Love in a Broken Vessel: A Novel tells the story of an Old Testament prophet named Hosea, who is commanded by God to marry a prostitute named Gomer. This prostitute represents faithless Israel, a nation that has broken God’s heart with its adulterous worship of pagan gods. We’re given a few key details about Gomer at the beginning of Hosea’s first chapter:
“…the LORD said to [Hosea], ‘Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.’ So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.”
What We Know Of Gomer
- Gomer was and/or will be an adulterous wife to Hosea.
- She had born and/or will bear children of unfaithfulness.
- She was the daughter of Diblaim (a man mentioned nowhere else in Scripture).
- The first son she bore to Hosea was his child.
What We Think Of Gomer
I don’t know many prostitutes personally. How about you? In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever met a woman who’s had to survive by selling herself to men for their pleasure. My concept of a prostitute has been formed by television and movie representations of the profession, and I’m sure–like everything else–it’s skewed for dramatic effect.
However, I’m all too familiar with shame and personally acquainted with the self-loathing that accompanies it. I came to know Jesus at the age of nineteen, long after I’d squandered my innocence. One doesn’t need to be a prostitute to feel repulsed by your own shame. I know what we think of Gomer because I know what I thought of myself.
What Isaiah Thought Of Gomer
Early in the story, the young Isaiah mocks Gomer, accusing her of having a “black heart” that doesn’t know how to love. He says she represents everything God despises about Israel. When I started writing this book, I agreed with the words I put in Isaiah’s mouth.
What the Perfect Husband Knows Of Gomer
As soon as I wrote Isaiah’s indictment against Gomer, my heart broke. Is that really what she represented? Everything God hates? Was I everything God hated when Jesus died for me? It didn’t add up… So this was Hosea’s reply to Isaiah’s cutting remark:
“She’s not the symbol of all Yahweh despises in Israel. She’s all that He seeks to redeem—the brokenness, the confusion, the lost lamb that needs a shepherd.”
It was that vision of Gomer, the understanding of God’s true perception of her, that gave me the courage to keep writing when I wanted to wring her neck or let Hosea give up on her! (Which, of course, I couldn’t do because Scripture’s story wouldn’t allow it!)
- What are you most looking forward to in this story?
- What are you most dreading in this story?
- Do you have any other questions for me about Hosea and Gomer?