So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and five bushels of barley. I said to her, “You are to live with me many days. You must not be promiscuous or belong to any man, and I will act the same way toward you” (3:2-3 CSB).
The book of Hosea portrays the amazing love and grace of the Lord God towards his sinful people, Israel. As we have said, it is a biting, heart-wrenching portrayal of adult love in the worst conditions. In presenting this love story, God uses the marital experiences of his faithful prophet Hosea toward his unfaithful wife, Gomer, to show his desire to be reconciled with his people. God. We usually think of the parable of the Lost Sons (a.k.a. the Prodigal Son), as a remarkable picture of God’s love, and it is. But this account reveals the “ugly side” of the cost of true love.
Here we read a painful experience (3:2-3). Hosea must purchase Gomer from her sin.
She had fallen so low that the only way out was for her husband to buy her back. Sin promises freedom from restraint, but it always leads to a deeper, darker, degrading, disgusting bondage. Apparently, Hosea had to scrape together the purchase price, because he paid partly in silver and partly in goods. Love is costly! No illustration is perfect in all points, because God is no beggar but infinitely rich! But his love toward rebellious sinners was costly for him, because he had to give his dearly loved Son to redeem us.
Do you catch the emotion in this? Hosea had to pay the price to free Gomer, because she sold herself into the bondage of sin. We, too, sold ourselves, and only God could pay the redemption price! “Amazing love, how can it be”?
Hosea restructures their relationship. As her liberator, indeed, you could say her owner, he tells her how she must now live. In the same way, the Lord has his owner’s rights over us. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV; cf. 1 Pt 1:17-19).
But Hosea wanted more than obedience. He wanted a wife who responded to him in love. Therefore, he promised his faithfulness to her. Although sin leads us to wander from God, he promises to be faithful to his people always (cf. Hebrews 13:5).
Next, the story points to a better future. For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days (Hosea 3:4-5).
The Lord through Hosea applied the story for Israel’s benefit. The immediate future was not bright (3:4). Israel would be wrecked militarily and politically. With their rebellious attitude, God would not let them off easily. There would be benefits, surprisingly, for Israel would in that extended time become rid of idolatrous practices. It was a hard cure, but God has preserved his ancient people through the judgment.
The more distant future would be extremely bright (3:5). God promised that Israel would someday return to the Lord and her rightful king. Her hope lies in the line of David, which means in David’s greater Son, Jesus the Messiah.
God points to the time; this return will happen in the last days, which are the days in which we live. God has promised that the Israelites will be restored to the kingdom of God. Today, we believing Gentiles and a few believing Jews comprise the chosen people of God. But God has promised that the Jews will one day be restored to him. There is hope for Israel, but that hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 11:25-32)!
Pray for the salvation of Israel. God’s purpose in election cannot fail. Since this is so, we ought to pray more zealously. But first, are you yourself right with God?
Grace and peace, David