Hosea 3 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence Bowlin
I’ve always had an aversion to those Raisin Crème Little Debbie snack cakes, and now I know why! Apparently, according to Jeremiah 7:18, raisin cakes were not only a delicacy in the ancient Near East, but they were also used as offerings to the queen of heaven, even by the Israelites who had provoked the Lord to anger. In our very brief chapter this morning (only five verses), the prophet Hosea recounts for us that sometime after his marriage to Gomer she left him to play the harlot, and she was actually living either with some other man who claimed her as his property or else in a house of prostitution managed by a “friend.” And God commands Hosea to go again, and love her, “even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.”
In obedience to the Lord, Hosea goes out looking for her, and when he finds her, he pays a very paltry sum in order to claim her once again as his wife. In order to buy a slave, the purchase price was normally thirty shekels, but, here, he is able to buy her back for half that amount at fifteen shekels, if he also throws in a homer and a half of barley, which was often given to a woman suspected of adultery. Then, when he brings her home to his house, he tells her, in so many words, that she will be his, but that they will not be sharing a bed for quite some time, neither will she be sleeping with anyone else, for she needs some time of isolation both for the sake of purification as well as discipline. And the Lord tells Hosea that this is meant to show how Israel also will “dwell many days without a king or a prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods.” This is meant to break Israel’s codependency upon the surrounding nations and cause her to cry out to the Lord in faith and in love.
Then, after this time of isolation, the Lord promises Hosea that the Israelites will once again return and seek the Lord their God, and David their rightful king, and that they will come in fear to the Lord and enjoy his goodness in the latter days. Clearly, this is a messianic promise which points to Christ and the conversion of the remnant of Israel to God, which still has not yet reached its fullness.
In terms of personal application, it should be obvious that we are meant to identify ourselves with Gomer the unfaithful spouse who has spurned her husband and indulged her flesh in numerous ways. The clear consequences of that spiritual adultery is that we too have debased ourselves, devalued our covenant with God, and demeaned the Lord as our husband. The very idea that he would have to come find us in the house of prostitution and make a deal in some dark corner with some shady character should be revolting to us. I think if we meditated more on the real nature and consequences of our sin, we would be much less likely to go down that miserable path again.
The wonder of our God is that He has done that and so much more. There is no price that He would not, and did not, pay for his bride. Therefore, let us seek the Lord, while he may be found and give to him our love and fear, for He is a good God, and a faithful Husband.