What would you think if you heard one day that a pastor you know had walked into the local red light district and proposed to one of the women working as an escort, and on top of that, claimed that God had ordained it? Not to in any way de-value the worth of a prostitute, but it would be something other-worldly and the very last thing we would expect.
As crazy as the idea might sound, that's exactly what the Lord commanded to the Prophet Hosea in the Bible. Hosea 1:2 says, "When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, 'Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.'"
Why would God command a righteous prophet to take a prostitute named Gomer for a wife only to be cheated on by her? Doesn't God want marriages to be pure and to be a delight? This is where we truly understand the ways of God as being higher and greater than anything.
One of my favourite movies would have to be Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight", with Heath Ledger as Joker being my favourite villain as well. One memorable scene from the film is when the Joker sets a pile of money on fire to the shock of his cohorts. He then says, "It's not about money, it's about sending a message."
As troublesome as Hosea's marriage might have been at the onset, God had bigger plans than one bad marriage. It was about sending a message that would save thousands if not even millions of souls. God commanded Hosea to marry Gomer as a message of God's marriage to us. In many ways, God is like the righteous prophet Hosea and we are His unfaithful, stained and sinful Gomer.
We have each and everyone of us become like prostitutes to sin. Romans 3:23 says "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Our sins are no light manner. It is because of our sin that we are drawn away from the love and blessing from God. In our unfaithfulness, we have rejected the very love that has sustained us.
But God in His rich mercy still pursues us anyway. He establishes our marriage with Him, not just by an earthly contract but by the shedding of the blood of His own Son Jesus Christ. Through Jesus we are reconciled back into a glorious marriage no longer as escorts but as the bride of Christ without spot, wrinkle or blemish (Ephesians 5:27).
God sends this message out to all of us through the marriage Hosea had to Gomer that He is our righteous and holy bridegroom eager to love and win us over despite our unfaithfulness and how we as unrighteous brides are to turn to His faithful kindness and be reconciled back to Him to receive His wholeness.