Many are familiar with the story of Hosea. A prophet of God is told to marry a woman of ill repute. They have a few kids and then she runs off and sleeps with another man. Hosea’s life is an incarnate parable of of God’s relationship with Israel. He had redeemed her out of pagan lands (Abraham was a star-worshipper, Neh 9.7) and had broken her chains of slavery to the Egyptians. Once things seemed to be secure, Israel begins to commit adultery with the neighboring people’s religion. She began to sleep with Ba’al.
Many would have us believe that when God redeems people from their slavery and whoredom with sin that he woos (or lovingly encourages us) to come to him. This is not the story of Hosea – and by extension, the story of Christian redemption.
Hosea goes to his adulterous wife and does not woo her. He goes and buys her back (Hos 3.2). He tells her, “You must dwell with me…You must not play the whore” (v.3). Hosea does not have a conference with her. He does not ask her to write down the positives and negatives of such a decision as to whether she will return with him. His commands to her stem from his having purchased her. Because he effectively owns her, he is then able to make demands on her.
So it is with the purchasing done for us on the Cross. Jesus does not woo us. He purchased us – not with silver or gold, but with his infinite blood (1 Peter 1.18-19). And so, those sheep who belong to him must dwell with him.