Daily Devotional

September 9, 2018

Daybreak: Hosea 1:1 through 2:1

“Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.” (Hosea 1:9)

Before our first son was born, my wife and I searched through baby name books and held lengthy discussions about the perfect name for our boy. We had a hard time agreeing on what to call him, because we wanted it to be unique. If we thought of anyone that had the same name as one we were considering, it was rejected. Finally, we came up with a unique name that no one else we knew had used: Justin. Imagine our surprise and chagrin when we took our new baby to our annual church camp meeting and found out that four other unique Justins had been born that same year!

Hosea did not face the challenge of coming up with unique names for his children, because God told him what their names should be. God gave them prophetic names that indicated the judgments to come upon Israel. God had a reason for this. He intended to use Hosea’s family as a living object lesson for the nation of Israel. 

Like my wife and me, many parents are extremely concerned about what to name their children, and they spend a great deal of time and thoughtful consideration on the matter. We know that beside the names we choose for them, they will also have our last name. Bearing that name will identify them with us, and they will become representatives of our family. 

As Christians, we bear Christ’s name and are identified with Him. We represent Him to the world. Does that identification bring Him honor? The people of Israel were not obeying or honoring God, and He told Hosea that they would not be His people, and He would not be their God. The name “Lo-ammi,” noted in our focus verse, indicated that horrifying indictment.

This very day, people will be watching us. We may be the only representative of the Lord that they know. Are we living up to the name of Christian? God can give us the help and grace to do so.

Background

After the death of Solomon, Israel was divided into the Northern Kingdom of Israel (whose capital city was Samaria) and the Southern Kingdom of Judah (whose capital city was Jerusalem). Hosea was a contemporary of Amos, and they both ministered in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Around the same time, Isaiah and Micah ministered in the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

Hosea prophesied during the reign of Israel’s King Jeroboam II, so his work likely started about 760 B.C. His preaching must have extended through the reigns of Israel’s last four kings — Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, Hoshea — and ended shortly after the fall of Samaria to the Assyrian King Sargon II in 722 B.C.

God instructed Hosea to marry Gomer, an unfaithful woman who represented the unfaithful and idolatrous nation of Israel. Hosea’s firstborn son was named Jezreel, to indicate that God would send judgment upon the lineage of Jehu, the Israelite King who had slaughtered many in the valley of Jezreel. Hosea’s daughter was named Lo-ruhama, meaning “no mercy,” to reveal that God’s judgment would fall upon Israel and the nation would be taken into captivity. Hosea’s second son was named Lo-ammi, meaning “not my people,” to indicate that rebellious Israel had been rejected by God because they broke His covenant.

Although Hosea had a difficult message of judgment to deliver to the nation of Israel, this message was mixed with the hope of restoration. God must punish sin, yet He is faithful to offer mercy, so the first chapter of Hosea ends with a prophecy that God would restore Israel at a future time. The prophetic names of Hosea’s children are referenced one more time, but with a positive connotation added. The name Jezreel means “to sow,” and God promised to sow a new nation of Israelites. This new nation would have a restored fellowship with God, and would be able to say “Ammi” (my people) and “Ruhamma” (mercy).

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I.   Prologue: the prophet’s marriage
      A.   Hosea’s commission (1:1 — 2:1)
            1.   His marriage (1:1-2)
            2.   His children (1:3-9)
                  a.   Jezreel (1:3-5)
                  b.   Lo-ruhamah (1:6-7)
                  c.   Lo-ammi (1:8-9)
            3.   His promise (1:10 — 2:1)

A Closer Look

  1. Even while passing judgment on Israel, God made a promise of restoration to the Israelites. What were the specifics of this restoration promise? 
     
  2. How do you think Hosea felt about the task that God called him to?
     
  3. What are some steps we can take to prepare ourselves for the tasks God may assign to us?

Conclusion

Hosea’s name meant “salvation,” and God used him to speak words of redemption and hope to the nation of Israel. As those who bear the Name of Christ, we too have words of hope to offer a dying world around us.

Reference Materials