Lenten Devotional, March 3: By Stephen Fox

Published March 3, 2020 by SMBC

?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.? So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley.? -- Hosea 3:1-2

The book of Hosea tells the story of how God instructed the prophet Hosea to marry Gomer, a promiscuous woman who would be a concrete example of how the people of Israel were acting in their relationship with God. Until recently, I have always read this book from Hosea's perspective. I considered the shame that Hosea knew living out his life with a woman that no man would select for himself, a woman who was always stepping out with other men. I can imagine the sidelong glances Hosea received from the locals, who all-too-well knew of Gomer's affairs and recounted them openly among themselves.

After enduring this hardship for many years, Hosea receives news that Gomer had become a slave. He must endure a final humiliation to buy her back. I always felt that Hosea got the short end of the stick in his relationship with Gomer.

Recently, I was looking in the second chapter of Ephesians, internalizing Paul's words of how I was once dead in my transgressions and sins. I was the one gratifying the cravings of my flesh and deserving of wrath. And something clicked: I was Gomer and God found me in that slave market to redeem me with the price.

Yet, there is no shame or guilt. All my transgressions are forgiven. Just as Hosea raised Gomer up and seated her next to him as his bride, God raises me up with Christ and seats me with Him. Just as Hosea chose to restart his relationship with Gomer, God has chosen to restart His relationship with me.

In this Lenten season, let's all pray for continued strength to overcome our past struggles with temptations to remain dedicated to this new relationship we have with God.