March 05, 2010

Sold to the Highest Bidder

Hosea 3

“Go, show your love to your wife again … Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites …”
Hosea 3:1


The scene played out in today’s Scripture reading is heart wrenching. Apparently Hosea and Gomer had been living apart, and she had become the property of someone else. Gomer’s usefulness as a prostitute slave had ended. So she was brought by her owner into a slave market, where she was put up for sale.

Imaginehowdegradingthatwouldhavebeen!Imagine the astonishment and pity (or disgust) on the face of every onlooker. Imagine every whisper hushed by the announcement that the bidding on Gomer had begun.

Then the silence in the slave market was broken by the voice of a bidder—Hosea! He was the last person anyone would have expected to have interest in Gomer, but Hosea bought back his unfaithful wife and took her home. Someone once said that this passage records the only time in history that “a slave market was bright with the revelation of the love of God.”

The Bible calls this kind of transaction a redemption. Jesus has done for us what God told Hosea to do for Gomer. We used to be “slaves to sin” (Romans 6:17), but we have been “redeemed … with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19). He “gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14). Jesus has bought us, and we belong to him.

Lord, how can we thank you enough for the love you have shown us? Help us to live every day as those who belong to Jesus, our Master. We pray in his name. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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