A Tale of Holy Love, Unfaithfulness, Justice, Mercy, and Grace
Gomer’s sin and adultery led her into slavery and bondage. While it is unclear whether she became a literal slave, Gomer was indeed enslaved mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to the lifestyle she had chosen. She was trapped in the downward spiral of sin, and in her own power she couldn’t escape, even if she wanted to.
Nevertheless, the faithful husband that she had left behind was on his way to rescue her…
“So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley.”
While the Bible does not clearly state why Hosea had to purchase Gomer, it does imply that Gomer had wound up in slavery. Though there are differing opinions among Bible commentators and scholars on this point, the majority agree with this implication. Why? Because Hosea had to buy his wife back. What else, other than slavery, would he have bought her from?
Hosea was married to Gomer and according to ancient customs that meant that she was already completely under his authority. The rights of women back in Old Testament times were not what they are today, and unfortunately women were virtually the possession and property of their husbands. While some men exploited this social standard, others like Hosea did not exercise the full extent of their cultural-given authority. Hosea was a righteous, godly, and just man so Gomer had no excuse to leave him. But she did, and landed herself in slavery and bondage to another, ungodly master who would have been much harsher than the husband she left.
Through Gomer, we vividly see the foolishness of sin. Before being unfaithful, she might have reasoned that Hosea was an overly strict husband who didn’t want her to be happy or enjoy life. In any case, she convinced herself that her happiness and fulfillment were all that mattered and went off to find those things. But what happened? She ended up in an even worse situation from what she left. She might have been trying to escape the authority of her husband but instead wound up under the bondage of a worse master. Gomer may have been looking for personal happiness, pleasure, and fulfillment but ended up in misery and the cruel confines of slavery.
This tragic end is always the destination of sin. Sin never leads to what we think it will, but always to slavery, discontentment, and misery. While it promises much, it actually gives very little. However, this place of despair doesn’t have to be the end of the story. We can, like Gomer, be redeemed.
Now remember, according to ancient customs, as Gomer’s husband, Hosea already owned Gomer in a sense. Because of their marriage, he was her chief authority and sole master. Therefore, he shouldn’t have to purchase her back from another man. But he did.
Back in Old Testament times, the value of an average slave was around 30 shekels of silver. Hosea paid half that price indicating that Gomer’s value was below average. She had cheapened herself through the sinful life she had chosen. But Hosea didn’t care. He bought her anyways, sordid past and all, and re-established her as his wife.
The beauty of Hosea and Gomer’s story lies not in the fact that it was perfect, happily ever after, or reciprocal, but rather in that it shows a love that was completely one-sided, a love that overcame heartbreak, unfaithfulness, and distance to bring the wayward one home. The power of Hosea’s love was not displayed through what he said but in what he DID. It was a love given by God to foreshadow that of another Lover who would give everything to bring home a lost people.
But you already know that story…
Therefore, what parallels do you see between yourself and Gomer? What similarities are present between Hosea and Jesus? In what ways does the purchase and restoration of Gomer match your own story of redemption?
Like Gomer, we also have been purchased from our slavery; however, our ransom price was much, much higher. Rather than being weighed in silver, it was weighed in blood—perfect, innocent blood that could only come from a divine Savior. It was a sacrifice that was freely given to ensure the restoration of a lost love.
So will you come home? If you’ve left your first love and run off after the world and its pleasures, will you return to the Lover of your soul? Will you accept the offer of freedom Jesus is extending towards you and leave your slavery to sin and become a slave of God?
There’s still time. The door is open. Your ransom has already been paid in full and Jesus Christ is waiting for you with open arms. But the decision is up to you. So what will you choose?
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”