Honey, Come Back

Hosea 3:1-5

Misconceptions abound: nature of love, marriage relationships, ordo salutis. Each have place in what is pictured in this chapter of Hosea. Each are so closely connected with human experience, have little difficulty relating to events and emotions undergone by Hosea and Gomer. Like with many other things, must not fall into trap Professor Kaman set – which came first, chicken or egg? In relation to our text, which is first in importance: details of Hosea and Gomer’s life or what it represents?

Strong temptation for many to pull this chapter out of Hosea, slap it down in middle of “marriage encounter weekend” or a pastoral counseling session. Overwhelming use of text is to apply it to human relationships, evils of immorality, male headship in the home, and the like. That is categorically NOT how God intended it to be used when he spoke to Hosea. There is application in principle for sure, but… marital relationships is absolutely wrong starting place. When we give in to temptation to focus on that primarily/exclusively, we set up wrong standard and insult God in process.

We do that all the time – confuse the example with the standard. Can and should: set proper example, follow good examples. Goal should not be achieve to level of example set for us (Jesus excepted, of course). Goal should be to follow example so we achieve level of standard. Let me explain: we should set good example for others, they should be able to follow our example and strive toward standard Christ set. Same is true for Hosea and Gomer – is much we can learn from them about human relationships, is much more we should learn about a more significant relationship/person.

What is of prime importance – what God is saying / Hosea and Gomer are showing about God’s love for his people. Three things we learn from Hosea and Gomer’s story: God’s love is purposeful and sacrificial; is unconditional; seeks after good of others.

A. God commands Hosea to love Gomer again v.1 — God’s love is purposeful and sacrificial

Hosea told to intentionally set his love once again on someone presently not very lovable, in fact right now very unlovable

all indications: they stood for opposing values – devoted and faithful vs. disloyal and mercenary; valuing the relationship vs. focused on tangible benefits

Hosea not given simple command to go get a wife, not even go get his wife back; specific and direct: go love a woman

go show love to person who presently is showing utter disregard for you, consumed with someone else instead; don’t base relationship on her response

should not overlook seriousness of Gomer’s actions – compounded sin that is an affront to everyone including God – rejection of covenant, pursuit of other lovers, and prostitution

yes, it is adultery, but is far worse – adultery for hire, that continues while being pursued by rightful lover

God makes explicitly clear to Hosea, all those watching, everyone who reads prophecy – here’s what this human drama is really about: Hosea is to act toward Gomer just as God acts toward his people

human story is picture of real story, and… is our story as well – the story of hope, the story of redemption played out between God and each one of his children

no sinner pursued by God is any less sinful than Gomer – in fallen condition, will pursue idols and pleasures while rejecting God

sad part is: all just as oblivious to truth as Gomer, just as consumed with love for what is destructive, just as determined to follow own way apart from God, just as unlovable, just as unwilling and unable to change circumstances

God sets love on individuals purposefully, for reasons known only to him; does so knowing what price will have to be paid for their redemption, what will be required to gain their loyalty

God does all necessary, making all the moves, pursuing each individual; does not allow personal affront to overrule purposeful love; defers justice while continuing to act in loving mercy

B. Hosea restores Gomer as his wife v.2-3 — God’s love is unconditional… sort of – conditioned only on gracious attitude of one loving

big issue today: human trafficking, trade in human beings that involves some form of exploitation… economic, sexual, other

in many ways is form of slavery, is serious problem, not anything new; has really been around since the Garden

Satan exploits those enslaved to him, using them to further his evil agenda, selling from one agent to another w/i closed system

paid her ransom

half in money, half in produce = price of a slave, 30 pieces of silver; perhaps Hosea’s financial circumstances such that it took all his money, some of his food to cover her ransom

was determined to release her from slavery whatever the personal cost, not conditioned on any positive response to his advances

emphasize: purpose is to release from slavery, not transfer ownership from one slave-driver to another; is paying price of freedom

notice any parallel here?? value placed on Gomer’s freedom equiv. 30 pieces of silver; value placed on one who freed us from slavery… the same

four expectations

1 – remain at home

first thing necessary for faithfulness – contentment; really the opposite of what happened as result of Fall… frustrated desire

all too often attitude even among Christians – that one over there looks just a little better, more desirable, more satisfying

contentment something we learn – in dependence on God, he helps his child learn the wisdom and goodness of His provision

one effective way to learn: be required to restrict attention to what is good, have no exposure to what might tempt – stay at home, not forever, just for many days, until learned to devote all attention to one who redeemed

