(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
I’m going title Hosea, “The Ultimate Payment.” Maybe there are few places in the Old Testament where you see such a graphic, shocking, humbling picture of sin and God's grace. This is a shocking book of the Bible, on the surface, hard to understand. And so I want to put this in context; you will never understand the shocking nature of Hosea without understanding the warnings that God made to the children of Israel as they were entering the Promised Land.
I want to go back and read for you from Deuteronomy 6, verses 10ff:
And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and…Jacob, to give you…(to) build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and…destroy you from off the face of the earth.
Hosea presents to us a sad marital drama as an illustration of what sin is. Sin is spiritual adultery; it's being unfaithful in the same way marital adultery is an act of unfaithfulness. And it’s the exact warning that was made by God. You will think that you have everything, and you will first forget me, and then you will forsake me, and then you will run after other gods, other lovers.
God calls Hosea to marry a sexually immoral woman. The thing that you think is going to happen, happens. She leaves and she prostitutes herself. What a sad and horrible thing. It's in ways, a bad marriage that's gone worse. And then God tells Hosea to go and buy her back and make her his own again.
That shockingly, is us. We are the unfaithful ones; we run after other lovers. There are moments in my marriage where I would rather win an argument than to do what pleases my Lord. There are moments where I would rather use my money to buy me a nicer steak or another pair shoes than I would to give it in-service of God's kingdom work. There are times when I treat people as objects for my pleasure rather than as those made in the image of God.
Sin is spiritual adultery, but God takes spiritually adulterous people, and He pays the penalty for their unfaithfulness and buys them back by His redeeming grace so that we may be wed to Him in an eternal, spiritual union. How amazing is that! I bring no righteousness; I bring no worthiness; I bring nothing but my sin. But He places His love on me, and He will not turn His back on me. Jesus takes every ounce of our rejection; so in our marriage to our Lord, we would never again see the back of His head.