The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. 3 Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.” 4 For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. 5 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 3:1-5 NIV)
This passage is a beautiful picture of redemption. Gomer may or may not have entered this particular adulterous relationship voluntarily, but the truth is that she is owned by another man and Hosea is required to buy her back. Most people don’t understand that this is the truth of their lifestyle. We like to think that we are free and in control of our lives not realizing that we have sold ourselves into bondage. Hosea redeems or buys Gomer back. Redemption is a transaction. Hosea negotiates with Gomer’s owner and pays the price and Gomer is his. We were once owned by Satan whether we acknowledged it or not. Jesus died on the cross and bought us back. This is where Hosea’s relationship with Gomer, God’s relationship with Israel, and God’s relationship with us have some differences.
What God desires in all these situations is reconciliation, the restoration of a loving and intimate relationship. The process begins with redemption but doesn’t end there. Hosea brings Gomer into his house and they will live together. She will be faithful to him and he will be faithful to her. The text doesn’t tell us whether an intimate relationship develops between them. God does tell us that what will happen to the Israelites. They will go into exile and lose their freedom. They will also lose the provision, protection, and pleasure that He wants them to experience. Sometime in the future they will recognize what they are missing, accept the redemption that Jesus provided, and be reconciled to God. It will be their choice.
Our struggle is that the people around us do not recognize God. They have no memory of a relationship with Him. They do not realize they are in bondage and have no felt need to be redeemed.
But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. (John 16:7-11 NIV)
We must live as redeemed and reconciled people. We must pray that the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, would be active in us and the lost world around us to convince them that there is someone else who matters.
For my grandchildren:
Live like you belong to Jesus because you do.