Summary: In a marriage relationship each person enters into a covenant with the other. For better or worse, richer or poorer. We commit ourselves to each other and it requires changes in our lives to uphold the covenant made. The same is true with God.
The God Who Waits
Hosea Chapter 3
As we continue our series on the book of Hosea we will continue looking at the tumultuous relationship between Hosea and Gomer. In chapter 2 we witnessed a faithful husband who came to the point where he could no longer provide for his unfaithful wife who refused to return. He realized that the only hope for her returning was to allow her to feel the sting of her choices with the hope of renewing the relationship and her status as her wife later on when she came to her senses. Through all of his wooing her to return she did not. So Hosea let her go. In Chapter 2:2 we see the annulment of the marriage. (Read Hosea 2:2) Hosea let her go.
Now we are starting Chapter 3 and we see things are getting worse for Gomer. (Read Hosea 3:1-5)
Gomer did not return. She went further and further down the path of destruction. Just as Northern kingdom had continued to reject God and went further and further down the road of destruction. The raisin cakes are again a reference to the worship of the fertility god Baal, because raisin cakes were offered to Baal in thanksgiving for a good harvest. Israel continues to follow the gods of sticks and wood that were crafted by their own hands and imaginations.
In verse two we see how far down the road Israel and Gomer had traveled. Hosea had to purchase Gomer. It appears that Gomer had become so indebted to her lover that she had become a concubine slave to the man. Remember Hosea stopped providing for her. So Hosea was told to go pay for her and the price paid was that of a slave. Let’s read Exodus 21:32 - 32.
So we see the price of a slave was set at 30 shekels of silver. It appears that Hosea did not have the cash on hand so he worked out a deal to pay half in silver and the other half in barley. It is also interesting to note that this is also the purchase price for Judas to betray Jesus. Jesus was betrayed for the price of a slave.
When we get to verse 3 things get a little strange. (Read Hosea 3:3)
What in the world is going on here? You are commanded by God to go purchase your adulteress wife back who is at the time in a sexual relationship with another man and to love her as the Lord loves the Israelites. So Hosea does it and purchases Gomer, brings her back home and then tells her there will not be any sexual relationship between us or any other person. We will be together but celibate!
Why? Remember Gomer has not returned on her own. She was purchased with the price of a slave and now is a slave to Hosea. She is still in rebellion and is not ready to enter into the covenant relationship again with her husband. In her heart Hosea is her master and she is a slave. She must obey because she has no choice in the matter. She will not stay faithful and love her husband at this time. She is still a rebellious woman. Until she returns with all of her heart and desires a relationship with her husband again she cannot and will not be allowed the privileges that are part of the marriage relationship.
Gomer is a slave not a wife and she will not be able to return into the marriage relationship until she returns with all of her heart, soul, mind and strength to her husband. Verse 4 and 5 puts this scenario into perspective in the larger picture of God’s relationship with Israel. Let’s continue to read: (Read Hosea 3:4-5 - 4)
Hosea is prophesying about Israel going into captivity. God has pleaded with Israel to return to him. He has provided for them even when they were attributing those gifts to foreign gods. He has let them taste the sting of their actions letting the foreign nations harass them. Israel has suffered famine and loss, but they have remained stiff necked and continued whoring with other gods.
Israel has found itself in a position where they are no longer God’s chosen people, because they have chosen gods of sticks, of fashioned wood. They are lost and enslaved to everyone around them. Now God is going to send them into captivity where they will not be able to go a whoring with any false gods. They will have no king or prince to protect and represent them. They will not be able to sacrifice to God or use sacred stones in worship to their false gods. They will be celibate from worshiping the True Creator God or any false god. They will be captives, slaves, in a foreign land.