In our study, we look at the topics of obedience and love. We will look at obedience to God even when we do not understand everything as well as extreme love and its meaning for us today.
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 during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel:
The opening verse of this book gives us an exact period of time that the events happened. These events occur after the split between the ten tribes that came to be known as Israel and the tribes that came to be known as Judah. Jeroboam was the first king of Israel after this split and he quickly took action to secure his place as king. Because he did not want the people to go to Jerusalem for worship and risk being influenced by the people there, he set up places of worship in Dan and Bethel and used non-Levites as priests. He erected golden calves there and led the people into increased sin. Hosea whose name means "salvation" was then sent to the northern kingdom to be an example and to call them to repentance.
When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, 'Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord.'
The Lord gave him orders that must have left him speechless. You see, God told him to marry an adulterous woman and that would have made him adulterous as well because the law applied not only to the woman but also to the man that was involved. The penalty for adultery under the law was stoning and that included both the man and the woman. So, God told his prophet to disregard a part of His law! I have heard it said many times that God would never tell someone to do something that went against His word and usually they say that meaning the Mosaic Law. But here, we see, in God's own words, that He did and we do not have to try to smooth it over. We must simply trust in God's wisdom and the fact that He knows all. We must also look at it in the perspective of what God is doing. The people of Israel have already committed spiritual adultery and God is sending him to tell them to repent and that He is waiting and wanting to forgive them. He is sending Hosea to be an example so he had to know what he was talking about. Through this extreme obedience to God, he would know how God felt in being left by his people for other gods. He was then able to speak to a broken nation because of his broken heart caused by his broken home.
So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
Hosea believed and obeyed so he married Gomer. She must have been known in the area as an adulterous woman (probably a prostitute) because God did not tell him the name of the woman he was "to take to yourself". Can you imagine the gossip that must have broke out when this respectable man went and took this woman to be his wife? In spite of all of that, he obeyed and we, as Christians, are called to that same extreme obedience to the Lord.
Then the Lord said to Hosea, 'Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. In that day I will break Israel's bow in the Valley of Jezreel.'
This may seem different to us as, when we choose names for our children, God is pretty much left out of the process. But, throughout the Bible, we can see that God had parents give their children a specific name for a specific purpose. God is in charge of even the smallest details and our freedom is in letting Him handle it. So, the child is to be called Jezreel which means "God plants" and this child is to be a sign that God is going to punish Israel for this event. The massacre that is referred to can be found in 2 Kings 10. Ahab was the king of Samaria (his wife was Jezebel) and the palace was in the city of Jezreel. Ahab did evil and the prophet Elijah was sent to confront him and Ahab repented. God then said that the punishment of the people would not occur during Ahab's lifetime but during the time of his children. After Ahab died, Jehu, the king of Israel, massacred the people of Jezreel and did it to show how loyal he was to God. God did not tell Jehu to do this; it just seemed right to him and consistent with the prophecy of Elijah.
Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord said to Hosea, 'Call her Lo-Ruhamah, for I will no longer show love to the house of Israel, that I should at all forgive them. Yet I will show love to the house of Judah; and I will save them-not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but by the Lord their God.'
Now we see the picture of unfaithfulness as Gomer has a child from an adulterous relationship (she cheated on Hosea). God told him to name the girl Lo-Ruhamah which means unpitied or unloved. The girl is an example of Israel's adultery with other gods and He says that He will no longer pity or love them. Has God's mercy ran out? The simple answer is no but there is a big lesson in here for us today. God's grace is sufficient and there is no place where that grace cannot touch you (as seen in the testimony in the link). But, you can keep on sinning in the face of God until the day that you no longer hear the Spirit inside you calling you to repentance. It's not that God's grace cannot reach you its that you are unable to hear and receive that grace.
After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son. Then the Lord said, 'Call him Lo-Ammi, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.'
Now, we see that not only did Gomer have a daughter that was not Hosea's but she also had a son. Once again, God spoke and had him give the son a specific name for a specific reason. Lo-Ammi means "not my people" and just as he was not Hosea's son, God is using him to tell the nation of Israel that they are no longer His people. We must understand that they turned their backs on God just as Gomer turned her back on Hosea and both of them were acts of adultery in God's eyes. For us today, this passage can remind us to check ourselves and our faith to see if we are being true to God. It is easy to look back and recognize the adultery of Israel with their false altars and false places of worship but we also must ask ourselves if we are serving something other than the very God that created us.
'Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," they will be called "sons of the living God."'
What hope we see here in the fact that God is still calling them to repentance and standing ready to forgive the Israelites of their adultery. That same hope is available to us as well. No matter how far we have strayed from God or what we may have done, He still asks us to come back and accept His forgiveness.
The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be reunited, and they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.
This verse refers to events that are yet to occur and are described in the book of Revelation. The "day of Jezreel" refers to what we call Armageddon and, in Revelation 16, we are told that the nations come against God at this place which is in the Jezreel Valley. Great will be the day there as the final battle is waged and God's people will be reunited.