2 – reject prostitution

exclusive relationship here, no “God shelf” mentality – God expects undivided loyalty, that his child will abandon old life

David prayed for undivided heart – Psa. 86:11Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.

one of most difficult things for someone “starting over” – do what is right while surrounded by reminders of old life; former sinful desires usually don’t immediately disappear

second component of repentance – turning to something, being devoted to it, requires rejection of what is turned away from

not simply “going back home”, taking up right lifestyle while still attempting to maintain ties with old ways

Paul instructs “put off… put on” – Eph. 4:22, 24put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts …and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

3 – regain proper focus

what is really important often cannot be recognized because bright and shiny promises of the world interfere

Gomer was pursuing what she thought would satisfy her desires, primarily considering what was obvious on surface

only when all that was taken away could she come to understand her real need, recognize what of substsance would meet her need

just like an addict (regardless of “substance”) – convinced the substance is what they need, what will satisfy, nothing else will do, always takes more to maintain same level of pleasure

withdrawal is tough, painful, may think you’re gonna die and probably wish you had before it’s over, but is absolutely essential for “recovery”

not simply substituting something less harmful, even good, in place of what would destroy – needed change of worldview

had been pursuing perceived benefits without concern for relationship with benefactor – that had to change

4 – recognize grace – for her good, not his pleasure

Hosea didn’t buy Gomer back for his own benefit; most people would say “if that’s how she’s gonna be, good riddance!”

purchase out of slavery intended to keep her from self-destructing – no one leaves off consuming sinful behavior without outside intervention

sometimes God uses human agents as part of his rescue operation, he always is personally involved – of necessity and desire

Hosea could have commissioned agent to do the deal – instead wanted Gomer to see extent of personal love for her

God does the same – he redeems his people from slavery because he loves them, not for how they will benefit him

were no preconditions – gotta hit bottom first, ask for help, show sincerity, start cleanup: God at time of his choosing went and got her, was hers to respond to his purposeful, sacrificial, unconditional love

C. The illustration is applied to Israel v.4-5 — God’s love seeks after good of others

many days without, but there is hope… afterward

probably two large scenes in view here: Babylonian captivity and subsequent return, captivity in sin and deliverance by Messiah

is message with serious consequences: will be extended period of being subject to whims of earthly rulers, spiritual drought

doesn’t end there: afterward, will be time of blessing, experiencing and desiring God and his goodness – strong message of encouragement and hope

message of hope applied to ancient Israel, to all the “children of Israel” – remember Jacob’s name changed at wrestling match

those who have same faith as Israel/Jacob considered his true descendants (Rom. 9:6-8), can take courage from God’s promise

consider how far into sin Israel went – rejecting God and embracing false gods, assimilating all their sinful practices – and still God loved them

God hasn’t changed – is still pursuing his people, down to very bottom of barrel of sin, redeeming and establishing them in relationship with him

God’s love as expressed on world stage has his own glory in view and is displayed/directed to bring about good for his people

This scene in drama of Hosea shows clearly how God works in salvation: no mention made of Gomer having interest or desire to go back home. Gomer wasn’t looking toward home, on her own she never would; instead would have rebelliously persisted in trying to satisfy herself her way. Only reason for change in her life/heart – her Redeemer made first and all the other moves. He was initiator and director in each step of her redemption, and if verse 5 is any indication, she responded… appropriately.

Same is true for one lost in sin – will stay forever lost unless loving God makes the moves. Once he makes those moves, as soon as fog of sin is sufficiently lifted sinner will respond to God’s love. That God loves and redeems his children sufficient reason for us to proclaim his truth to any / all who will listen. Perhaps God will be pleased to use us as he did Hosea, his agents to participate in his work of saving sinners.



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