By Henry Mahan
The name 'Hosea' is the same with Joshua and Jesus and signified a saviour or a deliverer. Hosea was not only a faithful prophet and servant of the Lord, but he is a powerful type and picture of our Lord Jesus in his love and mercy to sinners. It is surprising that we do not hear more sermons on Hosea, since he has such a name and his writings are so filled with grace for the guilty.
The story in brief:
God commanded Hosea to take a wife from among the people of whoredom. Fornication and adultery was their form of life.
Hosea married Gomer, who was quite young, and she bore him three children. Then Gomer began to walk the way of her heritage, leaving Hosea for her lovers. Even though she had left him and was living in wickedness and shame, Hosea continued to provide corn, wine, oil, and money for her. Gomer thought these gifts were from her lovers, and she praised them. Soon she was brought down to poverty, shame, and loneliness and was to be sold on the block as a common slave. Hosea loved her yet, and he went to the marketplace and bought her for the price demanded and took her home to be his wife, no more to leave.
The key to this story
Hosea 3:1. 'Then said the Lord unto me, go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, according to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.' The Lord put Hosea through this unusual experience to demonstrate his grace, love, and mercy to his people, all of whom have 'sinned and gone astray, turning to our own way.' We did not love him, but he loved us with an 'everlasting love' and 'loved us to the end.'
1:1-3. According to the commandment of the Lord, Hosea went among a vile race, a sinful people, and took his bride, joining himself to her as one!
Our Lord chose his bride from Adam's fallen, sinful race (1 Cor. 1: 26-29; Rom. 5:6-8; Eph. 2:1-4).
We did not love him; he loved us (1 John 4:10). We did not choose him; he chose us (John 15:16). We did not deserve his mercy and love. The cause of his love for us and our redemption is found only in himself, not in us!
2:1-5. A short time after their marriage, Gomer left Hosea and followed the ways of her people. She was from a people of whoredom; and when she became of full age, she walked the same path they walked.
Though our God entered a covenant with Christ, chose us in Christ, and made us his own before the world began (Eph. 1: 3- 6; 2 Thess. 2:13; Gal. 1:15), we were born into this world sons of Adam, fallen sinners; and we go astray from the womb (Psalm 51:5; 58:3; Jer. 13:23; Rom. 5:12, 19).
We do not come into the world as those who might fall; we are born fallen and only have to reach certain ages and be exposed to certain temptations to reveal what we already are! We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners (Rom. 3:10-19). It is our nature to love sin and hate holiness.
2:5-8. Hosea took care of Gomer even in her rebellion and sin.
She said, 'I will go after my lovers who gave me good things.' Hosea said, 'She did not know that I gave her these things.' Oh, how gracious the Lord is to his people all the days of our lives! From our birth and all the days of our lives he has protected us, provided for us, and blessed us, even when we knew him not nor desired to know him.
Like Gomer, we praise ourselves, talk about good luck, or give the glory to the flesh, and know not that our Lord is the giver of every good gift (Rom. 8:28-31; Gal. 1:15).
2:9-11. Finally, Gomer was brought low; her life became a burden; her joy was turned to mourning; the sweetness became bitter; that which she had loved, she hated.
The Lord God will bring his people to this place. A sinner must be lost to be saved; he must be brought low before he can be lifted up and exalted; he must, like Gomer and the prodigal son, discover what he is, where he is, and feel the guilt, shame, and burden of sin (John 6:44-45).
We cannot taste of grace until we weary of sin. We will not love and flee to Christ until we hate our fleshly lovers and what they have done to us. To miss conviction of sin is to miss repentance, and to miss repentance is to miss faith, and to miss faith is to miss Christ. The Holy Spirit of God, in bringing us to repentance toward God and faith in Christ Jesus, will convince us of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11).
3:1-3. Gomer belonged to the fallen system! She was in the clutches and possession of her masters. There was a price on her head. Hosea bore the shame of identification with her and, revealing his special care for her, paid the price and set her free.
We belonged to a fallen humanity; we were in the possession of the law and justice. There was a price on our heads--eternal condemnation, curse, and death (Isa. 53:4-6, 10-12).
Christ loved us, was numbered with us, and 'despising the shame,' he endured the cross and paid what we owed but could not pay. 'He paid a debt he did not owe for us who owed a debt we could not pay.'
Hosea 3:3 reveals the security of the Lord's purchased bride and her eternal union with him (John 10:24-30). This is the covenant revealed in Jeremiah, 'They shall be my people, and I will be their God... I will not turn away from them to do them good and they shall not depart from me' (Jer. 32: 38-40; Mal. 3:6; Phil. 1:6).