Bought With A Price

Minor Musings | Hosea 3

Three things: Price, value and worth
Sometimes they line up?  
Most of the time they do not.

Think with me…  Your answers will be different than mine. 
What was the last item you bought? 
Two large pizzas from Coconut Kenny’s.
What was the price on the item? 
Two large pizzas from Coconut Kenny’s on a Sunday is $35 and some change because on Sunday’s every large pizza is $4 off.
What was the value of the item? 
One large pizza makes eight slices and they load it up with toppings, but really, how much could the dough and toppings have cost for those two pizzas?  Maybe $7 or $8 tops, probably less?
What was the item worth to you? 
Well, one pizza was for the kids to eat and the other was for Amy and me to take with us on a date.  It was worth the time to be with my wife; to park down by the harbor, watch the sunset, munch on our favorite pizza, and talk about life and love and days behind us and days before us.  I’m not sure what that’s worth then.  It’s hard to decide really, but certainly a good amount more than $35 and some change.

Price, value, and worth…  See how they work together, or not-so-together?  They say you get what you pay for, meaning all things are equal.  I’m no economist, but generally my sense is you always over pay just a bit per an items value, but underpay per its worth. 

I’m in Hosea 3.  Hosea is told to go back to Gomer – the prostitute he married in chapter 1, but up and left him in chapter 2 to live life chasing after the next best thing, soliciting the love of another – yeah, go back to her.  But this time don’t woo her and betroth her like before.  This time, buy her back.

That feels to me like an “Ewww,” at least it does when you catch the metaphor.  See, she won’t come with a mere call or ask anymore.  She’s not set up for that.  She’s back on the streets; a slave to the lusts of men.  There’s a price tag on her now.  Hosea will have to tuck his cloak into his belt, head downtown to the red-light district, and go corner to corner until he finds Gomer, his wife, and buy her back.

The price?  Just over a third of a pound of silver, plus just under 90 gallons of barley.  In today’s market that silver would fetch about $75.  And I have no idea how to read agricultural market value reports, so I don’t have a number on the barley.  But let’s say $125 to make Gomer’s suggested retail price an even $200…in today’s market. 

The value?  Well, there isn’t much left of her.  I’m sure you can imagine the ailments and ill-state street life has left her in.  She’s been used and abused, all by her own will.  Slaves of her kind and quality weren’t on the top of the auction block.  Likely her value was a ways south of asking price.

The worth?  It’s Hosea’s wife, the mother of his children.  Do her choices affect her worth in his eyes?  Would they in your eyes?  Keeping in mind the nature of what God is doing though in these early chapters of this book of the Bible, bigger still, as representative of God’s dearest and chosen people, do her choices affect her worth in HIS eyes?  To Hosea she is of great worth, I am sure.  To God she is precious and priceless.  Two-hundred bucks or its historical-cultural equivalent?  That’s a bargain price.

So he bought her with a price.    

I get Gomer’s value.  Truth be told, we all do really.  There was a good long season of my life that I lived in full pursuit of the next best thing.  All manner of desires and lusts and arrogant ambitions emptied me of any perceptible value.  The Apostle Paul called me “dead in trespasses and sins.”  Whatever the suggested retail price of a dead body may be, it is certainly more than its value.

But God is the eternal economist.  He looked past my depreciated value and decided I was worth far more to him than that, and He bought me with a price; a rather high price indeed.

And as you probably imagined by now, He has done the same for you.   

“Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us.  Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself.  A pure gift.  He got us out of the mess we were in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be.  And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.”  (Romans 3:23-24, The Message Bible, italics mine)

Your price God paid?  The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
Your natural-born value?  Akin to that of a dead body. 
Your intrinsic worth to Him?  Inestimable and matchless among all created things.

“You were bought with a price,” (1 Corinthians 6:20 & 7:23) redeemed from slavery to sin, bought back from the desires and lusts of worldly living.  This is great news. 

Long have been our days in despair.  But now, given the price paid for us, we can return and live in the presence of God daily; seek His face, declare His goodness, pursue His holiness.    

I imagine Hosea receiving his bride in his arms and holding her.  I imagine her at first still unconvinced this is real.  Yet, finally easing into his embrace and receiving him in return.  His words to her in 3:3 were not easy, but they were gentle:  You’re leaving the streets now.  You are mine.  Live with me and me alone.  You belong to me and I belong to you.

Here is truth about God.  My friend, live into it.


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