Hosea Redeems His Wife
3 And the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.
Hosea 3 Commentary
by Hank Workman
It was the shady side of town, a place where priests stayed clear of, let alone any prophet worth his reputation. The loud bawdy ruckus that often pierced the sky marked where sin was tangibly seen. Travelers often visited this area as they could find what they were looking for in an anonymous sexual encounter. The houses laid out row upon row along the cobblestone streets laden with all kinds of opportunities, from the young boys to the women and men who sold themselves to make a living or were under the control of another in paying off a debt. It was the place where the marginalized of society called home.
Hosea’s feet led him down these well-worn streets. The chatter stopped as they saw this man of God, step into one of the row houses. “What was he doing here?” they cackled. Somehow he knew what house Gomer was in. Somehow he was aware of what act even she would be in as the curtain was pulled back. Somehow he knew that what he was about to do would be the hardest thing yet God had ever asked of him.
Gomer in all of her past redemption yet now living in squalor never expected to see her husband again. As so often the case with people, she had compartmentalized this choice she made. This was her lot in life. This was her calling. As a dog returned to his vomit, she had thrown herself and body back to the stained bedding refusing to think about how cheap her life was.
“Yes, that’s her,” Hosea quietly said. “What’s the full price to buy her?” He shelled out 15 shekels of silver and gave 1 ½ homers of barley. Gomer had been bought back.
In stunned silence, Gomer walked alongside her husband back to the house that had been home. Why would someone do this? How could anyone see me worthy of such an act? Pushing back tears, she hung her head in shame.
The calling of Hosea had marked a new level. Not only had he been asked to marry a prostitute, but he was also asked to buy her back and redeem her after she returned to her lovers. He risked everything his role and life had been built upon in following what God requested of him.
And the request had not only been ludicrous, it seemed impossible. God said, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress.”Hosea 3:1
Love a woman. He was not just to buy her back, he was to love her. He was to show her that love despite her choices and waywardness. The past was to be put in the past as he was called to freely without any reservations, love Gomer who was his wife.
Jesus’ feet led him down the well-worn path where sin resided. Having left the glory of the throne room, the grandeur and holiness, the fellowship of the Father He intimately had, he stepped into the sin-engulfed world.
“Yes, that’s him,” he said. “Yes, that’s her. How much to buy them back?” The price would be His very life. The price would require his brutal and painful murder. The price would make no sense to anyone as where we found ourselves by our own choices had decided this was the life we were set to have. And He would and does love us like a husband to wife. He loves us freely without reservation.
I must admit I’m overwhelmed by these images. For the life of Gomer, the choices she made reflect the very heart of humankind and their driven sinful nature. The choices she made reflect me as well as you. It was for love that God called Hosea to go and do what he did. It was for love that Jesus redeemed us, buying us back from the sin marked life we’ve lived and has seen so inescapable. Choosing to remember the past no more, he loves freely and deeply those whom He has bought back.
Hosea 3 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
What impacts me the most about this short chapter in Hosea 3 is the fact that God makes the first move. Scripture tells us in Romans 5…
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”Romans 5:8
While we were still whoring around like Gomer, Christ died for us. Think about that. Nothing was going to change in our lives until Christ made the first move. Jesus stepped forward and said, “I want to love you despite the fact that you flirt with every other pleasure on this Earth.” He committed to loving us through our adultery. It’s a scandalous offer.
God makes the first move, and it costs a high price just like it did for Hosea. In the same way, it costs us a high price to follow Him today. The fascinating point to consider is that many of us are ashamed to go all in for Jesus. It may not seem like it because we put on a good front. But deep down, there are costly sacrifices we would struggle to make for His Name. There’s always a cost, but Jesus wasn’t ashamed to come find us while we were still giving away our hearts to sin. He not only made the first move in saving us, but He made the first move in exemplifying what obedience to the Father really looks like. It costs everything.
This is why Jesus urges believers to count the cost. He doesn’t want us to be uninformed about sacrificial living.
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?Luke 14:27-28 ESV
Let’s think honestly and practically about this chapter. Who would ever really do what Hosea did without the Lord revealing it to them first? Who would love the unlovable and forgive the unforgivable in their own flesh? Who would actually take back their spouse after they had become a whore, selling their body to whoever desired them? Not one of us would think that was logical or worth it in the end. A love like this is not of this world. And yet, while we were still sinners, that’s exactly what God did for us.
Through that love, we have the power to follow. When we struggle with the thought of forgiving the unforgivable or loving the unlovable, then I would imagine we haven’t really understood what’s been done for us. If we did, we would realize the hypocrisy of accepting forgiveness for our own prostitution while continuing to hold the same charge against others. Yes, it is difficult. Yes, it may even seem impossible. But the truth remains. While we were still sinners…
God reveals that not only are we Gomer in the story, but because of his Son, we are now Hosea as well. Jesus, today let us find Your truth and grace in Gomer’s story and Your unrelenting obedience in Hosea’s story!