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The Blue Letter Bible

David Guzik :: Study Guide for Hosea 3

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The Restoration of an Adulterous Wife

A. The restoration of Gomer.

1. (Hos 3:1) God commands Hosea to love Gomer again.

Then the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the LORD for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans."

a. Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery: God directs Hosea to go back to his wife, even though she is committing adultery. It isn't in the past; it is in the present; yet he is commanded to go back to her and to love her.

i. This shows us that though Deuteronomy 24:1 and Matthew 19:7-8 permit divorce when adultery breaks the marriage union, it by no means commands divorce. If God commanded divorce in the case of adultery, then He would go against His own command here.

ii. This also shows us an important principle about love: Hosea is directed to love, even when it must have been hard to love. We are filled with many romantic illusions about love, and one of these illusions is that love has very little to do with our will - we are just "captured" by love and follow whatever course it leads. But in principle, the Scriptures show us another way: That love is largely a matter of the will, and when we direct ourselves to love someone God tells us we must love, it can and will happen. This is why "We're not in love anymore" isn't valid grounds for a bad relationship or divorce. It assumes that love is something beyond or outside of our will.

b. Just like the love of the LORD for the children of Israel: Why did God command Hosea to go back to his still-unfaithful wife? Not only for the sake of Hosea and his wife Gomer, but also so that they would become a living lesson of the LORD's relationship with His people. They were still steeped in spiritual adultery, yet the LORD still loved them.

i. When we think of the greatness of God's love and compassion towards us, it should make us much more loving, compassionate, and forgiving towards others.

2. (Hos 3:2-3) Hosea demonstrates his love to Gomer and restores her through purchase.

So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. And I said to her, "You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so, too, will I be toward you."

a. So I bought her for myself: Hosea didn't really need to "buy" His own wife, to hire her as a prostitute. She was his wife! But as a display of love and commitment, he goes the "extra mile," beyond what is expected or even reasonable.

i. In providing this way for his own wife, Hosea also showed her: "I can give you what the others can. You don't need them. Let me show you how I can provide for your needs."

ii. Boice takes bought her for myself to mean that Gomer was sold as a slave and Hosea bought her out of her slavery. This is possible, but not necessary. It seems more natural to regard the payment as "buying her out of prostitution."

b. You shall stay with me many days: The point of paying Gomer wasn't just to get her to give up her trade as a prostitute. It was to bring her into relationship with Hosea, her husband. Relationship and living together was the goal.

B. The restoration of Israel.

1. (Hos 3:4) The fallen state of Israel.

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim.

a. Without king or prince: In her fallen state, Israel will not have the national or political leadership she needs.

b. Without sacrifice or sacred pillar: In her fallen state, Israel will not have the spiritual service she needs.

c. Without ephod or teraphim: In her fallen state, Israel will not have the supernatural guidance and direction she needs.

2. (Hos 3:5) The restored state of Israel.

Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.

a. The children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God: In this time of political and spiritual ruin, Israel will return and seek the LORD again. This will mark their restoration - and there will be no restoration until they turn back to the LORD.

b. And David their king … in the latter days: This shows that this prophecy will be ultimately fulfilled in the millennial kingdom, where David will reign over Israel (Isaiah 55:3-5, Jeremiah 30:9, Ezekiel 34:23-25). But any individual right now can enjoy this blessing of restored relationship if they will turn back to the LORD.

© 2001 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission

Study Guide for Daniel 1 ← Prior Book
Study Guide for Joel 1 Next Book →
Study Guide for Hosea 2 ← Prior Chapter
Study Guide for Hosea 4 Next Chapter →
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