The wilderness is not supposed to be a place of barrenness for the child of God. Actually, it is supposed to be a place of great fruitfulness. Instead of expecting a desert look for an oasis. Run to the wilderness and embrace it.
Hosea was a prophet that God told to marry a prostitute by the name of Gomer. Hosea’s name means ‘salvation’. It is related to Joshua and Jeshua [Jesus]. Joshua and Jeshua mean ‘Yahweh is salvation’.
Gomer’s name means complete. The interesting thing about Gomer is that she was not living out the reality of her God-given identity. She was a broken person that was was in need of love and went from man to man to try and find true love and acceptance.
Hosea and Gomer’s relationship was rocky at best. The whole story is about the powerful influence pure love [Salvation] has in the life of someone struggling to manage themselves. God, through Hosea [salvation] presented Gomer with the opportunity to receive love at a level that had escaped her grasp. God knew that Gomer needed salvation [Hosea]. Gomer’s need was much greater than being forgiven. Since Christ came with the message of salvation it’s meaning has been reduced to forgiveness. Salvation means wholeness. Gomer needed to be made whole so that she could be complete. She needed an encounter that would bring her to her true identity.
In chapter two verse fourteen we see God saying this, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness and speak kindly to her.” God is taking the initiative for the restoration process to begin and to be completed. God always takes the initiative. That is what happened when He sent the Word to become human. The verse says that God will ‘allure’ her, ‘bring her into the wilderness’, and ‘speak kindly to her.’
God is demonstrating His ability to manage Himself when others cannot or do not manage themselves. If we believe God to be angry, vengeful and looking to punish then this verse may give us trouble. He allured Gomer. To allure means to be wide, open, spacious and to seduce. What we see here is God’s promise to hold nothing back in regard to His love. It reveals that God is bigger than the problem. It also reveals that God is able to be vulnerable [open].
The word seduce seems to be a problem, especially with our modern understanding of the word. We think of it in terms of illicit, perverted behavior. Obviously, we know that does not describe a holy God whose love is always pure. So what can we learn from the truth that God seduced Gomer? Seduce comes from the latin ‘se’ which means away or apart and ‘ducere’ which means to lead. God, in alluring Gomer, redirected her from a life of abuse, shame and dangerous exposure toward a life of genuine, deep and meaningful love. God was showing her the path to becoming who she really was ~ complete.
We also see in verse fourteen that God brought Gomer to the wilderness. God brought her there, He did not banish her there. This was not a plan of isolation and punishment. This was not a “go to your room and do without everything you ever enjoyed”. This was a let us, you and Me, go to a place where we can reconnect and deepen our love for one another. This was a place of intimacy.
For the believer, the wilderness is a place of intimacy. Intimacy means into-me-see. It is a place of getting real. It is said of Adam and Eve that they were naked and not ashamed. This means so much more than they did not have clothes on. It means that were okay in their own skin. It means that they were comfortable being themselves. It means they were not trying to control each other and it means that they were real with each other. Adam and Eve were open with each other. My, how far has having an open marriage fallen.
Oh the wilderness. The wilderness can be a pasture, uninhabited land, and large tracts of wilderness around a city. This does not sound like a desert does it? In a pasture the Shepherd feeds us. He gives us rest in green pastures. In a wilderness we are close enough to civilization without being crowded by it. It also means uninhabited. Uninhabited means unoccupied, not populated, not lived in, empty, vacant and unsettled.
Salvation wants to go with us into the areas of our lives that are not productive and release life. Proverbs tells us that where there is no ox the stall is clean but much increase comes with an ox. Emptiness is way overrated. God wants to fill every area of our lives. The mind that has not been renewed says, ‘Lord, more of you and less of me.’ The renewed mind realizes that God already had less of us and He wants all of us. Our prayer should be, ‘More of You in more of me.’
Now, what are the uninhabited areas of our lives that are uninhabitable. That describes much of Gomer’s life. She was a mess. We don’t know why she was a mess. We don’t know why she could not be satisfied in relationships. We do not know what drove her to prostitution. What we do know is God sent salvation to fix all of her problems.
All of us have areas in our lives that are uninhabitable. Each of us have stuff that God cannot bless. It may be ugly sin or it may be lies we believe, places we refuse to look at or just life in general that gets in His way.
The beauty of salvation is that those areas do not scare it. Salvation thrives in the junk rooms of people’s lives. So God brought Gomer into those areas of her life. Salvation never enters those areas to join them. Salvation enters in to reform them. Salvation gives new life to old things that are dead.
And finally verse fourteen tells us that God spoke kindly to Gomer and comforted her. Love never punishes. Love never demeans. Love never puts people down. Love always elevates people to what God sees in them. Loves never focuses on the problems people have. Love always brings out the best in people.
It is the kindness of God that leads people to repent. Genuine repentance leads to life, which means departing from everything that is dead. If our ‘I’m sorry’ does not lead to God’s heart and God’s way then it is void of genuine meaning.
God is love! And love [God] is patient, kind, and is not provoked. Love does not change when it is confronted with sin. Love is powerful and knows that in the end it will wind. Love never fails!
For HIS Glory!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury