Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
— 2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV

If you have gone to church very long, then you are probably very familiar with this verse. You may have even heard this verse referenced many times to make the point that a child of God should not marry an unbeliever. This is a common teaching in the church. Now, I do not disagree with this interpretation of the verse, although I do believe its implications apply to more than just marriage. Our agreement that God’s  Word teaches his children not to marry unbelievers is the reason that so many of us struggle to understand God’s command to Hosea to marry a whore.

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.”
— Hosea 1:2 ESV 

The same God who told Hosea to marry a whore led the apostle Paul to write that his children should not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Why is that? What are we missing? Well, I hope you don’t expect me to answer these questions. I don’t know. Somebody else will have to try to answer that for you. Instead, let’s talk about a few things I do know.  

I know that God commanded Hosea to marry a whore, so he married a woman named Gomer. She gave birth to two sons and a daughter. She turned from Hosea to a life of whoredom. God commanded Hosea to go and rescue her from that life and love her again. Then Hosea found Gomer, paid to get her back, made her his wife, and loved her again. 

So Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she became pregnant and gave Hosea a son… Soon Gomer became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said to Hosea, “Name your daughter Lo-ruhamah…” After Gomer had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she again became pregnant and gave birth to a second son. And the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi…”
— Hosea 1:3,6,8-9 NLT 

Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover.” … So I bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine. Then I said to her, “You must live in my house for many days and stop your prostitution. During this time, you will not have sexual relations with anyone, not even with me.”
—Hosea 3:1-3 NLT 

I may not have known Gomer personally, but I know a few things about her. I know she was chosen by Hosea to be his wife. I know that he loved her. I know she turned from him to a rebellious life of whoredom. I know that he paid to get her back. I know that he made her his wife again. And I know that he loved her again.  

How do I know all this? I know this because God said it in his Word. And God doesn’t lie. 

Now, I may not know you personally, but I know a few things about you. 

I know that you were created by God to be his. 

For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
— Job 33:4 NLT

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
— Psalm 139:13 NLT

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!
—Psalm 139:16-17 NLT 

I know that he loved you. 

The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
— Exodus 34:6 ESV 

I know you have turned from him to a rebellious life of whoredom.

We have all strayed like sheep. Each one of us has turned to go his own way.
—  Isaiah 53:6 GW

There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one
— Romans 3:10-12 NIV

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
— Romans 3:23 NIV 

I know that he paid to get you back. 

For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.
— 1 Peter 1:18-20 NLT 

I know that he desires to make you his again. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
— John 3:16-17 ESV 

And I know that he will love you again. 

They will be my people, and I will be their God. And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever… And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me.
— Jeremiah 32:38-40 NLT 

How do I know all this? I know this because God said it in his Word. And God doesn’t lie.