Have you ever had a broken heart? Perhaps, your first experience with a broken heart was as a child. That first crush was a “crushing” experience. You gave your true love a note: “Do you like me? Check yes or no.” The answer was “no” and you were devastated. Your heart was broken. However, broken hearts are not just for kids or teens. (How many of you parents had to console your teenager who was just dumped?) Broken hearts are for big girls and big boys too. I remember hearing the story of a woman. Her husband came home from work one day and simply announced, “I want a divorce!” There was no warning or reason given. His mind could not be changed. She was devastated. I also had a friend who arrived home to an apartment that appeared ransacked. He discovered that his wife had taken all her stuff and anything else that was valuable and left without a word. A few days later he learned that she had actually moved to another state. The divorce papers arrived in the mail. It is no wonder that there are so many country songs about heartbreak. In heartbreak, it is not only the pain of separation. It is also the message that you are not loved, that you are not good enough, and that you are not valuable to the one that you love. It is a personal injury and It hurts… bad! Did you know that God feels heartbreak?
Hosea was a prophet. Hosea had a message for the wayward people of Israel. However, his message did not merely take the form of words. Hosea’s message was found in his tragic life of heartbreak. God commanded Hosea to marry a wife of harlotry. In other words, Hosea was to marry a prostitute! He married Gomer, however, it was not marital bliss. Gomer was not a woman who was in the habit of being faithful. She pursued other lovers. In fact, Hosea had reason to doubt if the children born into marriage were even his. Eventually, Gomer ran away and became enslaved. The names of their children not only reflect the tumultuous relationship between Hosea and Gomer, but they also represent the strained relationship between God and Israel. The children are named “Jezreel” (a place of a massacre and symbol of the violence in Israel), Lo-ruhamah (No compassion) and Lo-ammi (not my people). The relationship between Hosea and Gomer was a parallel to God’s relationship with Israel at the time. For Israel had been an unfaithful wife to the LORD. The nation of Israel had forgotten their one true God and went off in pursuit of idols. They had broken God’s covenant by indulging in all sorts of immoral acts and by embracing violence and by allowing injustice. God was heartbroken. Hosea, in his sorrow, could see the heartbreak of God.
Now, if Hosea and Gomer were your next-door neighbors, what advice would you give to Hosea? You would probably sympathize with Hosea. You would say, “Forget that woman. Move on with your life!” However, the surprise in the book of Hosea is that God commanded Hosea to seek Gomer out and rescue her from her enslavement. In a strange twist of fate, Hosea “redeemed” or bought his own wife out of slavery and brought her back home. In the same way, God has not given up on us sinners. He seeks us out. He has sent His son to die on the cross for our sins that we might be redeemed. Also, we begin to appreciate the hurt and sorrow that God feels over the human race. For we have broken His heart. Yet, God still loves you.