Hosea 1:1-3:5; 1 John 5:1-21; Psalm 124:1-8; Proverbs 29:5-8
God Will Change Your Name
The call of Hosea was to experience the broken heart of God personally. His call was to take a wife, Gomer, who would become unfaithful in marriage. And yet, Hosea was to remain bound to her in covenant faithfulness as a sign of God’s covenant love for His people.
It would seem that the first child she bore was likely in faithfulness. His name was to be called Jezreel as a sign of the judgment on King Jehu for taking his role as an instrument of judgment too far. The second two children were children born in unfaithfulness, Lo- ruhama (No Mercy) and Lo-Ammi (Not My People).
The children’s names conveyed YHWH’s concern for Israel’s spiritual adultery. The people had broken covenant faithfulness with YHWH and worshiped and served foreign gods and lords in Baal. They had placed their hope in foreign alliances and kings. Because of their spiritual and worldly adultery, they had given birth to judgment (no mercy) and divorce (not my people).
However, in spite of the people’s unfaithfulness and the coming judgment for their sin, YHWH will remain faithful to His covenant promises to them. He promises to restore and reunite His people (Hosea 1:10-11). God will redeem His marriage: “And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal’ (My Master)” (2:16). God changed their names and their status in Him.
The apostles and prophets of the New Testament will reflect on these verses in two ways. First, Jesus is the faithful Messianic Husband to the unfaithful Samaritan woman (See John 2:1-12; 3:29; 4:1-45). The descendants of Judah may have written off Samaria (the former capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel), but God had remembered His covenant with Israel and the promise of restoration through Hosea.
Also, Paul and Peter surprisingly apply the “not my people/my people” reversal to the inclusion of the Gentiles with the people of Israel in salvation under the one Messiah, Jesus (See Romans 9:25-26; 11:25-32; 1 Peter 2:10).
The Apostle Peter says to the combined Jewish-Gentile church in Asia Minor:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people,, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” –1 Peter 2:9-10
To this day, God has remained steadfast in keeping His promises to restore and forgive. God will change your name.
Lord, your love reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness stretches to the sky. Thank you for calling me, even when I was not calling to you. Thank you for changing my name.
The Rev. Charlie Holt
The Church of St. John the Divine