in the book refers to the readers as “Gomer Girl.” Let that sink in.
Gomer, who grew up with a father whose name meant raisin cakes, an aphrodisiac. From my studying, her dad was the guy hitting on every lady at the bar kind of guy. And what her dad started, Gomer took and ran that theme to the fullest.
There is debate on whether she was a prostitute or “just” an adulteress. The point is, she was broken, and sullying herself all over town.
That’s the visual God has in Hosea for Israel and us. We have wandered from our first love. We have strayed. And that visual is raw and graphic. But we’d be fools to ignore it.—Julie Arduini
Hosea points out that Israel has been freed from captivity, lavished with provision by God, only to take all the blessings and give them to Baal. Are we that far off? Do we receive a blessing and forget to thank God? Do we turn and run to other idols that could include work, toxic relationships, social media, sports, TV, family, and yes, even ministry?
Hosea even goes to the house where he knows Gomer is cheating, and brings them food and money. I’m sure that wasn’t a fast obedience, but he was obedient. Can you imagine? Visiting the one who is sleeping with your spouse and providing for them, even when you know as soon as you leave they will make fun of you AND return to their activities?
But that’s what God does.
He sets us free. We wander. We sin. He provides. He gives grace. He forgives. And the cycle repeats. Look at Israel. How many times did they beg for His help and He gave it, only for them to forget
What I love about my Christian journey and the Bible is that there is always an exchange. Sinner to saved. Shame to grace. Dark to light. Bondage to freedom. Hosea, as tough as it is to read, offers restoration. How this Gomer girl clings to that!
I first asked Christ into my life when I was 22. I am 52. I remember that first Christmas. Everything was alive and a marvel. His word came alive for me as I sang O Holy Night. Tears moistened my cheeks. There was a lump in my throat. Now? I confess my mind wanders. Did I remember this food. Is that present wrapped under the tree?
I’m a Gomer girl, one who has strayed and forgotten her first love.
I’m also a Gomer girl who can receive God’s restoration.
And so can you.
Beautiful. There’s always hope. The prodigal is always welcome and wanted to come home.
Amen! Thanks so much for reading. Have a blessed weekend!