Hosea 3:5 is one of the most profound scriptures in all of the Bible. It says:
5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.
Fear the Lord and His goodness! I’ll never forget the first time I noticed that phrase. It perplexed me. There are many scriptures in the Bible that say we should fear the Lord, but we typically think the reason we should fear the Lord is because of His holiness, wrath, or because He is awesome….but for his goodness???
I began to seek the Lord to ask why His goodness would produce godly reverence. As I inquired of the Lord, He directed me to look at the context of this verse. This verse is contained in the book of Hosea which is symbolic of God’s relationship with the nation of Israel. It is also symbolic of Jesus’s relationship with the church.
The prophet Hosea is a type of Christ. His name literally means salvation. In this story, God told Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer. Gomer represents the nation of Israel who God symbolically married when He made a covenant with them at Mt. Sinai. Israel proceeded to commit adultery on God and took other lovers in the form of false gods (idols). In Hosea, Gomer did the same thing. After her marriage to Hosea, she committed adultery with other lovers and was impregnated by them.
Hosea 2:2-13 teaches how the Lord dealt with Isreal and how Hosea dealt with Gomer. The Lord begin to fence her in so she couldn’t get to her other lovers. Hosea 2:8 reveals the Lord’s broken heart as He is going through His anguish:
8 She doesn’t realize it was I who gave her everything she has— the grain, the new wine, the olive oil; I even gave her silver and gold. But she gave all my gifts to Baal. (NLT)
God blessed a nation and Hosea blessed a wife with everything they had and both of them gave it all away to another lover. Many of us would break a relationship with a person who treated us that way, but look at what the Lord does in the rest of Hosea 2:
14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her. God is alluring, wooing, and seducing a woman who cheated on Him. He is speaking comfort and not judgment to her.
15 I will give her her vineyards from there, And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, As in the days of her youth As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. He blessed her with vineyards! And not because of her goodness, but because He is good. He blessed her so much she would rejoice!
16 “And it shall be, in that day,”Says the Lord, “That you will call Me ‘My Husband, ’And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’ The adulteress fell in love with the Lord. Their relationship changed from servant/master to a passionate marriage. This is something the Lord wants for each of us!!! He wants us to relate to Him in terms of love and passion and not through the mere obligation of a servant.
In Hosea 3, God instructs Hosea to redeem Gomer by paying 15 shekels for her. Under the law, the price of a common slave was 30 shekels. Gomer was so used up and spit out by the world that her value was half the price of a common slave.
This is a picture of how Jesus relates to His bride; the church. When Jesus redeemed the church (us) with His blood, according to the world’s standards we were worthless. Metaphorically, many of us were worth less than half the price of a common slave. I know I certainly was. And Jesus bought us anyway! Why? Because He sees value in you and me that the world doesn’t see!
And the most amazing thing is that when we do as Gomer did in this story and take other lovers and walk away from Him for a season, He still continually pursues after us. He is love and His love never fails so He is constantly shutting doors in our lives that lead to other lovers, so we turn and face Him and He can allure us with His eyes!
The story of Hosea and Gomer illustrates Jesus’s love for us! It’s such an extravagant love it’s almost impossible to describe. How can any one person be so good? I believe when people understand this, they will begin to fear Him for His goodness. A reverence and awe will hit both the church and world that it will produce more passion and holiness than all the hellfire and brimstone sermons in the world!
God’s love story with us restores the awe and wonder of Him!
Psalms 136:1 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.