The word of the Lord that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and of Jeroboam son of Jehoash, king of Israel.
When the Lord first spoke to Hosea, he said this to him:
Go and marry a woman of promiscuity,
and have children of promiscuity,
for the land is committing blatant acts of promiscuity
by abandoning the Lord.
So he went and married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. Then the Lord said to him:
Name him Jezreel, for in a little while
I will bring the bloodshed of Jezreel
on the house of Jehu
and 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.
She conceived again and gave birth to a daughter, and the Lord said to him:
Name her Lo-ruhamah,
for I will no longer have compassion
on the house of Israel.
I will certainly take them away.
But I will have compassion on the house of Judah,
and I will deliver them by the Lord their God.
I will not deliver them by bow, sword, or war,
or by horses and cavalry.
After Gomer had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and gave birth to a son. Then the Lord said:
Name him Lo-ammi,
for you are not my people,
and I will not be your God.
Yet the number of the Israelites
will be like the sand of the sea,
which cannot be measured or counted.
And in the place where they were told:
You are not my people,
they will be called: Sons of the living God.
And the Judeans and the Israelites
will be gathered together.
They will appoint for themselves a single ruler
and go up from the land.
For the day of Jezreel will be great.
Hosea’s life and call was to become a real-life illustration of how Israel had become unfaithful to Yahweh in giving themselves over to other gods. The story starts with Hosea marrying a promiscuous woman named Gomer. In the beginning, she has three children with Hosea. Each child is given a name that illustrates how Yahweh is preparing to bring judgment on the ten northern tribes of Israel. He will bring judgment on the king’s family at Jezreel. He will no longer show compassion on Israel in protecting them from their enemies. He will also disown them as His special covenant people.
In the midst of these judgments, there is a promise of restoration, though. The divide between Judah and the rest of Israel will eventually come to an end. They will be reunited again under one ruler. In an earthly sense, we can see this happening as the land of Israel is eventually conquered by empire after empire. Each empire sets up a provincial leader who rules over the entire land of Israel. Perhaps, during the time of the Roman occupation, the people may have seen Herod as the fulfillment of the promise of one king. God had an even greater kingdom in mind, though. Jesus would be the one King under whom all true followers of Yahweh would eventually unite.
This promise remains true for us today. In the midst of all of our various divisions in the world, God is calling together one community of people under the leadership of the One True Leader, Jesus. They come from all political parties, all identity groups, and all socio-economic classes and find their primary identity as people of the Kingdom of God. The True King eventually brings us all together.
- Have you laid aside all your other identities to follow Jesus?