Sermon: For Time and Eternity
Scripture: Matthew 5:31-32
In this week’s lessons, we learn what faithfulness in marriage means through a dramatic illustration from the life of the prophet Hosea.
Theme: Gomer the Slave
“Someone asks, ‘Do you mean God loves us even when we run away from him?’ Of course he does! Have you never run away from God? And does he not give you the strength to run? When we see this love at work through the heart of Hosea we may wonder if God is really like that. But everything in the Word and in experience shows us that He is. He will give man the trees of the forest and the iron in the ground. Then He will give to man the brains to make an axe from the iron to cut down a tree and fashion it into a cross. He will give man the ability to make a hammer and nails, and when man has the cross and the hammer and nails, the Lord will allow man to take hold of Him and bring Him to that cross; He will stretch out His hands upon it and allow man to nail Him to that cross, and in so doing will take the sins of men upon Himself and make it possible for those who have despised and rejected Him to come unto Him and know the joy of sins removed and forgiven, to know the assurance of pardon and eternal life, and to enter into the prospect of the hope of glory with Him forever. That is how much God loves you. He pursues you because He loves you and wants you to commit yourself to Him.
“Thus Hosea kept on loving Gomer, who gradually sank to the depths of degradation. She sank so low that she became a slave; and in accordance with ancient custom in the city of Jerusalem she was put up on the slave block, naked. God told Hosea to buy her.
“We know a great deal about the slave market in ancient times. Almost half the population was in slavery to the other half, and there was scarcely a day and scarcely a city in which human beings were not sold openly in the market. The ancient writers have left us terrible pictures of this sale of human souls. A writer of comedy laughs at the sight of a very fat man being sold in the marketplace while the bystanders reflect that he would eat them out of house and home, and one, justifying the bid, says that he has a mill-wheel that is squeaking and that this slave, cut into pieces, would be cheaper than buying grease. Then a female slave is put up for auction, her clothes removed, and the bystanders laugh among themselves as they bid for the body of the slave.
“It was to a scene like this that Hosea was called to go. The Lord told him that he was to go and purchase the wife he had loved so long, but who was now being sold in the market. Suddenly before the eyes of Hosea appeared the woman he loved with all his heart. Her veil was taken from her face, her body was exposed to the gaze of the crowd, and the bidding began. Three pieces of silver… five . . . eight … ten pieces of silver… eleven… twelve… and Hosea then bids fifteen pieces of silver. The market is tense, the low bidders have dropped out. Another voice calls, ‘Fifteen pieces of silver and a bushel of barley.’ Hosea replies, ‘Fifteen pieces of silver and a bushel and a half of barley.’ The auctioneer looks around, is unable to get a higher bid, and announces that this woman is sold to Hosea. The curious onlookers gaze at the scene. The husband goes to the wife and helps her with her clothing, puts her veil upon her face and leads her into the anonymity of the crowd.
“Does God love us like that? Listen to the story as it is recorded in the third chapter of Hosea: ‘Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love this woman, beloved of her friend, this adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel.’ Love her? ‘Even as the LORD loves the people of Israel.’ But Lord, she is a harlot, sold on the auction block as an adulterous slave! ‘Go love her,’ says God, ‘love her, even as the Lord loves you.’
To what situation does Gomer’s unfaithfulness eventually take her?
Describe the nature of this practice.
What does this part of the story illustrate?
Reflection: How have you seen a person’s spiritual rebellion bring disastrous consequences? How was God’s love seen in this situation?