Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Absolutely awe-inspiring redemption, continued


Have you ever wanted something so badly, that you've been willing to give anything to get it? Have you told yourself, "It's worth all I have!" Have you been so eager to purchase it, that you didn't care about the cost?

Stay tuned, because that is what we are studying today!

When we left Gomer, she was standing in the marketplace, about to be sold as a slave. She'd left Hosea and the children, and pursued her own pleasures and desires. Then she'd been tossed aside. Pretty sordid story, right? Sad . . .

But it didn't stay that way!
Remember, we said that God told Hosea to go and show her she was loved. To find her, and to love her. And Hosea went -- no hesitation, no questions -- he went and found her. She was probably a far cry from the youth and loveliness that he'd married. But when he saw her, he didn't hate her. He didn't look away, and pretend he didn't know her. He didn't turn away from her. It must have broken his heart to see her in such a condition, and so Hosea did what he had to do.
...................for fifteen pieces of silver, and for a homer and half a homer of barley... (Hosea 3:2)

The "standard" price for a slave was, as we mentioned last week, thirty shekels of silver. We know that because of this verse:
If the bull gores a male or female slave, the owner must pay thirty shekels of silver to the master of the slave, and the bull is to be stoned to death. (Exodus 21:32)
Evidently, Hosea didn't have the full price of thirty shekels, so he added to his silver about 430 pounds of grain. So, we can see that he truly gave all that he had. This purchase was so important to him that he didn't care if he had nothing left.

But wait.
This purchase also cost Hosea something else. It cost him his pride. Think about it. He is in a public place, and there is a large crowd there. Everyone would have known who he was -- remember we said that the lives and the words of the prophets were very interesting to the people, even though they rejected the God that he spoke for....
Standing in that public place, he had to purchase for himself a woman who had betrayed him, over and over. But that is exactly what he does. Hosea willingly paid a steep price to redeem Gomer from slavery. And it gives us a clue to Hosea's huge heart, when he tells her to stay true to him, and he'll be true to her. No resentful glances. No bitterness. Just the love that makes him purchase her out of slavery.

I guess you know what I'm going to say next. But it truly is awe-inspiring. Hosea's actions here are just a small picture of the huge work that God has done for us. Like Gomer, we are slaves to sin. But God came into this world in the person of His Son. He gave all that He had. He gave Himself, as a sacrifice for our sins. He gave so much more than thirty pieces of silver; He gave His life and shed His sinless blood on the cross.
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (I Peter 1:18-19)
Jesus willingly suffered the shame and public humiliation necessary to redeem us. Picture this again in your mind . . . the Creator of the universe is hanging on a cross, surrounded by the puny, sinful beings of the world, and ridiculed by the Jewish leaders. He's mistreated by the Roman soldiers. He is even ridiculed and despised by one of the criminals hanging near him. He endured it all so that He could purchase us, redeem us from the slavery of sin.
...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:2-3)

There's an interesting difference in the King James Version of verse 2 in chapter three of Hosea. It says, "I bought her to me." In the culture of that time, Gomer already "belonged" to Hosea because of their marriage. Now, after his purchase in the slave auction, Gomer is his completely. He has bought her. She is his, because he has sacrificed all that he had, in order to make her his, exclusively. The name "Gomer" means "completely." First, she was completely lost in her sins. Now she is completely loved. Completely forgiven.

That happens in our lives, too. When God saves us, we become His. Completely His. We are completely loved, forgiven, and redeemed by His grace. And in addition, our relationship with him is far more intimate than that of a slave. God becomes our Father!
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. ( I John 3:1-2)

I heard a wonderful illustration and wanted to share it with you:

                This is the story of a little boy who built a sailboat. He built it and fixed it up,
                and painted it. He took it to the lake and pushed it in, hoping it would sail.
                Sure enough, a breeze filled the little said and the boat wen gliding along the
                waves.
                Suddenly, before the little boy realized it, the sailboat was out of his reach,
                even though he waded in quickly and tried to grab it. As he watched it float
                away, he hoped perhaps the wind would shift and bring it sailing back to
                him. Instead, he watched it go farther and farther until it was gone.
                He went home crying, and his mother asked, "Didn't it work?"
                He said, "It worked too well."
                Some time later, the little boy was downtown and walked past a second-
                hand store. There in the window was his boat!
                He went in and looked, and there was no mistake. He told the shopkeeper,
                "That's my boat." He picked it up and started to leave.
                The shopkeeper told him, "Wait a minute, son, That's my boat. I bought
                 it from someone." The boy said, "No, sir, I made it. See?" And he showed
                 him the marks where he hammered and sanded.
                 The shopkeeper said, "I'm sorry, son. If you want it, you'll have to buy it."
                 The little boy didn't have any money, so he worked hard and saved his
                  pennies. Finally, one day he had enough money, and he bought the little
                  boat.
                  As he left the store, holding the boat close to him, he was heard to say,
                  "You're my boat. You're twice my boat. First you're my boat because I
                   made you, and second you're my boat because I bought you!"

If ever we get depressed, and we start thinking that we aren't worth much, we need to stop and think. Remember what God thinks of us. 
We are His. Not just once, but twice His! He made us; we are His because He created us. And then, we are His because He bought us, on the cross. He paid the price to redeem us. 

Awe-inspiring redemption. We'll conclude our study tomorrow.

1 comment:

Katie Isabella said...

I love the illustration of the little boy and his boat---the allegory--- and I love the devotional you have lovingly put here for us.