Devotional of the week: Redemption (3 in Hosea series)

The Lord said to me, ‘Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.’ Hosea 3

Real-life redemption: this couple remarried after being divorced 50 years.

Real-life redemption: this couple remarried after being divorced 50 years.

In our chapter for this week, the Lord asks Hosea to put his hurt and anger to one side and to reconcile with his wife. Though she is unworthy of his affections, Hosea must redeem the price on her head and welcome her back into his life. God doesn’t promise that Hosea will live “happily ever after” or that Gomer will remain faithful. For as with God’s relationship with Israel, the Lord knows that although he keeps extending his hand of love to his people, they will again turn away from him.

When we think of our sin as marital unfaithfulness against God, our understanding of the consequences of our wrongdoing grows. Sin acts as a vast abyss between us and our Husband. Only through the work of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross is that chasm bridged. He has shattered the dividing wall of hostility; he has brought reconciliation between us and his Father. Using the metaphor of Hosea, we can see Jesus as a divine marriage counselor who provides more than just a magical talking cure. Rather, his sacrificial gifts repair our relationship beyond whatever we could ask or imagine.

As we see in verses 4 and 5, the Lord removes the stumbling blocks that keep Israel from himself: the wicked kings and prices; the false sacrifices and paraphernalia of the dishonest worship. So too can he remove the things that keep us from a pure relationship with him. Perhaps in our prosperity we come to believe that we have brought about our success. He may not cause the pain we experience in a fallen world, but he can surely redeem it and, if we have fallen away from him, use it to restore us to himself.

How has the Lord redeemed the price on your head?

For prayer and reflection: “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

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