“knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” — 1 Peter 1:18-19
Have you ever had that dream where you are standing on a stage looking out at a full audience, and not only have you forgotten what it is you’re supposed to say, but you suddenly realize, to your horror, that you are standing there stark naked? I’ve had versions of this dream, and though the waking thought of standing naked before a crowd is awful indeed, the lack of clothes isn’t nearly as terrifying as the vulnerability it represents. No one wants to be seen by others under a spotlight which reveals us completely, not only warts and all, but especially with the ugliness of all our sins on display. Helplessness and exposed shame may be my greatest fears.
In chapter 3 of Hosea we find Gomer in exactly this situation. She has run so far in her sin and adultery that she is being sold into slavery. In the slave markets of the time, the slaves being sold at auction were stripped naked in order to give “full disclosure” to those bidding on them. The promised curses of 2:3 & 9 have fallen on Gomer and she stands before the leering crowd clothed only in her shame.
Gomer’s husband had every right not only to divorce her, but to have her stoned to death. But instead of allowing him to vent his justified anger, God has instructed Hosea to enact the tender promises of chapter 2:14-23. How humiliating it must have been for him when, instead of denouncing her in righteous fury, he pulls out his wallet and outbids the rest in order to purchase her back to himself. At the cost not only of his cash, but the higher price of his pride and relinquishing his justified right to anger and disgust, Hosea redeemed his unfaithful wife. And he did it in love.
Once again, Hosea is portraying for Israel and the rest of us how the Holy One of Israel will redeem his chosen people. Hosea points ahead to the coming Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ, who would ransom us from our futile ways, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with his own precious blood (1 Peter 1:18-19). Our redemption cost us not a cent, but it cost our Savior everything. “Jesus entered the marketplace of sin and at the cost of his own life purchased us for himself so that we might be brought into that glorious liberty that is ours as children of God.”
Why? Because of God’s love.
Hosea says, “And the LORD said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods’” (Hosea 3:1). Paul tells us that this is precisely what Jesus did for us.
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:8
It is true that when Jesus found us enslaved in sin and stripped bare on the auction block, we were naked and exposed before him (Heb. 4:13). Nothing is hidden from his eyes; he knows all our sins and wickedness. But because of his great love he doesn’t leave us trembling and vulnerable where he found us, but he bought us with his own blood. As Hosea tells Gomer, so God tells us, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you” (3:3). “So we became his, and he took us and clothed us, not with the dirty robes of our old unrighteousness, which are as filthy rags, but in the robes of his righteousness.”
Oh this is encouragement indeed, the thought that while this greatest fear of mine is actually true, God’s love for me is truer still! Rather, the truth of God’s love outweighs, outshines and outlives my fear. God’s love sees me for who I really am and embraces me to himself anyway. God’s love finds me in my filthy sins and covers me in his own spotless righteousness. God’s love transforms me from a helpless, hopeless sinner into his beloved bride.
Pray With Me
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south. — Psalm 107:1-3
 James Montgomery Boice, The Minor Prophets, Vol. 1, An Expositional Commentary: Hosea – Jonah, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1983) 34.
 Ibid., 34.