The Book of Hosea was on my mind today as I considered how God handled the broken trust of a faithless wife and how He renewed the covenant He had with her, through love, mercy and hope.
Hosea was a priest who God commanded to marry a certain woman, Gomer. Whether or not Gomer was immoral before or after her marriage is open to question. What is certain is that at some point during her marriage to Hosea, Gomer was seduced away and gave birth to three children who were not biologically Hosea’s. God used this as an object lesson of the unfaithfulness of Israel as the wife of God. It appears that Gomer’s unfaithfulness was related to the worship of Baal.
The point I want to make of all this is, God says he will take away all the good things he gave to her. He will reveal her infidelities, he will take her and set her in a wilderness, where he will allure her, speak comfortably to her and give her a door of hope. He said she would sing as she would in the day He brought her out of Egypt, and that she would no longer call him Baal (lord), but Ishi (husband).
We can see from this passage that God reveals the state of Israel’s soul, that he would call her back to him in love, that she would rejoice anew in their marriage covenant and that she would call him husband and not lord. God is more concerned here about the love that Israel has for Him than an acknowledgement of his position as her Lord. He also says He will betroth her unto himself in righteousness, in faithfulness, in loving kindness and in mercy.
Here we clearly have a rebellious wife who has been seduced away from her husband—the Bible calls her a whore. Men who view submission as something to be enforced would advocate beating or otherwise punishing the unfaithful wife. God’s response is a more loving one, because He wants our love and not just our obedience. Gomer lost interest in Hosea as a husband because she was seduced away, but God won her back through His love and not through force.