The prophet reluctantly put one foot in front of the other as he trudged along the dusty city road. He could feel the stares of the neighbors boring into him. They could tell he was on a mission. And when Hosea the prophet was on a mission, it meant God had spoken to him. A few followed, hoping to hear what the Lord had said.
He surprised all of them when he stopped at the house of Diblaim. He lowered his head for a moment. The sweltering sun was beating down on his head.
Are you sure about this, Lord? I wish these people weren’t here. It’s only going to make it harder. But taking a deep breath, he knocked on the heavy, beat-up wooden door. A servant girl answered and Hosea spoke.
“Is the master of the house here? I have come to speak about his daughter, Gomer.” The girl disappeared and Hosea heard some muttering in the small crowd behind him.
“It’s good to see that promiscuous wretch get what she deserves.”
“I’m surprised it’s taken this long.”
“You think he’ll stone her?”
“I hope so.”
Diblaim came to the door. His beard was whiter than Hosea remembered and his eyes held bags around them. More wrinkles lined his face, and his entire body portrayed weariness.
“You’ve come about my daughter, prophet?”
“Yes, it won’t take long. Something needs to be done about Gomer.”
At the mention of her name, her father’s eyes became pools of sorrow, embarrassment, and defeat. Everyone knew Gomer was a loose young woman, and her activity had aged her father significantly. Hosea could see the father feared what the Lord had to say about Gomer.
The sun seemed to grow hotter. The prophet drew in a breath. “If it pleases you, I would like to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage.”
Diblaim’s jaw dropped and his eyes grew wide; the crowd behind Hosea burst into confused agitation. No one could believe what they just heard.
“M-Marry my daughter?”
Diblaim sputtered. He searched Hosea’s resolute expression, seeing no hints of dishonesty. “You truly are a man of God. I’ve been praying and hoping someone would come and set her straight.” He lowered his head in gratitude as tears filled his eyes. “Prophet, I cannot think of anyone who would honor me more than you. I am more than pleased to have you marry my daughter.”
Hosea could still hear the crowd milling around behind him. Some sounded intrigued, some were upset, but all were surprised.
“What on earth—?”
“Surely the Lord wouldn’t ask him to do this.”
“I think Hosea’s lost his mind!”
Hosea took another deep breath as he heard the anger and confusion behind him. God, I knew this wasn’t going to be easy.
Diblaim invited the prophet inside. But before he stepped through the doorway, he noticed a pair of deep, dark eyes staring at him through the window. She was tucked behind a thick curtain, and her expression was that of confusion, and perhaps disgust. Hosea realized he was looking at his bride. It took him all of his courage to smile at her.
But she didn’t smile back.
* * *
I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved.’ And to those I called ‘Not my people,’ I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’
And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’
Hosea 2:23 (NLT)
To be continued…
Copyright 2012 by Molly Anderson. Use by permission only.