I am prone to forget the gospel. Sometimes in the midst of my gospel-amnesia I wake up and realize that something is missing. There are certain parts of Scripture that I continue to return to that has a tendency to wake me up and remind me of the beauty of what Christ has done, is doing, and is going to do. One particular place is Hosea 2:14-15:
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
If you pull out a Bible and check out all of Hosea 2 verse 14 is ridiculously unexpected. For thirteen verses the husband describes his harlot wife. She has taken all of the gifts that her husband lavished on her and has decided to spend them on other lovers.
Let me try to give you a picture of this. I buy my wife flowers, perfume, a new dress, the makeup she has been wanting, and a really nice piece of jewelry. On the next Friday I come home and see my wife getting all gussied up. I’m excited because I assume that she has something special in store for me.
So, I get myself ready and put on my best clothes and ask her where she would like to dine out that evening. To my dismay she informs that she cannot go out to dinner with me because she already has a date with some other dude.
That is what Israel has been doing to the Lord. And for the first thirteen verses you see the husbands response. He is going to strip her of everything that is desirable. He is going to take back the dress, the perfume, the jewelry, the makeup, EVERYTHING. And he is going to see if she will be able to attract her lovers now.
Of course she cannot. At the end of verse 13 she has nothing that would even turn the eye of a passerby. Sure, she’s naked. But she’s such a broken shell of herself that the only emotions she evokes is either pity or disdain. She’s ready for the taking—problem is nobody wants her anymore.
Then we are shocked by verse 14. Picture the whore. She has forsaken her husband, she has been rejected by her lovers, she is broken, empty, she has nothing that anyone in creation would desire. You expect verse 14 to say “Therefore, behold, I will have taught her a lesson. I will leave her there and maybe she’ll come crawling back. I may forgive her but I’ll never trust her again. I definitely will not be buying her jewelry anymore.”
But that’s not verse 14. The husband puts on his best suit, buys some cologne, shaves the beard that sprang from his sorrow, cuts his unkempt hair, and he goes to the store buys some flowers and candy. He’s acting like a junior high boy trying to attract the cute girl in Science class. He’s going to win back his wife.
And there he finds her. Broken, ashamed, and naked in the wilderness. The husband goes up to his wife and whispers words that only husbands and wives know. She has nothing left to desire and the husband goes up to her and says—“I still want you. You’re still mine. I know what you’ve done. I know you have nothing to offer, but I still want you”.
I wonder what the harlot did that day in the wilderness. Did she try to hide? Did she run away? Did she try to put makeup on her tattered face? Or did she just sit there awestruck that after all she had done He still loved her?
Whenever I forget the gospel I go back to stories like this one and I remember the day that I was the whore in the wilderness. (Not to mention the hundreds of times this story has been relived).