” The Eternal spoke with me again.
Eternal One: Go and love a woman who is loved by someone else and is adulterous. Care for her and protect her, just as I love the people of Israel even though they’re unfaithfully turning to other gods and selfishly eating sacred raisin cakes in their honor.
So I paid the bride-price for this woman, less than I would pay to own a slave: six ounces of silver, about ten bushels of barley.
Hosea (to the woman): You’re going to live with me for a long time. I didn’t buy you just for my own pleasure, and I’m not going to cast you aside. But I’m not going to let you commit adultery again—in fact, you’re not going to have sexual relations with anyone, not even me.”
So here’s the story. Hosea was a prophet. He was married to a woman named Gomer. Gomer left him (and their children,) and became a prostitute. She is now up for the highest bidder.
We pick up in chapter 3 and see what God is commanding Hosea to do: Go get her. Forgive her. Love and protect her. Pay the price to to redeem her.
In this week of contemplating what it means to be “free to receive,” one might think that we would focus on Gomer and her ability to receive this gift from the husband she has disgraced.
However, Hosea’s story resonates more with me. Here is (from what I can tell,) a godly man; a good man. His wife has embarrassed him, cheated on him, betrayed their family, pretty much everything you can think that would hurt him.
So who is in need of grace in this situation? The one who has clearly strayed, or the one being asked to forgive?
In my life, the ability to forgive a wrong is certainly a grace from God. I don’t forgive easily. I can’t imagine taking my spouse back after an episode like this, or even more so, loving and caring for him. But as followers of Christ, we are all called to love, forgive and reconcile.
In this manner, I am not the one who is broken. And I can justify my feelings and actions all day long. It is easy to tell myself they don’t deserve forgiveness. And remember in the story, it wasn’t the wayward wife asking for it, this was a command from God. So much so, that Hosea had to buy her to get her back into his home. She probably didn’t even say she was sorry. Who deserves mercy with that kind of attitude?
The moral of this story, for me, is that God isn’t concerned with my excuses. He calls me to forgive under all circumstances. He even knows my heart and provides me the grace that enables me to do it. He knows I don’t have it in me to do it myself. I just have to be open enough to receive it. I have to be humble enough to stop pointing fingers and examine my own heart condition, even if I don’t think I am the one who is broken. To call myself a follower with any integrity at all, I have to be willing to let Christ change me in all circumstances. That is a lifelong struggle for me. How about you, friends?
Spend some quiet time with God in the days to come and pray this psalm. Open yourself to His answers and His grace to transform you. Be blessed by His revelations, not offended by them. For by these we are led down the paths of righteousness.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”