redeemedIn verse 2 God shows Hosea how to accomplish The Plan. It is by Paying the Price.

2 So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley.

Here we learn that love is rarely free. Love comes at a price. It costs something to love. Here in this verse we see that it cost Hosea 15 shekels of silver and five bushels of barley (just over 40 gallons), which would have cost another 15 shekels of silver. So his winning bid is paid half in silver, half in barley. Barley was given as part of the sacrificial system in Numbers 5, if a wife was suspected of unfaithfulness then she was tested before the priest and a barley sacrifice was given to the Lord. And we know from Exodus 21:32 that the life of a slave was valued at 30 shekels.

Thirty pieces of silver. Never mind that this would have been about 6 months wages in this day and time – half a year’s earnings. Who can get past the fact that in providing a picture of God’s love for His people, Hosea pays for Gomer what Judas was paid to betray Christ? Thirty pieces of silver.

But let’s pause for a moment and look a little more closely at this. How is it that Gomer ended up in a place where people were being bought and sold? And how is it that God commands Hosea to participate in the buying of a person? What we miss is that often in these times slavery was more like employment than what we think of as slavery. But we know that there were 3 ways that a person could end up on the auction block.

The first was by conquest. If your nation was attacked and you were captured or your nation was defeated you were taken by force into slavery as the spoils of war. The second way was being born to parents who were slaves. If your parents were slaves you became a slave to their owner.  The third way is the one we find here and this is why I have referred to it as more closely aligned with employment – a bad job with a bad boss to be sure. But you could be sold to pay your debts, or to work off your debts. Your time was owned by someone else until what you owed was paid off and then you would be released.

We know Gomer had run into a life of unfaithfulness pursuing having her wants met, but we know that even then, in chapter 2, she was not making money with this endeavor but losing money as Hosea had to provide her basic necessities. This to me is a picture of common grace. While running from Hosea and living in unfaithfulness, he still provides what she needs to live.

But now we have reached a point where she is being put up for sale to pay her debts.

While we leave Hosea and Gomer there at the slave auction for a moment, let’s answer a question – have we ever been slaves at any point in our lives? Yes, we have all been born slaves of sin, haven’t we? Born as the descendants of Adam, we have all been born in sin. Romans 6:16 tells us, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” John 8:34 adds, “Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.’” We were born slaves in need of being bought back, being redeemed, being freed from enslavement.

So here we find Gomer in a public square being offered at auction. Bids were being offered and here in her shame, remember just as God says in chapter 2 that He will strip and expose His people because of their sin, here Gomer would have been stripped and put on display so that those bidding could be sure of her health and ability to work. Imagine Hosea’s shame. Imagine what he had to endure as he saw her, his wife, like this in this place.

In our sin, and in our shame, we often forget how exposed we were and how we were unable to cover ourselves much less settle the debts we owed. That was Adam and Eve’s problem in the garden, wasn’t it? After their sin, they were exposed, naked, and ashamed. And they tried to cover themselves but it took the shedding of blood, it took the loss of life, to cover their sin.

When it comes to covering us because of our unrighteousness what is required? Righteousness. Ok. We can provide that, right? Wait, how many of us are righteous? How many of us, on our own, are good? We are just good ol’ boys and girls, right? With good hearts? The Bible says, “The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one.” (Psalm 14:2-3). This Psalm is quoted in Romans 3:10-12. Even Jesus replied when asked a question, when someone called Him “Good Teacher, He replied, “Why do you call Me good?  No one is good but One, that is, God.” (Matthew 19:17). Jesus here was not saying that He wasn’t good or that He wasn’t God, but He was making a point – outside and apart from God there is none good. Because we are born not good, no not one, we are uncovered, exposed, unrighteous, slaves of sin. Isaiah 64:6 leaves no doubt about our own righteousness – “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

God must be the One to cover our sin. And in order for Hosea to cover Gomer’s shame, he must first place the winning bid. He must pay the highest price. An amount equal to 30 pieces of silver – half in silver, 15 shekels, and half in barley. This is not merely a picture of God’s love or God’s plan. This, remember, is prophecy.

When Jesus came to pay the price to buy us, to redeem us from the slave market of sin, to cloth our shame with His righteousness, He was the One who was sold, for 30 pieces of silver. And we despise Judas as the Son of Perdition. And we cast aspersions on the Jewish leaders and the colluding Romans. But it is the fact that we were in need of redemption, it is because of our slavery to sin, it is because of US that Jesus had to go to the cross. We are the reason He died. We needed to be freed from sin and death and the price was far beyond 30 pieces of silver. It cost Him His life to redeem us.

And here is what the word redeemed means. To buy back.

Hosea bought Gomer back for himself. Jesus bought us back with His blood. Look at this. Hosea is buying back his wife – she is already his but by her sin was enslaved to others and so he had to pay this price, this half a year’s wages, to get back what was already his by covenant! Likewise God created us and we are His to do with as He pleases and He bought us back at the cost of the life of His Son.

In 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 we read, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Christ gave His life to pay for us. Can any bid be higher? Can any price be more precious? The life of God’s own Son?

After this auction then, legally, Hosea owned Gomer. Yet he restored her and treated her just like what she was already, his wife. Motivated by love, love like God loves us. Christ bought us. He owns us. He is our Lord and Master. And yet how does He treat us? Remember John 15:15? “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” We are His friends. We are His bride. We are His wife!

Romans 3:21-26 says, “21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

He has paid the penalty for our sin. He has given us His righteousness to cover our shame. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” And He secures us with His Spirit as we read in verse 13-14, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

Hebrews 9:12 tells us we have been redeemed “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” And verse 15 continues, “And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” This is what Christ has done for us to redeem us from sin and self. He paid the highest price. He demonstrated the highest love. He gave His life for us.