“When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” (Hosea 1:2)
Usually, beloved reader, I write, think, and ponder on the passage before I discern what the title should be. This time in came to me in a flash.
So he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. And the Lord said to him, “Name him Jezreel;[meaning “God sows”] for in a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.” (Verses 3-5)
The children of Hosea and Gomer were named for the actions that God told Hosea the Divine would do, or the opinions God had about what was going on in Israel. It seems to me a very large thing to ask a man of God to bind his life to a woman who will break his heart, and have children whose names are symbols and signs of God’s displeasure. The book of Hosea (which we read from this week and next week) tells the story of Hosea’s woe and grief.
“She conceived again and bore a daughter. Then the Lord said to him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah,[meaning “Not pitied”] for I will no longer have pity on the house of Israel or forgive them. But I will have pity on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God; I will not save them by bow, or by sword, or by war, or by horses, or by horsemen.” (Verses 6 – 7)
Israel, apparently, is no longer in God’s favor or in God’s sight. It is a heavy burden, beloved reader, to live out what is happening to the nation. And yet . . . and yet, is that not what many are doing? Or more precisely, paying the consequences of the nation going in the wrong direction? Who then are we to say that Hosea’s life was forfeit because of Israel’s refusing to live under God’s direction?
“When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi,[meaning “Not my people” ] for you are not my people and I am not your God.” (Verses 8 – 9)
I think that name is more poignant of all. As we read further into the book of Hosea, there is some question as to whether Gomer’s children had Hosea as their biological father. And as I said, it breaks Hosea’s heart.
“Yet the number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.” (Verse 10)
But there is hope, beloved reader, there is hope. Even though at this point in the history of Israel God has turned away, a time is coming when God will turn back to them and redeem them. That was a hope for the people of Hosea’s time, and a hope for us. No matter what is happening in our world now, a time will come when God will gather up to the God-self the children of the living God. Now, under what name do you want to live? Shalom!