In Free Indeed’s Praying the Attributes of God Challenge we praised Jesus for being our Redeemer. What does that mean?
- a person who brings goodness, honor, etc., to something again
- a person who frees another from captivity by payment of ransom
- a person who releases another from blame or debt
These definitions are loaded, and God dynamically displays them all in Hosea. Take a glimpse at the book’s key themes, and read it on your own with new eyes. The book’s language may appear rough around the edges, but its picture of redemption is a striking foreshadowing of Jesus and testimony of God’s steadfast love.
Hosea’s Personal Drama (Chapters 1-3)
To start the book, the Lord tells the prophet Hosea to marry a woman named Gomer. She will symbolize God’s people Israel straying into spiritual idolatry and rebellion.
After their marriage, Gomer tragically goes wandering, seeking to satisfy her desires with false gods, other men and material excess – becoming an adulteress (Hosea 2:5).
Her exuberant dream crashes to a halt when she finds herself a penniless, hopeless slave, and in debt to her lovers – similar to the hole Israel is digging with its sin.
It is in this rock-bottom situation that the Lord speaks in grace, commanding Hosea to remain faithful – to buy Gomer back to again be his own! To imagine such a scene is nothing short of shocking.
The prophet goes to the slave market and redeems Gomer, returning her to a place of dignity despite her heavy shame, and God promises to love Israel in the same way (Hosea 3:1).
Hosea highlights for us that:
God can restore something pitiful back to something wonderful.
Upon further reflection, the story’s application hits home. God’s mercy – particularly His Gospel – shines bright in this dark situation. The reality is: I am Gomer! You are Gomer!
We are people that have gone astray, yearning for fulfillment in empty places, abandoning the One who loves us most – our Creator. We are sinners wandering in a wasteland.
And yet God the Father looked upon us, His fallen people, and desired to buy us back from darkness, to return us to Him that we may worship Him in the light.No one is beyond God's redeeming power! He brings beauty from ashes. Click To Tweet
The Lord loves to redeem in a real and personal way.
As Hosea came and reclaimed Gomer as His wife, Jesus paid the price for each of us in the church, His Beloved. The Son is your Redeemer, your close friend and Lord.
As indeed He says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’” Romans 9:25
God’s redemption leads to a righteous relationship with Him (Hosea 3:3-5).
After Hosea’s rescue, Gomer was no longer a slave, and neither are we. As those liberated by Christ, we ought not to return to our former life, but should seek to walk worthy of our new life in His Name.
Beyond Hosea and Gomer’s story we see more truths in the book. Keep in mind that in context God spoke these promises to the nation of Israel, but their messages reflect for us the love of Christ.
Discipline is a doorway to hope.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope…” Hosea 2:14-15
Much of the book of Hosea is God speaking in judgment, for He is holy, and rightly grieved over Israel’s severe offenses. Yet here, in this sweet spot, God speaks to the nation in a intimate manner as if it were his wife (Hosea 11:3-4).
Why? Take a look at the last statement. The “Valley of Achor,” which literally means “Valley of Trouble,” is a reference to Joshua 7:24, when God violently removed Achan and his family from among the people, warning Israel about the cost of disobedience.
Though God’s judgment appears harsh, for those who repent it is a welcomed opportunity for salvation and growth. He disciplines those He loves, giving us the hope of change (Hebrews 12:6).
If you are willing, God can use your Valley of Trouble for His glory.
By His Spirit’s prompting, you can abandon brokenness and be made whole in Christ as a new child submitted the Father.
If we submit to Father and His work of discipline on our hearts, He can bring about a redeemed future. He uses discipline to break our harmful habits, release us from the bonds of sin, and restore our relationship with Him day by day.Discipline is a doorway to hope. By correcting us, God opens the opportunity to return to Him. Click To Tweet
Scripture also emphasizes truth this outside Hosea: True love, which is God, does not rejoice in wrongdoing (1 Corinthians 13:6) and the righteous person listens to reproof (Proverbs 15:31).
God’s redemption is final and forever.
“And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.” Hosea 2:19-20
What’s the purpose of this betrothal? That we know God for who He is, in His full majesty, for all our days.
Once with the Lord, repentant and healed of your sins through Jesus, you are His for eternity. The church is His prized bride. Nothing can snatch you out of His hand! (John 10:28)
Though we will encounter spiritual warfare and difficulties, God has forged an everlasting bond with us.
His faithfulness never falters, even using rocky situations to magnify our vision of His glory and love.
The Lord makes His redeemed new.
“I will heal their apostasy;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
he shall blossom like the lily;
he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon;
his shoots shall spread out;
his beauty shall be like the olive,
and his fragrance like Lebanon.
They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow;
they shall flourish like the grain;
they shall blossom like the vine;
their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.” Hosea 14:1-7
God heals, God loves freely, and this leads to blossoming and flourishing. What lovely imagery of Christ’s redemption. We are fresh creatures all because of Jesus, born again from the ashes that condemned us (2 Corinthians 5:17).
This poetic language reflects the truth that new life springs out of a heart redeemed by the Lord. Perfect love and heavenly reward come to those who fear and trust the God of Hosea!New life springs out of a heart redeemed by the Lord! Click To Tweet
I pray that You trust Him today, for He is a Mighty Redeemer that sets captives free. Read this book in the Bible today with these messages on your heart.
I highly recommended this novel, which creatively shares Hosea and Gomer’s story: