Casual def – easy going; happening by chance; fortuitous; without definite or serious intention; careless or offhand; passing; seeming or tending to be indifferent to what is happening; apathetic; unconcerned.
The words, take to yourself, meant for Hosea to make Gomer his. It was a relationship to be had solely with each other. He was to be hers. She was to be his. They were to be betrothed, united to, joined with, married, in a lifelong commitment. Him for her. Her for him. They would make promises and vows of faithfulness and commitment to each other. Gomer would be Hosea’s personal treasured possession, he was to be hers: an intimate relationship where “the two shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, Mark 10:8 NIV) in every part of their lives together.
God, You are touching my heart deeply with this: take to yourself. It is central to all You want to communicate in this book. It is Your personal story from the beginning of time. It is what was Yours but has been stolen from You. Is not, take to yourself, in essence, the same as with Adam and Eve – the inviting of them into an intimate relationship with You – and equally, what You have intended for us? It is this same pain of broken relationship that You have carried since the Garden of Eden. And it all comes out, the heart of Your heartbreak, in this second verse in Hosea:
Adulterous. The whole sentence here is a contradiction! Adulterous is opposite to take to yourself. It is where intimacy is had with someone other than Hosea. By definition, adultery is “the voluntary sexual relationship between a married person and someone else other than his or her lawful spouse”. Instead of commitment to the one, intimacy with the one, set aside for the one, united with the one, the adulterous person is with someone else other than this one.
The word adulterous is used in Your story of Hosea alongside these words: promiscuous, whore, prostitute, harlot. All are used in this book – most are derogatory terms for a derogatory business. And in this business (not an intimate relationship), payment is received for an act that is meant to be given to one person as a gift. Gomer is unfaithful to the promises and vows she has made and gives the intimacy intended for the one, to others. Hosea is the groom who enters this relationship with excited anticipated expectation, taking to himself, marrying, making promises to, uniting in, and having faithful intimacy with his wife.
Promiscuous. “Go, marry a promiscuous woman” (Hosea 1:2 NIV). Instead of “adulterous”, later bible translations update the word to “promiscuous”. An adulterous person may be serious in their relationship with another – perhaps they have fallen out of love with their spouse and in love with someone else, but having the serious intent of an intimate relationship with the new partner. Promiscuous adds to its meaning, casual, suggesting an apathetic, blasé, indifferent, unresponsive, cool, disengagement towards the person. And it’s the use of this word, promiscuous, that is what is breaking my heart as I think of You, God. It is an indiscriminate mingling and association with a number of sexual partners on a casual basis.
A number of partners on a casual basis!
The picture here is of You, God, the groom, having made promises and vows of commitment, faithfulness, and intimacy to Israel – Your bride, Your treasured possession, that You took to Yourself to love – only to find out that she has taken and given herself to others for casual sex.
In this scenario, I feel that sick-to-the-pit-of-your-stomach thing that You must feel. The word casual means, “happening by chance; fortuitous; without definite or serious intention; careless or offhand; passing; seeming or tending to be indifferent to what is happening; apathetic; unconcerned.”
A lack of commitment, without serious intention, offhand sexual relations with a number of partners. To You casual means betrayal. To You it means rejection.
An indifferent, unconcerned rejection of You and an apathetic, don’t care attitude towards Your feelings and intentions. This is the pain You experience, God – Gomer’s, Israel’s, humanity’s, betrayal of You for casual sex with many lovers!
Adulterous. Promiscuous. Casual. These are words of heartache. You use this story of a whore, Gomer, married to a faithful husband, Hosea, as a parable – a story with a spiritual meaning. It is figuratively, yet literally treating the subject of Your pain through the guise of Hosea and Gomer’s marriage. Evidenced in the physical casual sexual acts of Gomer, is an emotional and spiritual picture You convey of Your heart.
A causal lover, a promiscuous partner, a prostitute is not faithful to one. She does not engage in intimacy. The relationship she has with many others is not intimate. She does not allow herself to be vulnerable. It is not a loving personal familiarity or closeness that she shares with her lovers. There is no knowledge of deep togetherness or understanding of the one she is with, coupled with warmness or affection. There is no becoming one. Instead, it is just a superficial, non-committal, casual, non-exclusive ‘arrangement’. Vulnerability, closeness, the sharing of hopes and dreams are not only buried and refused surface time, they become the enemy, yet these were the very things you longed for with Israel.
And for Gomer’s husband, Hosea, it is an excruciatingly painful reality. Just as it is for You with us…
(Credit for this video to Irving Bible Church and the production team)
You created us for love. You want intimacy with us. How Your heart must be aching over us.
Continued in next week’s blog…
[Hosea was a prophet of God to the nation of Israel. It is where much of this journey of love was awakened. His story is found in the Old Testament part of the Bible. Read more here.]