The LORD told Hosea to take a wife for himself from among the harlots, for Hosea’s relationship with his wife will paint a picture of the LORD’s relationship with Israel. The first thing we learn, is that when the LORD saved Israel from Egypt and made a covenant with her at Sinai, He saved her in order to be a Husband to her, and she to be a wife to Him.
Now this is mind blowing! God is of course our Creator, and He created man and woman after a plan and wisdom of His choosing. I believe He designed man and woman, birds and bees, parents and children, specifically and on purpose in order to teach us how deep His love for us runs. Husbands and wives and intimacy is all His design! We learn by example and experience that when a man loves a woman, and she returns his love, how deep is our happiness and joy!
And that deep love teaches us in part, how deep the LORD’s love for us is, and how great His happiness and joy in us is! He says of Israel, that she will call Him, “My Husband,” and no longer call Him, “My Master,” (Hos 2:16). God’s desire for His people, is a relationship with her out of love, as the love a husband and wife share for each other, and not out of fear or compulsion that marks the relationship of a master and servant!
But Hosea takes a wife of harlotry, because she is to picture Israel, who has left YHVH her Husband, and gone after every idol of the nations around her. She has betrayed and forgotten her Husband, and poured out her love instead on strangers and any one passing by, who has no love for her.
Gomer bore Hosea three children. God commands Hosea to give each child a specific name which prophesies of His people Israel. The first is Jezreel, whose names means, “God sows” or “that which God has planted.” God is the One who planted Israel in her land. But God also says, that as Jezreel was the seat of the kings of Israel who shed blood and did unrighteously, that at Jezreel He will bring an end to the kingdom of Israel (the northern kingdom of the ten tribes).
The second child is Lo-Ruhamah, which means, “no mercy,” which prophesies that God will no longer continue to answer Israel’s idolatry with mercy, but they will be uprooted from their land (God planted them — Jezreel) and taken away captive.
The third child is Lo-Ammi, which means, “not My people,” which prophesies something devastating. Israel will no longer be God’s people, and He will no longer be Israel’s God. For at Sinai, when God called Moses up to the mountain, He made a covenant with Israel that they will be His people, and He will be their God:
‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ Exo 19:4-6
This was a marriage covenant, in fact, that God was making with Israel. Why does God marry a nation? Israel is the woman of Gen 3:15, who conceives the Promised Seed and brings forth a Son, the Son of the Most High, who is Messiah Yeshua. But because of Israel’s idolatries, which are like a wife’s adultery against her husband, God is now saying through Lo-Ammi, You have broken our marriage covenant: you are not My people and I am not your God.
Immediately following this devastating prophecy, God speaks comfort and restoration:
“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!” Hos 1:10-11
Israel was told for a brief moment that they were not His people, but in that same place they will be told they are the sons of the living God! Israel (ten tribes of the northern kingdom) and Judah (two tribes of the southern kingdom) will return to their land and be gathered together into one people with one head, who is Jezreel: God has sown. And who has God sown, but the Promised Seed, His Servant, who in turn nakes trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified (Isa 61:1-3)!
It is Jezreel who is to say to His brethren, ‘My people,’ or ‘Ammi’ in Hebrew, for Jezreel will no longer call His brother Lo-Ammi. It is Jezreel who will say to His sisters, ‘Mercyis shown,’ or ‘Ruhamah’ in Hebrew, for Jezreel will no longer call His sister Lo-Ruhamah (Hos 2:1). This is a prophecy of Yeshua, whom God has sown (Jezreel), for He is the Promised Seed, who will make brothers and sisters out of those who were not His people and those who did not receive mercy — out of the dispersed of Israel, whom He sifted like wheat seeds among the nations (God has sown — Jezreel — Amo 9:9), and all from the nations who would come to Israel’s God to be grafted in among Israel through the root of Messiah Yeshua (Rom 11).
Paul, in fact, calls all those who believe in Yeshua, from among Jews and Gentiles alike, the fulfillment of this prophecy in Hosea (Rom 9:22-26). Just think about that for awhile, because we will come back to it.