When God told the prophet Hosea to take a wife for himself, it wasn’t one of the noble daughters of the land that God had set aside for him, but a wife whose past was marked by so many degrading sins that no one would ever want her. She was a harlot, yet God selected – even hand-chose her to be the prophet’s wife.
Her name was Gomer, which means “complete” but she was anything but that. She was a broken woman, used and abused, rejected and abandoned, despised and unwanted. But God saw her as a Bride, not a whore. He appointed her to be a wife, though He knew she would prove unfaithful.
Hosea’s name means “deliverance” and God used him to illustrate His grace and mercy for His Beloved Bride, the Church. Hosea married Gomer, delivering her from the brokenness of her past. His life became a sacrifice for her because he saw the bigger picture. He made her his wife. He loved her. He redeemed her from a life of sin and gave her his name. Who would do such a thing? It was such an outrageous act of grace and love that no one could understand or explain it.
In the church, God’s grace has been taught far too little, misunderstood far too often and sadly enough, received far too seldom. If we don’t understand the grace of God over our own lives, then how can we extend it to others? I met someone recently who earnestly believes he has not sinned since becoming a Christian. He is no different from the Pharisees who in their pride and self-righteousness, judged and condemned others instead of setting them free with the message of grace.
Gomer was the least deserving of all to have been chosen for a wife, but God hand-picked her as an illustration of His extravagant grace. He not only loved us and washed us clean from our sin – past, present and future, but He calls us to be examples of His extreme love, forgiveness, grace and mercy to broken souls.
As if all that Hosea had done for Gomer was not enough, she soon wandered from the safe haven he had given her. Feeling unworthy of such love, she had no understanding of her new identity. She found her way back to the sins of her past, a place that was familiar and comfortable, but would leave her deepest needs unmet. Yet God would not leave her there. He sent Hosea to redeem her once again. That was more grace than anyone could have expected.
God has seen the foolish mistakes of your past, yet He searches for you and brings you back to the safety and security of His love. He gave all He had to redeem you. And no matter how many times you wander, He will seek you diligently until He finds you because He loves you with an everlasting love that does not depend on where you’ve been or what you’ve done.
God sees you not for who you were, but for who you really are. Your identity is wrapped up in His love for you. Your worth is defined by the magnitude of His love. Who could not love a God who has evidence of your guilt, yet insists on your forgiveness? His grace frees you from your past, releases you from your failures and fast forwards you into your future with purpose and potential. You are assured of His blessing on your life because of His grace and unconditional love.
The truth is, no one deserves this kind of grace. Don’t let anyone judge or condemn you. Knowing and understanding God’s grace will change not only your life, but those around you. Let God use you to be a living example of His grace to someone today.