The Book of Hosea is the account of when God asked a preacher to marry a prostitute to illustrate how he loves his people. We should not be amazed at what Hosea the preacher did for Gomer the prostitute – we should be amazed that God did that for us.
God revealed that not only had Gomer been a prostitute, but she would continue to be one. The ESV translates Hos. 1:2 as, “Go and take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.” If you think the language is extreme, you may not understand the depth of our own unfaithfulness. Gomer was a prostitute and she would continue to prostitute herself after giving her marriage vows. The whole account is a picture of God’s love for us.
Loving me despite my past is one thing, loving me aware of my future is another.
God knew what he was getting into at the altar with us and he still showed up.
Many people will read Hosea and comment, “I couldn’t imagine having to marry someone unfaithful. I don’t think I could do what Hosea did.” You are missing the point of the story. You are not meant to identify with Hosea. You are meant to identify with Gomer.
We are not the one loving the whore, we are the whore being loved.
We are the unfaithful ones. We are the ones who have continually run around on God. And God is the one who still pursues us regardless of our promiscuous ways. He could have “done so much better” and yet he still pursues us.
Hosea and Gomer have a child named Jezreel (“God scatters,” Hos. 1:3). In a subtle yet poignant shift, Gomer has two more children but the wording is different revealing that these are not even Hosea’s children. She bears Lo-Ruhamah (“no mercy,” Hos. 1:6) and then L0-Ammi (“not my people,” Hos. 1:8-9). Hosea makes daily provision for an unfaithful wife and illegitimate children.
As God shows that he loves us in the desert and not just the field (Hos. 2:14), he promises to allure us back. He will cause us to forget those other gods, and in that day, we will be unable to even remember the names of our former gods who had our affections (Hos. 2:17). God not only pursues us but commits to us forever (Hos. 2:19). He will bring us back and change our name (Hos. 2:22-23). There will be a family portrait, and he will remove the dysfunction from the picture.
Buying Back What Belongs to You
In a horrible twist, unfaithful Gomer eventually reaches the point that her prostitution lands her upon the slave table. She is being sex trafficked. Her waywardness has endangered her and now made her someone’s possession.
What should Hosea do? He is to do what God has already done for us.
Hosea ensures that he is the highest bidder for his unfaithful wife and has to pay for what already belongs to him.
He rescues her from the slave table. As he carries her home, he says, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you” (Hos. 3:3). While he doesn’t need to reaffirm his commitment to her, he does anyway.
He will be who he has always been, and she will have to change.
He doesn’t ask Hosea to do anything that he will not do. Created in his image (Gen. 1:26-27), we were meant to bring him glory with our lives (Col. 1:16). We rebelled against him repeatedly (Rom. 3:23) causing our sins to separate us from him (Is. 59:2). God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were still sinners, he sent Jesus to die for us (Rom. 5:8). He bought back what already belonged to him.
The blood of Christ is the payment God was willing to give in order to purchase back those who already belonged to him.
Oh, what mercy! What a costly sacrifice for ones so unworthy as I! After our consistently spiritual whoredom, you would imagine that Christ might go through the sacrifice but lacking affection through it. What marvels to consider – he still went to the cross with joy (Heb. 12:2) because of his great love with which he loved us (Eph. 2:4)! He is still looking forward to the wedding day even though we are not even close to being in his league.
Scripture illustrates that the church – the people of God – is the Bride of Christ (Eph. 5:25-27; Rev. 19:7-9; Rev. 21:2; Is. 54:5; Rev. 21:9; John 3:29). Jesus is the groom and God’s people are his bride. A wedding will take place, and somehow this bride will wear white.
“Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints” (Rev. 19:7-8).
A bride wearing white is meant to symbolize her purity and chastity. It reveals that she has saved all of her love, affections, and devotion for her coming groom. If I take my sins and the sins of God’s people from all time, I would dare to argue that we should not be allowed to wear white to this service. And yet that is the only color appropriate. Our garments will be fine, bright, and pure.
How can a bride so unfaithful dare to wear white? Because the blood of the groom has made her garments white as snow (Ps. 51:7; Is. 1:18). He has loved her when she was unlovely (Eph. 2:5). He remained faithful when she was unfaithful (2 Tim. 2:13). He has bought her back when she already belonged to him (1 Pet. 1:19).
Despite the unfaithful behavior of this bride, she will wear white.
Dressed in HIS righteousness alone, FAULTLESS to stand before the throne.