I always wondered why they call the prophets at the end of the Old Testament “minor prophets.” Maybe just because the book is smaller.They seem to be less known so let’s try to get know know them a little bit. Hosea’s ministry was at a time when Israel was divided; Israel (The Northern Kingdom) and Judah to the south were two separate entities. During Hosea’s time, both were living in relative prosperity but have turned away from God and toward idols and their own evil desires. They trusted in themselves and others more than God. Sound familiar?
When the LORD began to speak by Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea: “Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the LORD.” So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. Then the LORD said to him: “Call his name Jezreel, for in a little while I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, and bring an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. It shall come to pass in that day That I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.”
And she conceived again and bore a daughter. Then God said to him: “Call her name Lo-Ruhamah, for I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, but I will utterly take them away. Yet I will have mercy on the house of Judah, will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword or battle, by horses or horsemen.”
Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. Then God said: “Call his name Lo-Ammi, for you are not My people, and I will not be your God. “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there it shall be said to them, ‘you are sons of the living God.’ Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and appoint for themselves one head; and they shall come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel!
God uses Hosea to send a message to Israel. It wasn’t a typical way of sending a message. Most of us would say it was a weird way to do it. It wasn’t easy for Hosea. Usually when God calls us to do something, we need to do something out of our comfort zone. He definitely did that!Not only does God have Hosea marry an unfaithful prostitute to represent Israel’s unfaithfulness to God, he has him name his children less than glamorous names.
The first child was Jezreel. Jezreel was an important place. It was a fertile valley, between two mountains, one of which was the mountain where Elijah called out the Ahab’s false prophets where God reigned down fire on his altar to show the people He was the only true God. Jezreel was Ahab’s capital. Ahab is described as one of the most wicked kings of Israel. His wife, Jezebel, who came from Tyre, introduced Baal worship among other evil things that she did. She tried to have Elijah killed often and God said that she would die a gruesome death…and she did…in Jezreel. She was trampled by Jehu’s horses on his quest to wipe out Ahab’s family so that his (and Jezebel’s) evil rule would never continue. The meaning of “Jezreel” is The Almighty sows.
The second child was named Lo-Ruhamma. This means “not loved.” Could you imagine being named “not loved?” I could imagine Hosea saying, “why would I name my child that?” But he was faithful and understood that God needed to get His point across. I think partially, God’s message was to show that His people did not love Him. It fits along with them being unfaithful and “playing the harlot.” But there was a time coming when God will turn His back on His people. He would not show mercy on them until they become like the prodigal son and realize how good they had it when they turn to God instead of relying on their own merits or others. Aren’t we often like that? We look to everything else and turn to God when all else fails (which is usually every time). I feel like our country is in that spot right now that seeing we as a country have turned our back on God, so He is standing back. Much like it says in Romans 1, He will give us over to the vile things of the world, which seems to be happening right now.
The third child was named Lo-Ammi, which means “Not My People.” As mentioned God would turn His back on them until they turn to Him. He is patient and will wait for His people to come to Him, but sometimes He needs to do drastic things to get people’s attention. I think of how this country is trying to remove God from society, from schools, removing The Ten Commandments from government buildings, trying to change “Merry Christmas” to happy holidays, creating laws that goes against God’s word. And what a mess we are in right now.
But God always makes room for His children to return and He always has a blessing waiting for them. It is true for Israel and it is true for us. No matter how much sin is in our lives, God promises us that He will save us from our sins, that He will give us life. True life.
1 John 1:9-2:2
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
In the next post, we will go through God’s message and prophecies through Hosea. It is my prayer that these words will speak to you and it will encourage you to read more in His word to learn more about Him. As we study the minor prophets, read through the entire books. They are short. Let me know what you learn from them. Have a great week!