By Rick Phipps

A few definitions are in order to really help our understanding of what’s happening in Hosea…

Adultery…sexual unfaithfulness of a married person

Jesus would later redefines (Matthew 5:27) that in God’s standards lust by sight and heart counts.

Prostitute…to offer indiscriminately for sexual intercourse especially for money; to devote or corrupt for unworthy purposes; a woman who engages in promiscuous sexual intercourse especially for pay. 

I give these definitions because it hit me just how low Gomer (Israel, people of God) had fallen. She (they) not only was a willing participant in adultery but also implied willing participant in prostitution. She was with another man (another God), not her husband (not their God), while still married (cared for, loved, desired by God) thus an adulterer (living outside the covenant with God). This man (sin, idols), as it says in 3:1, loved her (probably not a heart love but for sexual moneymaking, “what can you do for me kinda love”). However, their sin or lust, or just blindness to the sacredness of the marriage bed (true worship/respect for God), or maybe even the total lack of hope from such a great disconnection from God has Gomer involved in prostitution. And it would seem that is was a willing involvement. Sin has no boundaries, no restraints, no line where one can’t go any farther, it just keeps on calling one deeper and deeper into its abyss. So it would seem that Gomer had a lover but also a pimp (addictive sin; hopelessness). How lost she was…perhaps hoping that the next lover/customer would be the one to rescue her (this idol/god)? Bring her a love she fantasized about (provide an easy life)? Yet in the deepest darkness of her life who comes back for her? Hosea (God)…now it would seem that Gomer (Israel) was also past her money making prime for the amount Hosea paid for her, as one commentator remarked, ‘was pitifully small. Gomer was no longer worth much to anyone except Hosea’. Yet Hosea paid it! Hosea took her back…God’s use of Hosea paints a picture that no matter how low we sink He is willing to buy us back–to redeem us–and to lift us up again.  

Like prostitution, any sin, once it has its teeth in us, takes extraordinary will and strength to escape. For it brings us down to a state of hopelessness, shame, a feeling that there is not way out, that this is ‘just the way my life is suppose to be,’ then justification chains one to it even more… 

Romans 3:22-26: This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood. He did this to demonstrate His justice, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.  

So, when you are tempted to feel like we’re no longer worth anything to anyone, let alone God… know that Jesus paid the price to buy us back by His sacrifice on the cross. Now we stand in Christ as His’ redeemed.

Perfectly Rooted

by Adam Reiss

We often think obedience is a burden. There’s what we want to do THEN what we are told. We have our life separated into neat sections and subheadings; some containing desires; some our responsibility to God. Love sometimes includes a process of turning away and returning before we realize how intricately obedience to God and our desires interweave.  The beauty in Hosea is God’s constant drive to get us back. 

As Hosea’s wife was going elsewhere for something she could have purely gotten from him, so the Israelites strayed from the original Source. Hosea didn’t just forgive her, though.  She didn’t write him a nice little note that got him to accept her back; he found her in prostitution and BOUGHT her back. His love for her was stronger than propriety and social convention. 

With God, repentance is perfect and everlasting.  As many times as we fall away, He is there to take us back.  This is of course not to give us permission to sin but to realize the importance of obedience.  It gives us a chance to see the beauty which God’s commands pour into our lives in our own time and in full understanding. We fall away and stumble and God does not wait for us to beg. He actively seeks us. 

The natural metaphors in the last chapter are beautiful. God declares the abundance he has for those who obey him using the imagery of other botanical objects made by His hands. The trees he mentions are all so beautifully displayed in the open air, the breeze, and the sun while being perfectly rooted exactly where they need to be. In much the same way, God invites us to be rooted in Him.

Today’s Reading: Hosea 9-14


This Weekend: Join us at The VINE at 9:15 AM on Sunday in the Chapel as Stacy Sanford brings us thoughts and a challenging word from Hosea.