Lent Devotional: Hosea 3
by Jonathan Haefs
Hosea 3 (click here)
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)
Imagine it… you actually, literally hear his voice. This is something you’ve always hoped would happened, but doubted that it ever would… and then… out of nowhere… a voice. And what does God say?
“Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.” (Hosea 1:2)
Don’t worry… that’s not exactly what I was expecting either.
What would you do? Hosea obeys… he marries Gomer… and she doesn’t quit her adulterous lifestyle. In fact, she runs into the arms of so many lovers and risky situations, that she apparently landed herself in slavery.
What was Hosea to do? What was he supposed to tell their children? What would God have him do?
“Go AGAIN, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel…” (Hosea 3:1)
Hosea buys her back.
Hosea loves Gomer and refuses to let her go. She will be his, and he will be hers. He will pay any price to make sure of it.
Why did the Lord call Hosea to this lot? Why was he called to marry a woman he KNEW would be unfaithful? Why was he called to STAY with her?
God has actually been telling Hosea and us why all along. At the end of Hosea 1:2 God said that the reason Hosea was to take a prostitute as a wife was because, “the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.”
Hosea’s marriage was a living reflection of the relationship that the LORD shared with his adulterous, rebellious people who were constantly seeking after other gods. Hosea was not just going to speak a message to the people about God’s unfailing, faithful love in the face of their faithlessness… no… he was going to live that message!
Hosea would not just declare to the community what was on the heart of God… he would feel the very heart of God. Hosea’s heart and the heart of the LORD would beat in rhythm with one another to the broken beat of love.
Gomer and Hosea are a small-scale picture of a much larger reality… a larger story… the story of the people of God… an adulterous people who continually have a love affair with sin… and whose faithful groom buys her back again… this is the Gospel!
Jesus is the Gospel… and we are Gomer.
We are Gomer? I thought we began this whole “Hosea-story” by putting ourselves in Hosea’s shoes and imagining what it would have been like to hear the voice of God calling us to marry one who would be unfaithful. However, the truth of the matter is that we are not supposed to identify with Hosea… that is not our part in the Gospel story.
We are Gomer.
And to every Gomer out there… Hosea 3 has good news… Gospel news for you… God has come to redeem you and bring you back to himself. He has paid the price for your life with his own blood that you might be his and he might be yours. This is grace… undeserved, unimaginable, unlimited grace…
…and grace is good news… because grace is the only thing that can hold God and Gomer together.