Summary: This short chapter pictures the nation’s exile and return. The Lord makes known His plans for the redemption of the prodigal nation. Although this chapter is short, its prophecies survey God’s past (v. 1), present (vv. 2-4), and future (v. 5) relationship
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
I read about a young man who was determined to win the affection of a lady who refused to even talk to him anymore. He decided that the way to her heart was through the mail, so he began writing her love letters. He wrote a love letter every day to this lady. Six, seven times a week she got a love letter from him. When she didn’t respond, he increased his output to three notes every twenty-four hours. In all he wrote her more than seven hundred letters. And she wound up marrying the postman. (Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes, p. 354).
This short chapter pictures the nation’s exile and return. The Lord makes known His plans for the redemption of the prodigal nation. Although this chapter is short, its prophecies survey God’s past (v. 1), present (vv. 2-4), and future (v. 5) relationship with Israel. Israel will experience a time of purification in a foreign land but God still loves the people and is willing to accept them back. Hosea’s love for his wife causes him to be eager to redeem her, purify her, and take her back into his home and heart. Even though Hosea could have justified divorcing Gomer (Deut. 24:1), the command of the Lord to Hosea revealed to the prophet that grace was greater than the law.
Gomer was no longer worth much to anyone except Hosea but he loved her just as God loved Israel. Because of her destitute state Hosea was able to purchase her for half the price of a common slave (Ex. 21:32). In addition to the fifteen shekels, he gave fifteen ephahs of barley, the food of beasts. No matter how low we sink God is willing to buy us back. Gomer responded to her husband’s love. For the prophet, who suffered the double heartbreak of a wayward wife and a wayward nation, the response of Gomer to his love gave him an experiential foretaste of that great day when Israel “will come trembling to the Lord” (v. 5) and say, “Thou are my God!” (2:23). In Hosea’s day, political authority was vested in a monarchy established by men in rebellion against God’s ruler (I Kings 12-19-25). From Hosea’s day until our own day Israel has indeed remained without a king, and she will remain so until that great day when she acknowledges the Lord Jesus Christ as her king and Lord.
Love is certainly the keynote of chapter 3. If God was ever to withdraw His love and mercy I would be without hope.