God instructed Hosea, “Go take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry (1:2). This odd request was to demonstrate that God’s people, the nation of Israel, had been unfaithful to God, worshipping everything under the sun except Him.
After he cleared the wax out of his ears, Hosea did what the Lord asked and married the prostitute Gomer. To say that the relationship was stormy would be an understatement; the next three chapters give a glimpse of this topsy-turvy marriage. In this unlikely union they had three children: Jezreel (‘God scatters’), Lo-Ruhamah (‘Not Pitied’), and Lo-Ammi (‘Not My People’)–names that you will not find on embossed bookmarks at your nearest Christian bookstore.
Just as the nation of Israel left God, Gomer left Hosea and went back to the life she knew all too well. Hosea’s love was a stubborn one, and being like the ‘hound of heaven,’ tracked her down and bought her back. Hosea is, in the minds of many, a major biblical treatise on the love of God, a love that is not sweet sentimentality, but deeply rooted in compassion and holiness. God’s love makes demands, but it is also willing to restore. It is a striking picture of the pain and spendthrift love in His heart.