A Return to the King

Hosea 3

And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.”

Hosea 3:1

In Hosea chapter 3, God commands for Hosea to redeem his wayward wife. Hosea had given the same treatment to Gomer that God would give to the Israelites. As mentioned in the previous chapter, God vowed to hold back his blessings, allowing Israel to fall into devastation so that they would realize who their God truly was. When the time came, Israel would return to the Lord as his Children, reconciled in God’s mercy and righteousness. Now, Hosea was to live out this redemption in his marriage as a metaphor. God commands him to go and love his unfaithful wife, showing her underserving mercy in order to give example of what God’s love is truly like.

So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” 

Hosea 3:2-3

Hosea obeys and buys back (redeems) her for a specified price, revealing that her desperate condition had forced her into an unspecified state of slavery- a situation the Israelites would soon find themselves in. Hosea pays her wage to free her from captivity and then gives her a command. He says that she must live as his, and belong to him. She must reject her life of whoredom. Then, he makes a return promise: that he will also belong to her and be faithful to her. Hosea beautifully restores the covenant with his adulterous wife after rescuing her from her deserved fate.

For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.

Hosea 3:4-5

The Israelites will have the same fate as Gomer- God will give them to what their desires in an effort to win their hearts so that may return and seek the Lord. One day, they will come to fear the Lord and return to his goodness.

But, Hosea mentions that they will not only return and seek the Lord but also David their King. Why mention David? The northern kingdom, Ephraim, whom this addresses, had rejected the house of David. They had been in revolt against it for two centuries. David was whom God had made covenant with for the people of Israel so, in rejecting the head lineage of God’s chosen people, they were rejecting their covenant with God. Being united again to the house of God represented being reunited under the covenant. But no matter how the Israelites responded to the covenant, God would be faithful and intended to honor his covenant with David, though the Israelites were underserving by actively rejecting him.

Time and time again the Israelites would prove unworthy of the covenant, but God had always planned for the redemption of his people. V. 5 was not merely a prophecy that the Israelites would return to him after exile, for the Israelites continued to fail their God. It points to a future hope, when the covenant would be completely fulfilled in the latter days. It points to Jesus Christ. Jesus came from the lineage of David and thus Hosea’s words ring true that the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their King. Jesus is the King of Kings, the Son of David.

Jesus did not just come to fulfill the covenant for the Israelites but came to bring a new covenant in his blood. The new covenant reconciles by grace alone. Jesus purchased his people by the cross so that all who are called would be reconciled and redeemed through him and not by any other means.

In the Old Testament, God’s people, by faith, obeyed the laws and offered sacrifices as a means to uphold the end of their covenant. Through Jesus, all who are called to him are ushered into the presence of God to be reconciled eternally. We can be fully restored to seek God as his children by seeking Christ, Son of David and King of Kings. We shall fear the Lord as we were meant to and live in his goodness.

Like the Israelites and Gomer, we fall short and succumb to our flesh and desires. We sin against God in our spiritual adultery. But God is faithful and he has proven how much he loves and how far he was willing to go to redeem us. He sent his Son to take our place, being sacrificed as our atonement. Through Jesus, we can return to our true King and love. We can belong to God and he to us- A promise made by God and fulfilled completely through Jesus Christ.

11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

Hebrews 9:11-15

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