Love That Will Not Let Me Go (Hosea 1-3)

Love That Will Not Let Me Go (Hosea 1-3)

PP&KHosea: Love That Will Not Let Me Go

Explanation of Series

    • Evangelicalism’s critical problem. “Gospel”/“Christ” can be assumed or expressed in a repetitive/formulaic way.
    • We need to discover, in God’s Word, more ways of speaking about Christ and his work.
    • Focus on Christ as our Redeemer:
      • Mediator – Two opposing parties.
      • Purpose – Reconciliation.
    • Fulfills 3 Roles: Prophet, Priest, & King
    • Three Approaches:
      • Systematic Theology (Whole of Scripture)
      • NT examples (Gospels; Hebrews)
      • OT examples (Lk. 24:25–27)
    • Every PPK > X:
      • True/Pure/Upright > Shadow, Substance Christ
      • False/Corrupt/Wicked > Man’s Inability, Need of Christ


    • Hosea = How God chose a bride & the cost to keep her.
    • ME: Search for a spouse. Impossibly high standards.
      • Eventually WE recognize the need to make compromises.
    • How does God find a bride?
      • Compromise, but certain there were no better options.
      • Yet, God selects a bride who would’ve failed every marital assessment available.
    • Hosea the prophet (God’s messenger):
      • Northern kingdom of Israel, 60 yrs < fall to Assyrians in 722.
      • Possibly the greatest price for his calling.
        • Visual demonstrations often accompanied a prophet’s message:
          • Jeremiah – Remain single/childless; NO funerals (Jer. 16:1–9). > Families would be wiped out; no time to mourn & lament.
          • Isaiah – Walk naked and barefoot for three years (Is. 20:3). > Egypt would be led away captive by the Cushites.
          • Ezekiel – Bake bread on human excrement (Ezek. 4:12). > Israel would soon be eating in foreign lands.
          • Hosea – Marry a prostitute > Sign of future grace.
    • Pray and Read Hosea 1:1–9

The Broken Marriage of Hosea and Gomer (1:1–9)

    • 1:2–3 Hosea is told to marry an adulterous woman.
      • Many have tried to soften this command:
        • Anticipates future unfaithfulness (chaste up to wedding).
        • Metaphorical of adulterous idolatry.
        • Gomer = Fertility-cult prostitute (4:14 diff. word).
      • Nothing in the text suggests these options (eisogesis).
    • Not just marriage, but “have children of whoredom.”
      • Only 1/3 appears to be his child:
        • “Jezreel” – (Location of a massacre i.e., Hiroshima) v.3 She [Gomer] bore him [Hosea] a son.
        • “Lo-ruhama” – (No Mercy) v.6 She conceived and bore.
        • “Lo-ammi” – (Not My People) v.8 “”
      • Makes sense of “children of whoredom.”
    • Hosea called to marry an unfaithful bride & raise children conceived in unfaithfulness!
    • Isn’t this the marriage you always dreamed of having? Yet, it points to God’s covenant relationship with his bride.

The Broken Marriage of God and Israel (Read 2:2–13)

    • Just like Hosea, God selects an unfaithful bride.
      • Idolatrous, offering own children (Ezek. 23:39).
      • Trusting in other nations for protection.
      • Broken commandments of the Lord.
    • God is separated from his bride due to her unfaithfulness (2:2).
    • Israel has begun to worship other gods. Their children were conceived through pagan fertility-cult practices (2:5).
    • God’s gifts > sacrifices to Baal (2:8); as if Baal makes the land fertile.
    • Imagine: A husband brings home food and clothing for his family, only to see his wife take it and run to her other lovers in order to share it with them.
    • God promises to judge his bride:
      • Removal of food and clothing. Naked and ashamed.(2:9)
      • No one comes to her rescue. They were simply using her. (2:10)
      • No more feasts (2:11) and harvests (2:12) imagining them to be wages of her lovers.
      • She continues to run to them, forgetting God altogether (2:13).
    • Do you recognize yourself here? This is a picture of you and me. We are the unfaithful Gomer. We are the ones continually taking God’s gifts and offering them to our idols. We take the resources and talents God has given us and use them to promote our own success. When the gifts cease we search for them in places where they do not exist (the world).
    • Apart from God we are naked, alone and ashamed. However, there is a way that we can be clothed again, to regain our dignity, and reunite with our Lord. But it is extraordinarily costly!

