God’s Judgment and Forgiveness

KEY VERSE: “In the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God” —Hosea 1:10


IN THE composing of Old Testament prophecy, the Lord sometimes chose to dramatize through the life of the writer the things he was assigned to prophesy. This was the case with Hosea. God’s instructions to him were: “Go take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms; for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord. So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim.”—vss. 2,3

Now there is no indication that Gomer was anything other than a chaste woman at the time of their marriage. Even though the text might seem to indicate Hosea through marriage was also taking into his care her previous children, no mention is made of the names of any except the three whom she bore as Hosea’s wife. It was not until later, as recorded in chapter two, verses one through five, that she became unfaithful to Hosea and bore children not his, and fulfilled what the Lord had previously foretold concerning her sinful deportment. Then it was that the prophet divorced her and she drifted into slavery.

In his foreknowledge of these tragic events, the Lord formulated a very impressive simile of his unhappy relationship with the unfaithful children of Israel. The names of the three legitimate children of Hosea well express various steps of God’s disciplines and punishments upon Israel, which, however, failed to check their sinful course, and finally culminated in a complete cutting off of their covenant favor.

The first son was named Jezreel. Jezreel was the city where the riling dynasty of Israel’s kings made their home in that day. It was there that the contemporary line of kings came to a bitter end by the hand of Jehu. And then, subsequently, Jehu’s descendants, by reason of their unfaithfulness also, were cut off completely by the Assyrian captivity. God’s word of prophecy concerning this reads: “The Lord said unto him [Hosea], Call his name Jezreel for yet a little while and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.”—vs. 4

The next child was a daughter named Loruhamah. Concerning her the prophecy reads: “Call her name Loruhamah for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel, but I will utterly take them away.” (vs. 6) Her name meant, in the Hebrew, the uncompassionate’. The two tribe, southern kingdom spared from the Syrians, did not learn from the experience of their neighbor and continued on to flagrantly abuse their covenant obligations. And as a result, about seventy-five years later they were “utterly taken away by the Chaldeans.” While they were not “caused to cease,” as was the northern kingdom, they were “utterly taken away” for seventy years of captivity.

In the end, the Lord had “mercy upon the house of Judah” (vs. 7), and restored them and all Jews who went with them back to the land. But, as the seventh verse implies, they did not in their own strength save themselves—they were saved by the Lord.

As time went on, the realization of their dependence upon the Lord diminished, as they were ‘weaned’ away from their captivity experience, until the time when our Lord Jesus was sent to them. Then it became apparent through their rejection of him that as a nation they were far removed in their hearts from their covenant obligations, and so they were rejected by God as his people. Jesus stated their rejection in these words, “Behold your house is left unto you desolate.”

In Hosea’s life this circumstance was pictured again by a third child, a son named Loammi. The Lord gave him this name because, as he said: “Ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.” (vs. 9) Thus is expressed the final end of their covenant of favor.

But in this prophecy, as in so much of Holy Writ, when God expresses his wrath he also foretells of his ultimate mercy. The next two verses speak eloquently of a future time and place of restored covenant favor, when gathered together under “one head [Christ]” “it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.”—vss 10,11

Dawn Bible Students Association
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