1 Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans. ” 2 So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. 3 And I said to her, “You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man—so, too, will I be toward you.”
Often you will find powerful and challenging stories of God’s dealings with His people in the more obscure and skimmed-over books of the Bible. Such is the case with the book of Hosea. It is one of those books that rarely sees the light of day. It is one of those books where there are likely few, if any, hand-written notes in the margin. It is one of those books that you need the table of contents to find. That being said, the book of Hosea contains, in my opinion, one of the clearest portraits of God’s love to be found anywhere in the Bible. It is the story of God’s man Hosea and his prostitute wife Gomer. God directs Hosea to marry this woman with knowledge of her past and, what she will do in the future. Gomer continues in her ways and finds herself the property of another man who is not her husband. In the beginning of chapter three we find Hosea, again following the voice of God, off to take back his wife. Hosea finds his wife this time on an auction block, for sale, available to anyone with enough money. Imagine the shame in Hosea’s eyes and on his face as he sees his adulterous wife for sale. Imagine the anger swelling up inside of him as he looks upon her and sees what her sins have done. Imagine the whispers and finger pointing of those present at the auction that day. Imagine God demanding this much obedience. So, Hosea pays the price and buys back his wife. Most definitely a story of crazy love.
Hosea’s relationship with Gomer is a symbol of God’s love for the nation of Israel. Time and time again they left the faithful love of God and played the harlot to other gods. However, God remained true. This story is also about us. Hosea bought his wife off the auction block. The word for “bought” in verse three is the word ‘redeem’, which literally means “to purchase with a price”. There was a time in our lives what we were in a similar position to Gomer; enslaved, imprisoned, and held hostage to the power and control of sin. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of mankind was the ransom price that it took to free us. He has bought us back. He redeemed us. His blood was the purchase price. How do we respond? Do we seek constant communion with Him in prayer, or do we seek Him only when we can’t handle things ourselves. Do we share His wonderful love with others, or do we hope and count on someone else to do it? Do we follow his direction and guidance in our daily lives, regardless of where he leads, or do we just tell God that we know better?