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Love stories can be some of the great stories ever told. These tales describe exploits of joy, love, happiness, hope, and never giving up on your family, your friends, and the ones you believe in. One such love story is the tale of Hosea and Gomer, which is indicated in the Hebrew Bible, and which took place almost 3000 years ago. The story begins in the kingdom of Israel. It was prosperous, and the people were coming corrupted. They were even worshipping other gods. God decided to take action, and speak through Hosea, a prophet. He told Hosea to take a wife who was a harlot. Although the meaning of the words is ambiguous—He might have meant a wife who was a prostitute, or one who was from the north, where “spiritual adultery” (i.e., worshipping other gods was done)—God wanted to use Hosea’s relationship with her to admonish the unfaithful Israelites.

The woman was Gomer, and she married the young prophet. They loved each other dearly, and they were overjoyed. Gomer became pregnant with a son, Jezreel. But after the birth, Gomer was restless, and it was clear that she wasn’t happy. She spent time away from home, and it seemed that she was having an affair. Once again, Gomer became pregnant, this time with a girl.   God instructed that her name be Loruhamah, which meant “unloved,” and it seemed that she was the child of another man. Her name symbolized Israel’s departure from the love of God.

Soon after, Gomer gave birth to a second son, and God named him Lo-ammi; this signified “not my people,” once again symbolizing the way Israel had been alienated from the one true God. Once again, the birth proved that Gomer was not being faithful to her husband. By now, everyone knew of her adultery. Hosea still loved her deeply, however; he pleaded with her, and tried to make her stay with him. She ran off with her lovers, who promised her luxurious and material wealth. Although Hosea tried to stop her, and she did come back to him on numerous occasions, she always ended up leaving him for other men.

Finally, Gomer left for good, and Hosea’s heart ached. He still loved her deeply, despite everything. God had told him to love her as He himself loved. Hosea’s lover abandoned her, and she sold herself into the slave market. Hosea did not give up, and listened when God said to find her. So, Hosea searched incredibly hard so that he might find her. He found, and bought her out of slavery. She was weak and disheveled, dirty and destitute. He restored her as his wife, and—while there is nothing else in Scripture about them—we can assume that God made use of Hosea’s forgiveness to change Gomer’s life for the better.

This story is incredibly beautiful and sweet, even though it’s tragic. At any one of those opportunities, Hosea could have decided to leave Gomer, and never return. But he didn’t. Instead, he kept going after her—looking for her, pleading with her, taking her away from her troubles. He loved her so much that he didn’t want her to suffer, and he was willing to do anything for her. That is true love—never giving up on someone you love, and always trying to do the right thing, even when countless others in your position would have turned their backs. Hosea never gave up for what he believed him, and he never once abandoned his wife. Their reward was that they had a happy life together.