God asked Hosea to do something crazy. Hosea 3:1 – 3 says, 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.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. 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.” In case you didn’t know, this is an insane request! All the way back in Hosea chapter one, God had asked Hosea to “go marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her.” God asked Hosea to fall in love, marry, and have kids with a woman he knew in advance would prove to be devastatingly disloyal to him. Amazingly, Hosea responded to God’s call, went out, fell in love, and married Gomer.
In Hosea 3 we discover that Gomer’s disloyalty had led her far away from Hosea, and Hosea had been left in her rear view mirror. In spite of all this, God asked Hosea to go find Gomer at her worst, and then buy her back. Some bible scholars think Gomer had bottomed out as a sex-slave to another man. The Original (old) Testament says that slaves were bought and sold for 30 shekels of silver. Thus, scholars look at the 15 shekels of silver and the homer and lethek of barley (costing 15 shekels) as Gomer’s slave price. Other scholars believe Gomer was simply living with another man. If this was the case, Hosea would have been offering Gomer a new dowry to re-betroth her to himself, and the lowly dowry he offered and she accepted indicates her situation was horrible. So what was Gomer’s actual situation? Honest answer – we don’t know. But we do know this; God asks Hosea to go find and restore His wife at her worst. He was to rescue her, and love her once again, even though her heart had turned to other men. And all of this was to be a living illustration of the quality of love God had in His heart for the adulterous people of Israel.
Hosea’s ridiculous love depicted an important point about God. God intervenes to rescue us at our worst moments! This is how God treats people He should write off. There’s a reason He does this. Let me explain. When do we really know how much we’re really loved? It’s tempting to think we know the fullness of someone’s love for us when we’re successful in some way; when our parents congratulate us at our graduation, or our spouse claps for us when we succeed. But those moments do not reveal how much we’re really loved. The moment that tells us how much we’re really valued, is our worst moments. We really know we’re loved when others remain loyal to us in the face of our betrayal. We really know we’re loved when others come to our rescue even when we’ve deeply hurt them. God has this funny habit of meeting us at our worst moments and restoring us because He knows that is the moment we finally get it through our thick skulls that He loves us beyond our capacity to understand, and wants nothing less than all of us in return. Enjoy God’s ridiculous love today!