Summary: How are we to respond to the love of Christ toward us?

“The Gospel According to Hosea”

Part 4

“A Call to Respond to Christ’s Love”

Hosea 3:1-3

Steve Hanchett, pastor

Berry Road Baptist Church

March 11, 2001

Then the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the LORD for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.”

So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley.

And I said to her, “You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man - so too, will I be toward you.”

No sight could be more expressive of the love of Christ than the sight of Hosea pushing his way through the crowded market place to buy his wife out of slavery. Gomer had rejected his love, sullied his reputation, abandoned his home, and, most of all, broken his heart. Yet, Hosea still loved her and he acted out that love in redeeming her.

What a spectacle Gomer must have been! Stripped naked, trying desperately to cover her shame. To embarrassed to look at the crowd, she hung her head in shame. The mocking laughter, hate-filled whispers and open discussions about her value and what would be paid for her cut her soul deeply. There she stood robbed of the rings and robes she had so often depended on to make her attractive. Things couldn’t have been worse. Or could they.

As the bidding started she kept her head hung. Two shekels, five and then ten were bid. The sounds of children playing on the edges of the market mingled with the quiet whispers of the women of the city and the bartering of the men. Gomer’s mind was to confused, to afraid, to overwhelmed to hear what was being said. Suddenly, she realized that everything had fallen eerily silent. Not even a whisper could be heard. Gomer did not know that the source of the disturbing quietness was the presence of Hosea.

Finally, his voice broke through the silence. That familiar voice stirred a chorus of gasps and revived the whispering of the assembly. Hosea called out, “Fifteen shekels of silver and one and one-half homers of barley.”

Gomer knew it was Hosea. The strong voice of this prophet could not be mistaken. Now she understood the silence, the gasps and the whispering. Hosea was the last person she expected to show and yet, there he was. But, why?

Did he come to exact revenge? Was Hosea thinking, “What goes around comes around?” What was his intention? What would he do? Surely, he must be there to do her harm. Certainly, he must hate her after all she had done to him.

I suspect we often have similar thoughts about God. It is our failure to comprehend the magnitude and depth of God’s grace and mercy that keeps many people lost. When God comes near we flee in fear of what He might do.

John chapter four recounts Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman. Jesus said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10).

If you could only see and understand what the day of grace holds out to you! If only you could grasp the intentions of God toward you! It must be as if Jesus stands over the newly dug graves of lost men and women repeating the cry He spoke over Jerusalem, “How many times I would have gathered you under my wings, but you would not.”

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways, says the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). And what proceeds those words? “He will abundantly pardon.” Our comprehension of God’s grace and mercy and love are weak at best. We believe that God will act just like us. But our Hosea, our Jesus, our Savior is full of love and grace and mercy toward us.

A few weeks ago a sparrow somehow became trapped in one of the bathrooms at the church. Tom Randolph, Ernest Moore and I set out on a catch and release mission. For a few minutes it was quite a Key Stone Cops operation. The poor little bird was frantically fluttering back and forth, up and down desperate to escape the grasp of our hands. The sparrow couldn’t understand that we had no desire to do him harm, we just wanted to set him free.

We finally threw a light jacket over him, scooped him up and released him outside. I can only imagine what he was feeling as he was engulfed in darkness, clutched by human hands and carried away like a captive. That pitiful little sparrow must have been terrified. As he flew away I wondered if he thought he had shrewdly escaped, or did he realized that he had been set free?

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