Today: [Hosea 3] Hosea Redeems Gomer. In chapter 3 of Hosea we find the prophet moving to redeem Gomer his wife from her personal captivity. God put such great love in Hosea’s heart for Gomer that he would not leave her to her fate. She was unfaithful, as God’s people had been unfaithful to Him, but Hosea moves to redeem her as a type of the redeeming heart of God toward each one of us, not leaving us in sin but bringing us out to Himself.
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[Hos 3:1-5 KJV] 1 Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of [her] friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine. 2 So I bought her to me for fifteen [pieces] of silver, and [for] an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley: 3 And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for [another] man: so [will] I also [be] for thee. 4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and [without] teraphim: 5 Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.
Chapter 3 of Hosea is narrated as a first-person narrative, which is not the dominate writing style of the scripture, but makes the story conveyed in Hosea 3 very intimate and personal. The Father provokes not only marital commitment between Hosea and Gomer but puts great love in Hosea’s heart for her, in spite of repeated and inveterate unfaithfulness. This is all purposed as a prophetic demonstration of God’s love for unfaithful Israel. In spite of the proclivities in Hebrew culture for abandonment to Baal worship and the worship of other pagan deities the love of God was constant through it all and this love is demonstrated very conspicuously in the conduct of Hosea toward his wayward wife. The Lord comes “go yet, love a woman”, or “even so” regardless of Gomer’s sin.
The word woman here implicitly implies not just gender by relationship, being translated 425 times in scripture not just as “woman” but rather “wife”. The word used is the same one employed to describe Eve before the fall (Isa, or Isha), which means “out of man”. This is the original name for Eve, which was really not a name at all. Before the fall, she is so much a part of man that it did not occur to Adam to use a personal name to designate her. This is the love that Hosea felt for Gomer and the love that God feels for mankind. The very etymology of the word implies that we in our created reality originate in God, making the unfaithfulness of our heart toward Him on our part or the part of Israel in the book of Hosea that much more abominable.
The sin of Gomer in v. 1 was to look to other gods, and to love flagons of wine. Looking to other god’s is the very definition of idolatry. For us as believers it involves looking to man for what we ought to be looking to God for. In any relationship or circumstance where we draw security, a sense of well-being, or satisfaction in life from anything other than our relationship with God – that is idolatry and in the perspective of the book of Hosea, adultery against the faithfulness of God in our lives. Jesus said in Luke 17:21 that the kingdom of God is within us. Any outward dependency, therefore is for us sitting in the house of the idol, or looking to man for what we ought to be looking to God for.
Apparently, Gomer, though married to Hosea has sold herself into slavery and Hosea redeems her for 15 pieces of silver. This is double the cost of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus in Matt. 27:9. This shows us then Hosea, as a type of Christ, making double purchase of us to redeem us from sin. He doesn’t just pay the prerequisite price to redeem you – He loves you and I so much that He paid double for us to hasten the transaction. The number 15 in Hebrew is comprised of the letters “Yod Hey” meaning “the hand of God”, among other things. The word picture is that of God reaching for you with both hands, to lay hold on us and bring us out of sin just as Hosea laid hold on Gomer to redeem her out of her own personal captivity.
Included in the price that Hosea pays for Gomer is a homer of barley. Barley is the earlier harvest crop, harvested around the time of Passover. This speaks to us in connection with Jesus as our Passover and the fact that God hastens to redeem us and does not wait or delay. We often think God is letting us languish in suffering, particularly when it is of our own making, as in the case of Gomer, but in fact God hastens to redeem us, He has no desire to leave us to “learn our lesson” or to allegedly suffer sufficiently before He will act, He acts promptly and redeems us for full price because of His love wherewith He loves us.
Hosea declares to Gomer in v. 3 that she will abide with him for many days and not play the harlot. This speaks of the people of God after the fall of the nation of Judah, continue for 70 years without a king and without a city or a temple. All they had was their relationship with God which is all according to God’s design. As much as the Father determined to bring forth a Messianic king over the people in the person of Jesus, he allows the Jews to endure without a king, as it was never His first choice to give them a king in the first place. He wants to be their only portion, and that they would only look to Him and not to man for their deliverance. Perhaps we see in this the hand of God at work as the out-of-church demographic that exists in Christianity today as what has been called the “church in exile” comprised of believers who love God but are not a part of a brick and mortar church, and have no pastor or spiritual leadership over them. This has been a great frustration to traditional church culture, but perhaps this is by the hand of God so that we look to Him for our security and not to human leadership or religious infrastructure but again looking only to Him as our strength and our stay.
The promise of verse 5 is that the captivity will last many days (70 years in fact) but even after 70 years there was no king – yet a king was promised in the person of Jesus, the son of David who would cause the people to seek God, and the king and fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days, even the days that you and I live in. Notice that the fear is of the Lord’s goodness and not of His severity. I have often said that my fear of God is not that He will not be good to Me but that He will. He will give us the desire of our heart, but be sure you know what you are asking for. This is the lesson of Romans 2:4-5 that the goodness of God leads us to repent as we stand in awe and in reverential fear of the goodness of God and the love of God manifest in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in our behalf.
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