God’s Word of Mercy and Forgiveness
Hosea 1:1—2:1: Today we will begin reading from the book of the prophet Hosea, a book of fourteen chapters. The prophet’s name is a shortened version of the Hebrew “Hoshaiah,” which means “the LORD has saved.” Hosea preached in the northern kingdom of Israel (c. 740-722 B.C.) and was concerned about the idolatry of the people and their faithlessness toward God. In today’s reading, Hosea is told to marry an unfaithful woman to demonstrate how unfaithful Israel has been and to give his children names that are to be reminders of Israel’s forthcoming punishment. The reading concludes with Hosea foreseeing a time when God will restore Israel and Judah and bring them together under one leader.
The day is coming when he will say to them, “You are the children of the living God!”
1 This is the message which the Lord gave Hosea son of Beeri during the time that Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel.
Hosea's Wife and Children
2When the Lord first spoke to Israel through Hosea, he said to Hosea, “Go and get married; your wife will be unfaithful, and your children will be just like her. In the same way my people have left me and become unfaithful.”
3So Hosea married a woman named Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim. After the birth of their first child, a son, 4 the Lord said to Hosea, “Name him ‘Jezreel,’ because it will not be long before I punish the king of Israel for the murders that his ancestor Jehu committed at Jezreel. I am going to put an end to Jehu's dynasty. 5And in Jezreel Valley I will at that time destroy Israel's military power.”
6Gomer had a second child—this time it was a daughter. The Lord said to Hosea, “Name her ‘Unloved,’ because I will no longer show love to the people of Israel or forgive them. 7But to the people of Judah I will show love. I, the Lord their God, will save them, but I will not do it by war—with swords or bows and arrows or with horses and horsemen.”
8After Gomer had weaned her daughter, she became pregnant again and had another son. 9The Lord said to Hosea, “Name him ‘Not-My-People,’ because the people of Israel are not my people, and I am not their God.”
Israel Is to Be Restored
10 The people of Israel will become like the sand of the sea, more than can be counted or measured. Now God says to them, “You are not my people,” but the day is coming when he will say to them, “You are the children of the living God!” 11The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be reunited. They will choose for themselves a single leader, and once again they will grow and prosper in their land. Yes, the day of Jezreel will be a great day!
1So call your fellow Israelites “God's People” and “Loved-by-the-Lord.”
Why is Hosea told to marry an unfaithful woman? How does his marriage to Gomer demonstrate God’s relationship with the people of Israel? What is the significance of the names of Hosea’s children? What message of hope is given in today’s reading?
Merciful God, forgive me whenever I act in ways that demonstrate unfaithfulness to you. Draw me close to you, and restore me to a right relationship with you. You continue to love me, and I thank and praise you for your steadfast goodness and faithfulness. Amen.
Hosea 2:2-23: The LORD will punish Israel and then restore the land and make the people prosperous.