Hosea 3:1-5, Romans 5:6-8, Exodus 20:1-3
We love heroes. The hero of a story is the one we want to resonate with and be like. If you grew up attending Sunday school like I did, that’s often how you come to Bible stories: Who is the hero I should emulate? And certainly there are some heroes in Scripture, or at least heroic moments. There is courage and faithfulness and self-sacrifice.
In Hosea 3 we see an act of bold, selfless, forgiving love. Hosea goes to redeem his unfaithful wife for a price, to buy her out of prostitution. Wow. He took her back and paid a price for her, despite her repeated brazen unfaithfulness.
But if we are looking for a character with whom to relate in this story, it is not Hosea. It is his wife, the adulteress. We are not the redeemer; we are the unfaithful ones in need of redemption.
If that seems harsh or crass, it simply means we lack context. Throughout the Old Testament, God iterates and reiterates His covenant of faithfulness to His people, like a marriage covenant. He affirms that He will be faithful to them (us)—He will be their God and they will be His people. Yet, time and again, the people break that covenant; they cheat on Him. They are unfaithful by seeking out other gods or seeking to be their own gods. And we are just the same.
The hero of this story is God the Redeemer, the One who purchased His unfaithful bride out of the bondage they (we) chose. But this is no rom-com story of unrequited love turned to affection in a twenty-minute montage. In this story, God’s people must wait for restoration. Wholeness after brokenness doesn’t happen all at once, or even in a short time.
For Israel, God was promising the coming of Christ after a long wait. He would free them from exile, but their restoration would come only after a long wait. And what He asks of them is faithfulness—to cling to Him and no other. And that is the command for us as well.
Our wait after redemption is for sanctification, to be made holy. This does not happen all at once but rather by grace, through faith, over time—until the day comes when God’s people are made perfect in His presence.
Here and now, we must look to our Redeemer, the One who paid a price for our unfaithful selves, and be faithful to Him. This is our call. We are called to be faithful to Him alone while we wait for the restoration that will make us whole and free in God’s goodness.
We are the rescued, and He is the hero.
Written By Barnabas Piper