Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for Gomer: A Shame Filled Story of Greater Love

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio
Taking off the Mask, Acrylic painting by Margot

Hosea 1
1 - The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.  2 - The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, [departing] from the LORD.  3 - So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. 


There are two Gomers in the bible one is a man the grandson of Noah's son Japheth. The other is Hosea whoring wife. What is astounding in this story is that Hosea treatment of this unfaithful woman is a picture for all of us of God's grace and willingness to forgive and even rescue us from the places where we have become a slave to sin. I found myself wondering why I had chosen Gomer for G for the A-Z challenge - she is the only G woman's name found in the bible. This post has not taken me in quite the direction I had expected. One does not turn to a life of whoredoms and prostitution unless there is something that has been damaged and broken in their self image.  Even in Israel in her relationship with God is broken and goes off trying to fix herself by turning to other gods. Gomer has a broken self image and perhaps you do as well. I pray God will minister to you thorough this post.

So let me start at the end of the story. Gomer has sold herself into slavery. She stands at the auction block, hopeless, alone, filled with regrets. There is no prince on white horse who will come and save her now. She is too ugly and broken who could possibly want or love someone so wretched? She's gone too far this time. Even her lovers no longer want her.

She was once married to a prophet in Israel. Sure he loved her but he was one of those guys that when God said go and speak a word he was on his way. Sadly at the time she was busy with a new baby and they had quickly grown apart. Her second and third children were not really his. She knew he knew. Just look at what he said God said to name them in Hosea 1.

“Call her name Lo-Ruhamah,
For I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, But I will utterly take them away.

Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. Then God said:
“Call his name Lo-Ammi, For you are not My people, And I will not be your God.

It was clear everyone knew her shame filled story.  In the beginning she was surprised Hosea had even noticed her. She was not exactly prophets wife material. She was the daughter of a woman named Diblaim, they called her honey bun or double cakes. She was known for her indulgent life.  Strongs concordance says it is a male name so maybe double cakes is her father. Perhaps he was the town baker and she was raised on sweet cakes. Maybe she was abused and in her shame and desire to be loved she turned to prostitution.  What we know is that she was an unlikely choice for one of God's prophets. Actually their life was a living prophecy on display for everyone to see. What was happening in their personal life was a picture of what was happening to Israel.

 I was taking a pile of Sports Illustrated out to the recycle bin when an article in the December 17, 2012 issue caught my eye. I never read Sports Illustrated. The article was called Stand Up and Speak Out. It followed the lives of two young athletes who had been sexually abused and how they had spent so much of their lives living in shame and fear of their coaches, babysitters and bullies. To speak up would mean loosing their big dream that they had worked so hard to achieve. " Here was the strange twist that no one grasped a the time: The athletes with the biggest futures could be the easiest prey, blackmailed by their own dreams". How could such an epidemic have gone unnoticed. Coaches, priests, babysitters, close relatives, family friends, teachers... people you should have been able to trust. "How could it possibly ravage that many - one in four girls and one in six boys -with some experts convinced that the true number of all children was one in three." More and more people are finally finding the courage to speak out about the horrors of sexual abuse that were inflicted upon them and the years they silently suffered too ashamed to speak out. Yet the real freedom does not come until they could speak out about what had happened to them, and how it had affected their lives.

I suppose this story of Gomar makes me think about that article that grieves my heart for a couple generations of children who have been affected by this retched sinful illness that has plagued our society. It pushed my buttons because I have some dear friends who have been sexually abused.

So Israel has turned from following God. Israel is thought of as a wife to God and her turning to other gods and delivers grieves Gods heart and was seen as adultery. The story of Gomer and Hosea is a troubling and yet beautiful redemption story. In spite of repeated unfaithfulness, Hosea loves Gomer. Even when she chooses to turn away from him to find other lovers to meet her needs and makes choices that will destroy her life. He loves her still. 

So we find her on the slave auction block...She does not even look up, who cares who buys her, her life is over she might as well be dead. Maybe that is you. You've tried to follow God but you keep messing up. You might think that you will turn to God after you clean up the mess you call your life. 
Like Hosea, God is there to redeem you from the slave auction block. Hoses is there he has come with the money and grain to buy her freedom, a freedom that is so undeserved. 

Hosea 2
16 “And it shall be, in that day,” Says the Lord,
That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’
17 For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals,
And they shall be remembered by their name no more.
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them With the beasts of the field, With the birds of the air,
And with the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth,
To make them lie down safely. 

Heres the beautiful part. 
19 “I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and mercy;
20 I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know the Lord.

Maybe you are one the many who were abused by adults that you or your family trusted. You may have been neglected and not cared for by parents too lost in their own troubles and addictions to care what was happening to you.  Gomer's name means vanishing and perhaps like her in your shame you have tried to vanish and to be invisible. You may be hearing the chains rattling on the trunks where you have tried to lock your memories. You may find the weight of the depression or the need to keep crazy busy, running to avoid facing the abuse that haunt you. Perhaps as you have tired to escape the pain that you have lived with for so long you have turned to addictions to try and deaden the agony that you feel.  Don't give up  - there is hope, there is healing.

God hears your cries and he comes longing to redeem you and heal your broken places. He waits for you to stop trying to fix yourself and to simply turn to Him. 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18)
 
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; Isaiah 61:1

Prayer: Lord you know the brokenness that some of those reading are facing in this moment. You know that for some this has touched some very sore places. I pray you would come and be their comforter. Help them to be defined by you and not the pain and shame of abuses done to them. For those who have harmed others and perpetuated the cycle of abuse, I pray for forgiveness. I pray Lord that you would step into their life and break the cycle and see that it does not affect yet another generation. I pray for those who have turned to addictive behaviors or substances and for those mired down by depression, shame or guilt. I pray Lord that you would come in this moment and set them free and that they would turn to you in thankfulness and love as their redeemer.

I hear someone saying "Its too late for me, the pain is to great to bear". Stop trying to bear it on your own, and turn to Jesus he loves you more than you can imagine. Yes you are broken but he will mend you. Yes you are bound in chains but He holds the keys.



4 comments:

  1. I heard some of the greatest advice this weekend: "The perfect place to begin is exactly where you are right now." There's nowhere to go but up if you're at your low point, right?

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    1. Awesome advice, thanks for sharing it Crystal.

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Blessings, Margot

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. You quote a scripture I love and had forgotten:
    The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18) God bless you, Margot!

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