James Montgomery Boice wrote; “The third chapter of Hosea is, in my judgment, the greatest story in the Bible…” I am inclined to agree with Boice. This chapter contains tremendous messages of hope in the midst of the declaration of the awfulness of sin. The story portrayed by Hosea is a story that is almost beyond human comprehension in itself. Here we see God depicted as one who has been “cheated” upon repeatedly by an immoral and unloving wife, yet God pursues this wayward wife with a love that could never be portrayed by even Hollywood. Chapter three opens with these haunting lines, “Go, again, love a woman who is loved by another man, and is an adulteresses, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel…” (ESV) The most amazing thing takes place, Hosea discovers that his wife has become a slave and is about to be sold in the slave market. Hosea goes to this auction and sees his wife, naked, in chains, and displayed with all her flaws and treasures exposed. As the bidding begins, Hosea must continue to up his ante and outbid those who trying to buy his wife. Hosea finally prevails with a winning bid of 15 pieces of silver and a bushel and a half of barley. Hosea tells his wife, Gomer, that she must live with him and stop playing the role of a harlot. He must assuredly taken some clothing and wrapped it around her and then led her to their home. What an amazing love that Hosea had for his wife. What an amazing love God has for his people. We see that God will yet pursue his people in verses 4 & 5: “For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.” (ESV) Though Israel was unfaithful, God continues to love them with an everlasting love. He will pursue them. Their faithfulness is to be motivated, just as our faithfulness is motivated, by the love that God has for each of us as his children. God loved us, sought us, provided redemption for us, and purchased us when we were naked and exposed in the sin market, and clothed us in his righteous robe.
Chapter three portrays and amazing love story as it depicts God’s wonderful love for Israel. It also depicts, however, the awfulness of sin and the horrible consequences of sin. These ideas will be explored in the next couple of posts.