“Parables That Pack a Punch” Sermon Series
Sermon # 11 April 27, 2014
“You Were Bought at a Price” Hosea 3:1-5
Pastor Louis Prontnicki Maple Glen Bible Fellowship Church
“How much did you pay for your wife?” the old Kenyan man asked the first term missionary in Kenya. When he explained that we don’t buy and sell women in America, the Kenyan man laughed and said, as he squeezed the wife’s thin arm, “I wouldn’t give a goat for her either.” (from Thom Hopler, in A World of Difference)
But in Hosea chapter three, God gives us the story of the prophet who did have to buy back his own wife, as a picture of what God had to do with us. She was bought with a price… and so were we!
Let’s Review Hosea chapters 1 and 2
1. The Lord commands Hosea to marry Gomer, an adulterous wife, to enable him to understand, feel, and act out how Israel is like an adulterous wife in the Lord’s eyes (1:2-3a)
2. The Lord gives Hosea and Gomer three children, each of whose names signifies that God is going to punish Israel, distance Himself from her, and disavow her. (1:3b-9)
3. The Lord promises that in the future He will reverse the effects of His judgment and will restore His covenant of love with His people (1:10-2:1)
4. The Lord warns Israel of His impending judgment, to lead her to repentance, but because she refused, He must punish her (2:2-13)
5. The Lord tenderly woos His adulterous wife back to Him! (2:14-23)
Today: The Lord commands Hosea to love Gomer again, to buy her back, and to live with her again, to enable him to understand, feel, and act out how the Lord loves Israel, so that you and I will understand and feel what it means that the Lord bought us back, at the cost of His beloved Son, Jesus (3:1-5)
The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”
2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley.
3 Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.” 4 For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. 5 Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.”
Gomer, the unfaithful wife, has run away from Hosea, her husband, and lives now with another lover, a “significant other.” Imagine you are Hosea at this point: after years of adultery, your wife has abandoned you, and she is living with another man. What do your do? You are free to get a divorce, right? After all, She in the one who has ended the marriage once and for all. She has another man. Hosea is free. Right? No. God would not give up on Israel, and he wants Hosea to symbolize his undying love to his wife of harlotry, by loving her again and buying her back.
When you think a moment on what God asked Hosea to do here, you get a glimpse into what God’s love for us, in our wretchedness, is like. “Love so amazing, so divine!”
Think of it: Gomer had been faithless all along, and finally she had gone off with another man. According to the Jewish law, Hosea could have had her stoned… just like we stand condemned by God’s law.
But God commands Hosea to love her. “Go again, love her.” And not just to go and get her and love her, but to even be willing to pay this “significant other” for her. If that was not hard enough, it appears that it was going to cost Hosea everything he had to do that. You see, if he had the amount needed, in cash, he probably would have paid cash. But he couldn’t. So he paid half in cash and half in barley. And barley was a grain that was very low in value.
How much did it cost Hosea to buy his wife back? Fifteen shekels of silver would amount to six ounces. On today’s market that would be approximately $120. A homer and a half of barley comes out to about twelve bushels. In today’s prices, this adds another $40, for a grand total of 160 dollars. 160 bucks to get his wife back, and Hosea had to scrape up every bit of it.
Once Hosea purchased and reclaimed his wife and took legal possession of her, he places her in isolation (v. 3). She would no longer play around with other men, but would give herself only to her true husband. This symbolized Israel’s exile, when she was removed from Canaan and no longer able to worship her idols. In exile in Babylon, Israel would be deprived of both her political independence and her idolatrous worship of Baal (v. 4) Then, following her time of exile, Israel would come to her senses (having been wooed by the Lord) and seek Him, rather than the false gods (v. 5). God would remove her rebellious spirit and she would tremble in humility before the Lord, no longer taking His blessings for granted. (v. 5)
That’s the story of Hosea chapter three.
What does this mean for you?
The Lord commanded Hosea to love Gomer again, to buy her back, and to live with her again, so that you and I would understand and feel what it means for the Lord to buy us back, at the cost of His beloved Son, Jesus
Christ was betrayed for the price of a slave, 30 pieces of silver, but He paid our ransom to purchase us back. This is a truth that runs throughout the New Testament:
Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” This is why the Son of God became a man.
1 Cor. 6:19b-20 “You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.” The fact that we have been ransomed by Christ has strong implications for what we do with our bodies, especially in the area of sex.
1 Peter 1:18-19 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
Because we have been bought with such a price, we cannot return to our old lifestyles.
Acts 20:28 “… Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood…”
His purchase of us has communal implications for us as a church.
Rev. 5:9 “And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation”
Those whom He purchased will have his heart for global worship and missions.
Rev. 14:4 “These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.” Finally, we are purchased by God to serve as firstfruits, as an offering to God (see Rom. 12:1-2)
How Might Your Passions Be Stirred?
As I have mentioned a number of times in this series, Parables that Pack a Punch, God wants us to feel His heart and to have our passions stirred by the way in which His truths are conveyed to us. Therefore consider:
Hosea, the committed and loving husband, gives us a sense of the feelings that the Lord had for Israel and that Jesus Christ has for us, His bride, the church. He has been hurt and shamed by his wife’s rejection and lifestyle of harlotry. He has suffered abuse at the gossip of the village. Yet he loves his wife with a Hesed love, a covenantal love, a sacrificial love, and he sacrificially redeems her, and rescues her… his own wife, by paying to buy her back. What a picture of Christ!
And Gomer, the wife of harlotry, gives us a sense of the feelings that Israel should have had about herself, and that you and I should have about ourselves, as those who have been unfaithful to our husband-king, and sold ourselves into slavery of sin and idolatry. For some of you, you may not feel guilty and wretched enough, as if you don’t need to be rescued or redeemed! That’s sinful pride.
But for others of you, you feel so shamed and wretched that you see yourself beyond redemption; you are too unworthy to have anyone love you that way!
I want you to imagine how Gomer may have felt about herself at this point, when Hosea shows up at this slave auction to bid on his own wife! How would you feel, after deserting your husband and giving yourself over to a life of harlotry? You’d probably feel very shameful, guilty, and unworthy of anyone doing anything good for you. You’d be unable to face your husband and your children. You’d be thinking, “No matter what Hosea says to me or does for me, I do not want to go back to him… because I am so wretched, and I deserve to stay here in my slavery and wretchedness. Yes, that’s what I deserve!”
And both responses reek of PRIDE!
You see, that’s why Hosea had to take the initiative with Gomer. That’s why he had to buy her back. That’s why he had to dictate the terms of their renewed relationship… or she would have refused to come back.
The whole book is a study of what it means to turn back to God, and remember, God doesn’t want to be only “master” to his people. He wants to be a husband, giving Himself in intimate love to those he has purchased for Himself in Christ!