We are in the Exile Stream starting a new book – Hosea. We are reading from the World English Bible this week.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
What we read of Hosea the Prophet is found almost solely in this book. There is precious little written about Hosea elsewhere. He came on the scene just before Isaiah and Micah, and was younger than Amos. His work of living and prophesying to the north was right around 760 B.C. – 720 B.C. For what it’s worth, the first stones of the city of Rome were being laid and the first columns and colonnades were being erected as Hosea was beginning his painful years of ministry. When he began, the northern Kingdom had been split from the south for about 200 years and was at it’s height of power and wealth. During Hosea’s lifetime it went from it’s height under King Jeroboam II to being decimated as the Assyrian Army ransacked the nation under Israel’s King Hoshea. God had sent Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, and Amos to the north. All four had come from the south. Now he was sending Hosea into ministry – he was from the north. So they may have referred to him as “a local”. Hosea is addressing the nations rampant problem of adultery. They had worshiped an idol of a calf for two centuries and that had long morphed into a horrendous mess. The population in the north was utterly degraded. Hardly a child, nor a home, nor a marriage was intact. Chastity was not valued or protected. At the rate they were going, it would not be long before God would “vacuum up” THESE particular people and throw them it into the dustbin of history.
Hosea 1 – notice the kings listed here are the same kings listed in Isaiah 1. From the start, Hosea is ordered to ‘do as the locals’: have children with a prostitute. SHE will be your wife. God had been true to these people all through their history, and yet they go about “whoring” – to use KJV term. Imagine the pain that adultery causes God. We are called to one God and to live it out with one spouse. But humans want a dark version of “freedom” from this…and from God. Hosea, under God’s orders, has three children with Gomer the prostitute. Jezreel, Lo-Ruhamah, and Lo-Ammi.
Jezreel is the first son’s name because the House of Israel would finally end here (722BC) The bloody mess that Jehu responded to would be avenged (see II Kings 10:1ff) Son; Jezreel’s birth was a statement that retribution was on its way. The decapitations in
II Kings 10 would be repeated by the Assyrians swarming in (II Kings 17:5 ca. a century later). It would be a horror show sequel to put it lightly. Only the death scale would rise “1000” times over.
Lo-Ruhamah, a daughter is born and her name means “not loved”. The love and mercy from God is soon overwith for Israel. They had smacked God in the face for two centuries. He had had enough of the Northern Kingdom.
Lo-Ammi another son is born and his name means “not my people”. It’s sad symbolism, isn’t it?! The death of a people was imminent
Still God’s goodness comes forth in the final two verses as God tells of his intention to grow his people and to unite them.
Hosea 2 – The 2nd and 3rd children are referenced in the first verse here. Mr. “not my people” and Miss “not loved (no mercy)” are to be told, “you ARE my people, You ARE loved.” Mother is to stop the prostitution. All are to come home again to where she was truly cared for and not just offered gifts and luxuries at a pimp’s place – though soon to be deserted by this liar. God wants to call them home like parents call children for supper. But they won’t come. but He still loves them, still they won’t come. But He still loves… So God’s love will be opened up (Hosea 1:10) to whosoever will (Romans 9:24-26). The Romans’ reference is worth checking before the day passes. God is certainly good to us, regardless how we dismiss, ignore, or swat away his love.
Lord make us like you, please make us like you. Your goodness, even in the face of being treated treacherously by your own children, is nearly unfathomable. May we be infused with your relentless love. Amen