crucified3I’m not sure how many of you have ever heard the story of Hosea, an Old Testament Prophet who was presented with a few strange requests from God. Well let me tell you a little bit about him.

Hosea, a prophet in the Old Testament, had an interesting life, a life that Hollywood would be grateful to portray in the movies. The plot line has twists, turns, ups and downs, and a request that seems unapproachable.

You see, Hosea is commanded by God to go, find a promiscuous woman, and marry her. What a strange request, I mean couldn’t he just pick one that he was attracted to, from a good family, and maybe even one he would meet in the synagogue? No, God has a plan and His plan foreshadows something that is incredibly important for our lives today, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Well Hosea finds and marries a woman named Gomer and she bears him two sons and a daughter. Well, after all of this, Gomer becomes unfaithful to Hosea. She leaves him to go back to her previous life of promiscuity.

I can only image how Hosea would have felt. “God, you told me to marry this woman, to bring her out of the life she was living to a good life, a life where you are glorified. Now she has left me and gone back to her old life. Why God?” Then the Lord speaks again. “Go, search out your wife, wherever she may be, whatever she may be doing, and show her your love again.”

What? Hosea needs to find his adulterous and unrepentant wife, and take her back? Now, at this point, she doesn’t even know that Hosea is looking for her, she might not even want to go back home, why would God want Hosea to do this? To show us something of God’s love.

Well, Hosea listened to God and found Gomer, but instead of just calling out to her and bringing her home, he needed to do something. He needed to redeem her. You see, she was living as a prostitute and therefore couldn’t just leave, she needed to be purchased back. Hosea bought her freedom with silver and barley, he redeemed her.

This is what it means to be redeemed. The dictionary explains it as “to gain or regain possession of something in exchange for payment. Hosea redeems Gomer by purchasing her back.

This sounds incredibly familiar. We fast forward to the New Testament, to Jesus Christ, to a redeeming action unlike no other. There are many times that we act like Hosea’s wife Gomer and go back to our lives, living with the sin that we continually commit. But then God searches us out, like Hosea, and when he finds us, he purchases us back, he redeems us.

God sends his only son to redeem us, to purchase us back, but not without a price. That price is Jesus’ death on the cross, a ransom for our broken and sinful lives. But thanks be to God, just like Jesus can take ordinary vessels of water and dramatically change them into good wine. Jesus can take ordinary lives, like you and me, and transform them into redeemed lives, living for a purpose, living for our God.

So let me remind you today that you are redeemed. You are not who you used to be. You may have been shackled and bound by failures and sins of the past, but there is great news here. We don’t have to continue living where we were, we are not who we used to be, we are redeemed.