Then she conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. And the LORD said to him, "Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them.Hosea 1:6(NASB)
Hosea was a prophet who foretold Assyria's invasion of the northern kingdom, and the downfall of the city of Samaria. God used His life as a living illustration of Israel's spiritual adultery and gross apostasy - as contrasted with the long-suffering mercy; boundless love and inexhaustible grace of God.
The Lord instructed His prophet, Hosea, to marry a promiscuous girl called Gomer, who was either a prostitute or had been sexually defiled by a disgusting, Canaanite, pre-marital ritual. Throughout their difficult marriage Gomer indulged in numerous, adulterous affairs and was finally found on the shameful platform of a slave-market - degraded, demeaned and humbled.
At the start of his book we discover that Hosea and his adulteress wife produced three children, which together painted a picture of Israel's progressive decline into spiritual adultery, culminating in God's ultimate rejection of His chosen people.
Each of the three names given to Hosea's children represented Israel's progressive moral decline and their degeneration into spiritual adultery. Their first child was a son, whom Hosea was instructed to name Jezreel, which means "God Will Scatter". Indeed, the day would come when God's chosen people, Israel, who continuously broke their covenant promises to the Lord, would be scattered, by the cruel assault of the Assyrians - in the valley of Jezreel.
We then read that Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter, "and the LORD said to Hosea, "name her 'Lo-ruhamah' - for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them".
God was using the names of his servant's children to describe Israel's fall from favour and He instructed Hosea to name the second baby 'Lo-ruhamah', which means "not pitied". Because of Israel's ongoing unbelief, unfaithfulness, apostasy and idolatry God showed that after the nation was scattered He would show no compassion to His people Israel. Indeed, the northern kingdom has remained scattered to this day.
In past centuries God had cared for His people, forgave their sin and showed them compassion and tender-mercy, despite their gross and ungodly behaviour. But because of their continued refusal to repent of their spiritual adultery, the time eventually arrived when they would not only be scattered but would find no pity from God - Who brought them out of Egypt.
Although God's relationship with Israel was severely strained and broken, their stumbling resulted in God's grace being poured out, in great abundant measure, on the gentiles. And although the northern kingdom of Israel was never brought back to Jerusalem like the southern kingdom of Judah, there has always been, a faithful remnant, who believed God - and their faith is credited as righteousness. We catch a glimpse of Anna from the tribe of Asher who welcomed the Messiah at his birth and we read in Revelation of the twelve gates of the holy city, which are named after the 12 tribes of Israel.
Despite its shocking storyline and display of human misery.. the grace Hosea showed to his adulterous wife serves as a tiny reminder of the length and breadth and depth and height of God's love towards us and His never-failing faithfulness towards His people - for the day is coming when every promise to Israel, the Church and all who have trusted Christ as Saviour will be completed - and Jesus will reign on earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Heavenly Father, what amazing love You have for Your people Israel and for Your Church, which is the body of Christ. Thank You for the life of Hosea and the picture it paints of the never-failing love and mercy You show towards Your people Israel and all who believe on Your name. Let me never forget how You rescued me from the slave-market of sin and I rejoice to know Your plan of redemption will one day be completed - when Jesus returns as Israel's Messiah; the Church will rule and reign with Him in His kingdom - and Christ Jesus will be crowned as King of kings and Lord of lords. Help me show Your love and compassion to all those who cross my path, so they may know that Jesus is Lord - and it is in His name I pray, AMEN.