Hosea 3 has God asking Hosea to do the impossible. “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes”. God directs Hosea to go back to his wife, even though she is committing adultery. It isn’t in the past; it is in the present; yet he is commanded to go back to her and to love her. This shows us an important principle about love: Hosea is directed to love, even when it would have been extremely hard to love. His wife certainly doesn’t deserve it according to human standards.
But God has a different way. While we are filled with many romantic illusions about love, one of these illusions is that love has very little to do with our will – we are just “captured” by love and follow whatever course it leads. But in principle, God’s Word shows us another way: That love is largely a matter of the will, and when we direct ourselves to love someone God tells us we must love, it can and will happen. This is why “We’re not in love anymore” isn’t valid grounds for a bad relationship or divorce. It assumes that love is something beyond or outside of our will.
Then Hosea does something unbelievable. “So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley”. Hosea didn’t really need to “buy” His own wife, to hire her as a prostitute. She was his wife after all! But as a display of love and commitment, he goes the “extra mile,” beyond what is expected or even reasonable. In providing this way for his own wife, Hosea also showed her: “I can give you what the others can. You don’t need them. Let me show you how I can provide for your needs.”
The lesson Hosea lives is explained in terms of God’s people. “For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince….Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king”. God is in the restoration business, for His people, and between husbands and wives. God wants us to love each other and to love Him. In this time of political and spiritual ruin, Israel will return and seek the Lord again. This will mark their restoration – and there will be no restoration until they turn back to the Lord. That’s always God’s plan – to restore us to Him and to one another.