What does redeemed mean and what does it look like? There are so many examples and uses for this word. Just to list a few, you can redeem a coupon at your local grocery store to get money back on popular products. It has been said of some people that they have redeeming qualities (ouch). And, if you have ever won tickets to a concert or ball game, you usually would redeem those tickets at a Will Call station.
Although, these are all free gifts, they all pale severely in comparison to how God redeemed us. I also would like to mention that they are all temporary, where as the redemption that was bought for us through the cross is eternal.
We have heard that we have been redeemed through Christ’s death on the cross, but what does that really mean?
The Old Testament is filled with stories of redemption. You have Ruth’s and Naomi’s redemption through Boaz, and the Jewish nation’s redemption through people like Ester, Samson, Samuel and King David. But, in my mind there is one person other than Jesus in scripture whose life truly shows what being redeemed looks like and her name is Gomer. See, Gomer was a prostitute and we can find that fact in Hosea 1:2-3. “When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord .” So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.” In being a prostitute, Gomer did what prostitutes do and eventually it caught up with her. And now, she was being sold as a slave.
Gomer’s life echoes ours lives, or at least my life. See, before Christ we were all slaves to whoredom. We chased after whatever made us happy: whether good or bad. And, just like Gomer, I am willing to bet it was on the bad side of things.
Some commentators say that Gomer was being sold at an auction which makes sense. Slaves were often sold this way. My wife loves auctions so we go to them from time to time. I bring this up because, at an auction if something isn’t bought or redeemed it is sent to the garbage. The Jewish people in the time of Gomer refer to this as the pit. The word for this place is Gehanna. It is a great description of Hell. Gehanna is a place outside of Israel’s camp where they burn their feces, garbage, and dead. Strong says this about Gehanna:
refers strictly to the everlasting abode of the unredeemed; where they experience divine judgment in their individual resurrection-bodies.
It is literally a fiery pit. It is Hell. But, back to the auction..
Now, on the auction block, is Gomer. Not unlike myself at times, she sat there having rejected her husband (Jesus is our husband, Jesus and the bible often refer to us in that kind of relationship), doing things that the law forbade (adultery and prostitution) and look to put her own satisfaction ahead of others.
She sat on that block knowing exactly what she was worth. In Revelations 3, Jesus said, “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” At one time, this was Gomer, this was me, and this was you. We could not see that we were wretched, pitiable, poor, blind or naked. We thought that we were on top of the world. We did not need to be Redeemed!
But, here was Gomer on the block in need of someone to buy her, clothe her, give her some value, redeem her! And, that is exactly what God told Hosea to do. “And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley.” (Hosea 3:1-2 ESV)
I would like to point out that at an auction the auctioneer has a starting price. It is usually way much higher than what you could purchase that item for new. But, that is just a starting price and with patience that price comes down drastically. However, that is not what happened here, Hosea paid the opening bid – the higher price! Hosea redeemed Gomer.
This is exactly what God did for us through Jesus and the cross. He paid a debt that we could never pay and he paid with the life of his one and only son. He paid the highest price for us. If we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we have also been redeemed; how great is that!
Oh Abba, Father. Thank you so much for sending Jesus to redeem me. Help me to walk in that redemption. In Jesus’s name, Amen
Shel Silverstien, Picture From Sister for Sale, Where the Sidewalk Ends, 1974, Harper and Row Publishers
Strong’s Concordance. 1890