“I had it all,” Gomer thought to herself as she drank some water and stared through the fire into her memories. She didn’t know when Phineas would return, but she prayed it wouldn’t be today. “Look at me,” she thought. “I married the most loving wonderful man there ever was, and I wasn’t satisfied with that. No, I left that life behind and traded it for this prison – what a fool I was!”
Staring into the fire, she thought back to that morning shortly after Jezreel’s birth. “There’s laundry, laundry and more laundry. Dirty diapers, breakfast to fix, then lunch and then dinner! Oh yes, and let’s not forget, I must clean the house too! And I never get a full night’s rest. No – I must get up every few hours to nurse the baby – and that may satisfy him and shut him up for awhile, or it may not. He might just decide to scream the night away. There’s got to be more out of life than this!” she shouted angrily at Hosea.
“I know you’re tired Gomer,” Hosea spoke gently to her, massaging her tense shoulders, but she angrily shrugged his hands off. “Why don’t you go lay down and rest while I take Jezreel for a walk?”
“A little ‘rest’ won’t make things right! I didn’t bank on all of this when we got married. Hosea, I’m still young – I want to have some fun, but at this rate, I’ll die of old age early. How about if I go take a walk while you stay behind, cooking and cleaning and taking care of him?” Gomer stormed, reaching for her cloak and stomping out, slamming the door behind her.
“I want to have some fun. I’m so sick of living with a prophet, always having to say the right things and do the right thing. Heaven forbid if I’m not pious enough and I laugh at an off-color joke or something. No, I must stay sober and always put everyone else first – well what about me?” Gomer continued fuming to herself as she marched through the town, kicking at the stones along the pathway and cursing loudly.
“Who cares if anyone sees me? I’ve heard how the other women talk about me – as though I’m not good enough to associate with! They’re probably just jealous anyway. I’ve seen how their husbands look at me – I could have anyone of them with just the snap of my fingers,” she said snapping her fingers, as she rounded the bend, coming to an abrupt halt as she ran headlong into Nabal, who caught her in his arms, thus preventing her from falling flat of her face.
Laughing loudly, he steadied her, looking down at her lustfully. “Be careful Gomer, there’s no telling what could happen to you if you keep storming about not watching where you’re going.”
Smiling flirtatiously, Gomer looked up at Nabal and noticed, not for the first time, how handsome he was. It boggled her mind to think of how such a handsome man would settle for that cow he was married to. Coquettishly, Gomer caressed his muscular arm, replying, “Well, isn’t it lucky that I ran into such a big strong man like you, Nabal?”
Nabal turned a deep shade of red as he pulled her closer to him, “Does that prophet realize how lucky he is to have you?”
“Well, I don’t know – does that wife of yours realize how lucky she is?”
Hitting her fist to the dirt floor, Gomer cried out in shame. “What a fool I was! My Lord, in my selfishness I ruined so many lives. I was so angry and stupid – so blind! I had everything and I threw it all away for a little fun.”
She remembered how she enjoyed the attention and the gifts that first Nabal, then others lavished on her. Wincing, she remembered walking home later that day to a clean house and the sound of Hosea singing to Jezreel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29MdtDlpNrQ (open link in new tab and continue reading)
He smiled as she walked inside, never once suspecting what she had done that day, welcoming her back, loving her with arms wide open. “See Jezreel?” he said softly. “I told you Mama would return soon. I love you, Gomer. I love you with a love that will never let you go,” he said gently kissing her. “I’ve been thinking since you left earlier, and you’re right. You do need more help around here and I will help you.”
Tears welled up in her eyes as remorse swept over her. “What have I done?” she thought to herself. The guilt was overwhelmingly heavy, and she found it impossible to look into Hosea’s eyes as she took Jezreel in her arms and sat down to nurse him. “I can’t believe this! I go out and cheat on him and come home to find him doing my job. What kind of fool is he anyway?” she thought with contempt…
Sighing, Gomer ate some jerky, then slowly, unsteadily, she stood, shaking from the effort, but already the food had strengthened her. She brushed the tears from her eyes with her gnarled fingers, while talking to herself. “I thought he was the fool, but I see now that I was the only fool. I went from one man to another, openly mocking Hosea and not caring, and still, he kept right on loving me.”
A few short months later, she discovered she was pregnant. Gomer was panicked – what if it wasn’t Hosea’s baby? What if he found out? But if he suspected anything, Hosea never said so during her pregnancy. He kept right on loving her, but when her daughter was born, he named her Lo-Ruhamah, which means not loved, saying, “… for I (the Lord) will no longer show love to the people of Israel or forgive them. But I, the LORD their God, will show love to the people of Judah. I will personally free them from their enemies without any help from weapons or armies” (Hosea 1:6b-7 NLT).
As he spoke, Gomer’s heart pounded wildly, worriedly wondering, “Did he suspect that Lo-Ruhamah might not be his daughter? Did he know that she had been cheating on him?” He didn’t act as though he suspected anything. He still kept loving her, helping her around the house and with both children, while Gomer would disappear some days leaving the children to Hosea.
Then, after Lo-Ruhamah was weaned, Gomer found herself pregnant yet again. And when her third child, a son, was born, there was no longer any question as to whether Hosea knew what was going on. The child was of another race, and Hosea, with tears in his eyes, said, “The LORD said, “Name him Lo-Ammi — ‘Not my people’ — for Israel is not My people, and I am not their God” (Hosea 1:9 NLT).
“I’m sorry Hosea,” Gomer wept, seeing the tears and the pain in Hosea’s eyes. “Please forgive me.”
“I do forgive you Gomer,” he said as the tears flowed freely down his cheeks. “I told you before – I love you with a love that will never let you go.”
Collapsing in a heap on the floor, Gomer wept and cried out, “And I took that love and destroyed it!”
Cheryl A. Showers