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.” (Hosea 3:1)
God reconciles us to himself by calling us, redeeming us, and sanctifying us.
- Calling (v. 1)
Hosea illustrates the way God calls sinners; he goes to them and calls them from where they are. Hosea did not send a letter or text. He did not stand on his porch and yell as loudly as he could. He did not send an intermediary. Hosea went to the brothel where Gomer set up shop and called her to come home. But notice that God says this action was, “showing love.” Further notice that God doesn’t ask Hosea to do anything that he was unwilling to do himself. No, he tells Hosea to imitate what he had already done toward Israel. In fact, God pursues his people before we are worthy and despite persistent unfaithfulness.
- Redemption (vv. 2-3)
Next in this pageant of God’s love, Hosea purchases Gomer from those who are trafficking her. Though she already belongs to him legally through marriage, he pays an additional price. It would have been humiliating for a husband to do such a thing. He was probably mocked by those who demanded the price as one who could not satisfy his wife and jeered by others who thought he was a fool to expend any more resources on this ingrate. But he did so nevertheless. After the purchase, he also pronounced a condition that should have been obvious, “You must be faithful to me as I will be faithful to you.” Redemption is always costly. For God to remain perfectly loving and perfectly just, it required immense personal sacrifice. This costly redemption merits a response from us, namely faithfulness.
- Sanctification (vv. 4-5)
Some authors try to overcomplicate Hosea’s demands on Gomer (3) and the probation prescribed for Israel (4). Rather than speculating as to whether Hosea was demanding sexual abstinence even within their marriage or asking why licit things like a king and ephod are denied Israel along with illicit things like idols, it is best to focus on the big idea. God is making clear through Hosea’s example that life after redemption must be one of faithfulness. Just as it would be pure insanity for Hosea to redeem Gomer and then allow her to persist in sinning against their marriage, so God reasons with Israel that those he redeems must live loyally and gratefully for him.
- What/Who are some circumstances/people God has placed in your life that you can now see he was using to pursue you? What does this show you about God’s love for you?
- Can you think of an example when someone did something for you or gave you something that you knew cost them a lot? How did it make you feel toward that person? How does this change our motivation for faithfully following Christ?
- What is something God has chosen not to give you or a challenge you face in life that causes you to question God’s love? How does viewing this through the lens of Jesus’ sacrifice for you help place it in a new perspective?