Continuing in our study of the book of Hosea, we move on to the 3rd chapter. To review, in the first chapter, God had instucted Hosea to marry the promiscuous woman to symbolize God’s longing to intimately join with Israel even in her adultery of loving other gods. In chapter 2, we observed God’s hurt, anger, and jealousy coupled with his intense love, mercy, and forgiveness. The 3rd chapter opens with the following verse:
The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Hosea 3:1
As I read that verse, a lyric popped into my thoughts, “Can’t turn a ho’ into a housewife! Ho’s don’t act right.” (Thank you, Ludakris). Hosea knew went he entered into marriage with this woman that she was prone to promiscuouty. Out of love, he joined with this woman knowing that she had certain patterns of weakness when it came to faithfulness to one man. In Hebrew translation(The verb ‘EHABH is used again to denote her relationship with a RETSA – a friend or neighbor), we find that not only had Gomer, Hosea’s wife, been an adulteress but that she had prostituted herself out to a neighbor or friend. Hosea had to see this adultery partner in his immediate view. Did he have to see this man daily knowing of his wife’s betrayal?
Love her as th Lord loves the Israelites though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes. (Heb 3:1)
So, God tells Hosea that he is to love his wife despite her betrayal. Put aside the hurt and heartache and love her. The Israelites had turned and begun worshipping other gods. Right before His eyes, they bowed down and gave glory and sacrafice to Satan. How much did this hurt Him? I remember in the movie Grease, where Rizzo was trying to hurt her boyfriend Kinicky, she did this by going to a dance with his rival. Here were the Israelites dancing with Satan–the enemy of God. Oh and by the way, God didn’t just have a strong distaste for raisins. The raisin cakes are A’SISE in Hebrew , those used in sacrifice to idols. Anyway, what is God’s reaction to this betrayal? He tells Hosea to love her in the same way that the Lord loves Israel. So, Hosea goes to buy back his wife.
So he bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer anda lethek of barley. (Heb 3:2)
Imagine the humility of buying back your wife from prostituting herself to another man, possibly a friend! And not only that, this word ‘buy’ in Hebrew actually means to dig or barter. The price that they came to an agreement on today would be about $59. Here is a man of God, who is buying his wife out of prostitution for the same price that slaves were purchased for their masters(Exodus 21:32, Lev 27:4). Her ‘master’ valued her so little. And what was the reason for this adultery? So, that she could purchase the sacrafice materials to offer to the gods.
This is the same way that God views our prostitution to Satan. We are of no value to Satan other than a slave or a whore. We are trash to him but we are priceless to God. God has a plan for our lives, and Satan has a plan to destroy our lives. We are garbage to him, but we are precious to God– a worthy bride even in the midst of our prostitution.
You see, God ordered Hosea to go and rescue Homer, to pay whatever price to buy her out of bondage. Once again, God was asking for Hosea to be obedient so that his actions would continue to symbolize the lengths that God would go to for us. But the price for us was not so inexpensive. The price to pay for our ransom was His only son. God Himself would have to come to earth, be persecuted, beaten, abandoned, and killed to pay the price to rescue his bride, Israel (you & me) out of our slavery.
Hosea 3:3, Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.”
In the Hebrew translation, Hosea is giving three commands to his ransomed wife. One, she will live with her husband and indefinite and long amount of time,. Two, she will not be intimate with another man nor have an affair of the heart with another man. And the third, is not as much a command as it is a promise, ‘Ani ‘ELAYIK … I unto you meaning that he will also be faithful to her and in returning her intimacy.
Once God had ransomed us, His bride, He demanded the same from us. First, that we would dwell with Him forever on earth and forevermore in heaven. Many people only consider this part of His commands when they “sign up” to be a Christian. They are essentially ‘buying their ticket to forever land, heaven’. But the second command is this: that we would be faithful to Him alone. Our heart should be undivided in our devotion to Him. The third is His promise that He would be faithful to us. As we draw near in intimacy, He would draw near to us and reveal Himself, his character, personality, emotions, the most intimate portions of Himself, to US. He has said, ‘Ani ‘ELAYIK. I unto you, my sister, my bride, my chosen people.
Prayer: God, you have sent your Son, Jesus to be the ransom and payment to buy me out of slavery. I have freedom as enter into the demands of your heart. I have complete freedom as I give to you my faithfulness, my undivided heart. And I will forever dwell with you. You reveal yourself to me. The tenderness of your heart. The raw emotions of God I am allowed to reach out and touch. The depth of God is never ending. It is beyond the scope of man, beyond his comprehension. But you have chosen to buy me out of my bondage to become one with You. Thank you for the price that you have paid. Forgive me for the times that I do give you my whole heart and whole intimacy. Protect me from the snares of Your and my enemy, Satan. For he looms like a lion waiting to devour my life. Thank you for your protection and love. I love you.
***As a sidenote…many times in my studies, I will look at the Hebrew translation of God’s word. It is an amazing language where just a word is pregnant with so much meaning. When God speaks to me, I am amazed at how He can speak just a few words, and it rattles me with all of it’s meaning that could fill pages. As those words resound in my head, it ignites emotions and covers so many areas of fear, doubt, longing, anguish, etc. I believe that the Hebrew language is truly the closest to the language of God. Possibly, one of the reasons that Jesus came through the line and to the people of Israel is because of this uniquely rich language of Hebrew. I encourage you to also investigate the Hebrew translations of verses and words in the bible as you are studying.***