The Cost of Restoration (2:14–3:5)

    • Unexpected transition from judgment to mercy.
    • In the depths of her unfaithfulness, God calls to her and woos her back to him (2:14–15).
    • Listen to this remarkable passage 2:14–23
    • Why doesn’t he forget about her the way she had forgotten about him? Where’s the justice? Doesn’t justice demand punishment? God had ample justification to pour out his wrath upon her.
    • Yet, we read of God’s promise of an eternal betrothal (2:19–20).
    • Characteristics of Betrothal:
      • Righteousness, justice, steadfast love, mercy, faithfulness, and knowledge of God.
      • Mutual commitment.
      • Does God’s bride possess any of the attributes mentioned?
    • The covenant is renewed, but the stipulations have not been met. Apart from satisfaction, there can be no peace in the marriage.
    • At this point the scene transitions back to Hosea and Gomer.
    • Read 3:1–3
    • Gomer has left Hosea and three children to be with another man.
    • Imagine Hosea’s pain:
      • His wife in the arms of someone who cared nothing for her.
      • He must have been sick with grief.
      • Having to answer his children’s constant questions.
    • At this point, when Gomer’s unfaithfulness has hit rock bottom, God calls Hosea to redeem her.
    • Is Gomer a slave?
      • He bought her for the price of a slave.
        • 15 shekels.
        • Homer and lethech of barley? May be valued at the additional 15 shekels he couldn’t afford.
        • Total of 30 shekels. The price of a slave.
      • She would have been paraded naked before the crowd.
      • The humiliation depicted in this scene is palpable.
    • Left with one major problem, stipulations of betrothal.
      • With that in mind, we can read 1:10–2:1, 23
    • What warrants this sudden renaming of the children?
      • It is a reversal of judgment.
      • The children of Judah and the children of Israel are gathered “under one head” (1:11).
      • Paul explains in Romans 9:24–26 that these same verses apply to the Gentiles as well. How? Paul knows that the “one head” can be none other than Jesus Christ.
        • It was Jesus who said, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd,” (John 10:16).
        • Derek Kidner concludes, “The prophecy, in fact, after touching-down in the post-exilic age [union of Judah and Israel], leaps into the present and names us who are believers ‘the Israel of God’, whether we are Jews or Gentiles.”
    • Hosea 3:4–5 adds further proof:
      • “David their king” is already dead, so this verse points forward to a future David.
      • William Dumbrell writes, “Hosea 3:1–5 anticipates the restortion of Davidic rule over a united Israel, destined to have its fulfillment only in Christ.”
    • True and lasting reconciliation between God and his bride doesn’t occur until the coming of Jesus Christ.
      • Christ alone was able to…
        • Cover the cost of our redemption in his passive obedience
        • Secure our fidelity with his active obedience
      • In other words, He accomplished two things that we never could:
        • He satisfied every betrothal requirement (active obedience).
        • He suffered God’s wrath, paying the penalty for our unfaithfulness (passive obedience).
    • Only through union with Christ, in His life and death, can anyone be reconciled to God.


  • God offers true intimacy.
    • Not cold and distant.
    • We are in his loving embrace forever!
    • Only when we recognize that, will we quit searching elsewhere.
  • Christ is the true bridegroom (Hosea = shadow).
    • Hosea humbled himself in order to take an unfaithful bride
      • Jesus Christ humbled himself in order to rescue an unfaithful people.
    • Hosea redeemed Gomer for some shekels and barley.
      • Jesus Christ redeemed his bride at the cost of his life!
  • Like Gomer, our only hope is in a love we don’t deserve; a love that will not let us go!

Benediction: May the Lord grant you to see where you are lacking, that you might have everything; May He grant you a vision of your poverty, that you might be rich beyond measure, May He show you that you are destitute so that you may be filled with fullness of His supply.


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