The Difficulty of Forgiveness
Has someone ever betrayed you? Have you ever betrayed someone else? Have you ever struggled with forgiving the person and the actions that were taken against you? Have you had to humble yourself to ask for forgiveness? These are super hard questions to reflect on. It may be that these questions bring to mind a time that was very difficult for you, or even painful. How did you handle the situation? Are you still dealing with the situation?
In the midst of a difficult relationship, God ask Hosea to do something that may be hard for us to understand. After Gomer had left him and was unfaithful, God instructed Hosea to go after her. Many of us would have never took back an unfaithful spouse, much less went after one. However, marriage is more than an agreement between two people; it is a commitment and covenant between two people and God. The scripture does not indicate any hesitation on Hosea’s part. It doesn’t mean that it was less difficult. Hosea obeyed God. His love for God was imparted to his wife. Through God, Hosea loved her and went after her.
Is there a Price for Forgiveness?
“So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half barley.” The amount he paid for her indicates that she was being sold as a slave. It doesn’t state how she ended up there, just that Hosea bought her and took her back, not to be a slave, but his wife. Imagine her disbelief to see her husband, whom she betrayed, giving money to buy her out of slavery. This was surely a testimony of his commitment to his marriage. Her mind must not have totally understood. This act is only one that can be explained by Hosea’s love of God and his institution of marriage.
In his payment, Hosea included barley. In Numbers 5: 15, barley was given as an offering for adultery. This could give the impression of forgiveness bestowed on Gomer. Forgiveness is in the solid foundation of salvation. We must ask forgiveness from God for our sins, and He imparts forgiveness to us.
Also, we must impart forgiveness to others, sometimes when they do not ask for it. Forgiveness of someone else is just as much about us, as it is the other person. If we are not willing or able to forgive, the hatred that grows can eat us up inside, corroding our spirit. When Peter asked Jesus how many times we must forgive our brother, “Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seven times seventy.”(Matthew 18:22) Not that we should count the times, but we should be willing to continue to forgive.
The Pursuit of God through Forgiveness
Hosea’s relationship with Gomer was used as a reflection of God and His relationship with Israel. Israel had broken the covenant and worshiped false gods. Yet, God loved Israel and wanted to bring her to restoration. Just as Gomer was probably in disbelief, imagine the disbelief that God would continue to pursue Israel after the constant betrayal of turning to false gods for provision and love.
Israel was in an enslavement to sin, just as Gomer was being sold as a slave. However, Gomer was purchased from that slavery. Ultimately, Christ would come and pay the price for sin, or our slavery. This was done so that anyone who seeks forgiveness through Him (Jesus) can have a relationship with God.
God loves, as was stated before. He pursued Israel as Hosea pursued Gomer. He has a love that continues. Providing a way through forgiveness of sins through Christ, we have a way to have salvation and a continuing relationship with God.
Forgiveness can be difficult. Yet, it is important in our relationships to exercise forgiveness when needed. God gives forgiveness freely when asked. We should be able to do the same for others.
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