How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. – Hosea 11:8
We will go off the beaten path here and freestyle, the message I need to convey requires it. The reference verse is from a book in the Bible that I for one rarely look at, it’s a gap in knowledge because we will never understand the entirety of the Bible. Still, I don’t want to ever speak from a place of ignorance and I never want anyone reading this to feel like they are uninformed. So I spent many days looking at this before I wrote it. This is a story of God’s anger but it also shows how loving God can be.
Hosea is the first of a series of twelve books in the Bible relating to prophets. They are the last twelve books of the Old Testament. The book of Hosea goes through God’s lamentation for the Northern Kingdom (Ehpraim) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah) when Israel was divided. The prophecy in Hosea is a prophecy of sadness and a prophecy of hope.
Marriage of Hosea
Hosea is told by God to marry a promiscuous woman because the land (Israel) is like an adulterous wife, it has been unfaithful to God. Hosea did so and married Gomer. God is using marriage as a means to show that Israel was like a promiscuous woman to God. He had covenant with them and they broke it over and over again with idolatry and other breaking of the commandments.
From there Hosea and his wife Gomer has a son who God said to name as Jezreel as he intended to punish the Northern Kingdom for all of the blood that was shed in the valley that is named Jezreel. The name Jezreel means God Sows.
Gomer and Hosea then have a daughter that God commands him to name Lo-ruhamah or the unloved. This is done to show that God will no longer have love for the Northern Kingdom but will love the Southern Kingdom still.
Gomer’s Third Child
It is not known if the third child of Gomer was that of Hosea’s but considering that God had Hosea marry a promiscuous woman it is entirely possible that she did commit adultery and have another man’s child. God commanded the boy be named Lo-Ammi or “not my people” which lends to the idea that she did not conceive Lo-Ammi by Hosea. This is a very shameful name and used to emphasize the face that God was turning His back on the Northern Kingdom.
Ultimately this accounting and the prophecy of Hosea sum up God’s covenant with Israel as His bride because they were his chosen people. Israel had angered God because of their idolatry but he showed that He is loving towards Judah because they had not gone off the beaten path by worshiping idols. Hosea prophesies the coming of Jesus in Hosea 11:1 and that is where the sadness turns to good news.
Our Loving God
God turned his back on Israel for many years and they lived without a king all that time. Eventually the Northern Kingdom was overthrown and Israel became united. Matthew 2:13 shows that God honors everyone of His promises as he speaks of Hosea’s prophecy. He sent His Son out of Egypt where Joseph and Mary had fled. He gave Israel a King in Jesus and the he showed how loving he could be by giving that Son to the people who killed Him.
God created us and then he gave us breath. We have been angry, petulant and spoiled children in His grace but we still are forgiven and He continues loving us. He gave up Israel because she had cuckolded Him but promised that one day He would take her back and He did. He did so much more than that when He did. No longer did He want to love the tribes but He wanted everyone. He does more than just loving us, He shows a compassion in wanting to have a relationship with us. He does not settle for anything less than all we can give. He has already given us everything even knowing we could never return it in equal amounts. That’s the kind of loving we all need, we all have. As long as we keep our focus on Him.