Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jul 15 2019 - Hosea 3 – Bought with a price

Today's chapter is very short but deeply moving. Hosea's adulterous wife has abandoned him for another man who has now, it would seem, abandoned her. Hosea is told to go and buy her back as a man might purchase the services of a prostitute. Because he loves her, he pays for her – he redeems her and makes her his own. He brings her back to his house to live with him, but without any marital relations until he has won her affection and they can live as husband and wife.

Imagine what this must have demanded of Hosea – to have to buy back the wife whom he had loved and married – the mother of his children. Imagine what it must have been like for Gomer; the humiliation of being brought back to Hosea's home followed, we trust, by a growing love for him who had shown such love for her. And all of this would have been witnessed by their neighbours and friends and would have become the main subject of gossip throughout the area.

God demanded this of Hosea because he wanted Hosea's marriage to be a living visual aid and parable which might bring Israel to its senses. God had loved his people Israel but they had turned aside to give their devotion to other gods which were no gods at all. God is going to abandon them to judgment so that they "will live for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods" (v. 4). They are about to be taken off into exile by the Assyrians. But, as we have seen, God intends this judgment to bring them to their senses so that "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" (v. 5).

Hosea's love for his rebellious wife was a picture of God's great love for his people – a love that would not let them go.

We also are a people who have rebelled against God. He created us for fellowship with himself but we have turned our back on him: "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way…" (Isaiah 53:6). But God has not been content to let us go; he has bought us back through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ: "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." The apostle Paul, writing to Christians at Corinth reminds them, and thereby reminds us, "You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

It is because of his great love for us that God paid a great price for our redemption. He gave his beloved Son over to a cruel death upon the cross when we cared nothing for him: "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). His extravagant love for us was intended to soften our hearts and draw us back in love for him – a love that is now to be shown in exclusive devotion to him.

The old Heidelberg Catechism of 1563 (with minor modernisations), begins as follows:

My only comfort in life and death is that I am not my own, but belong body and soul to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has paid the full penalty for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head, but that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.

Lord God, we make this old confession our own confession of faith, love and devoted obedience. I love you Lord because you have first loved me. Help me by your Spirit to remain faithful in my love and obedience and to be bold in telling others of your great love that they also may be drawn into your family.

Peter Misselbrook