God used the prophet Hosea in a very challenging and personal way to speak to Israel regarding His own faithfulness and the sins of His covenant people. Hosea needed to model the Lord’s steadfast love by marrying Gomer, “a wife of whoredom.” By his relationship with an unworthy woman, the prophet would communicate a serious message via a lived-out parable to those who would hear the Lord’s oracles.
Jehovah mentioned three children who would also play a symbolic role in this great drama. The first was named after a place, Jezreel, where a wicked king of Israel and his wife stole property from an innocent man and had the victim put to death based on false witnesses. God would use the name of that place as a sign of His judgment against “the house of Israel” because their idolatry would lead to much suffering.
The second and third children would have the sad names of the Lord’s rejection: “No Mercy” and “Not My People.” God would send off His covenant nation into exile, but He would never abandon the eternal election of His chosen ones. Instead, His ancient commitment to Abraham would still be fulfilled. “The number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered.”
The Old Testament tribes that descended from Jacob would suffer the Lord’s discipline, yet their trials would ultimately fit into a far greater promise of divine grace. Great multitudes who had never known the mercy of the Almighty would eventually be called the “children of the living God.” The Jezreel that had previously been a place of injustice and violence would now point to the chosen Messiah, the “One Head” of a massive resurrection family. Billions would find forgiveness and sanctification by the blood of the Lamb of God.
Many centuries after Hosea lived and died, the Apostle Paul in Romans 9:24-26 would reflect upon the Hebrew prophet’s ancient words. Even Gentiles, who had once been so far from the Lord’s salvation, would now be part of a united household of faith. Through Jesus, the singular King of the church, there would be hope for all who would repent and believe.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, Your Son is greater than all other husbands. You have had such mercy upon us, even though we sinned against You with our horrible immorality and idolatry. What hope would there be for us if You determined to grant no more mercy to your elect? Thank You for taking us as Your people. We were once far off, but now we are called the children of the living God in our association with Christ our King.