And the LORD said, "Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not your God."Hosea 1:9(NASB)
God used Hosea's grievous relationship with his wife and the names of their three children to convey an important message to Israel about their fractured relationship with God, which would initially result in their punishment and judgement, but would one day end with their restoration and redemption.
The story opens as God calls to Hosea to go and take a prostitute as a wife and to 'have children from her harlotry'. Hosea immediately obeyed the Lord and took Gomer, the prostitute, to be his wife. The promiscuous way this woman acted towards her husband was to become a living illustration of the shocking way Israel acted towards their good and gracious God - by forsaking Him for pagan idols and committing flagrant harlotry.
Their first son was called Jezreel, which means 'scatters' and was an indication that God would scatter His people, Israel, - unless they repented. The second child was a daughter named Lo-Ruhamah, which means 'no compassion'. Her name indicated that God would not longer show compassion towards His people because they refused to repent of their sin, and nothing would save them from destruction.
The third child was a son named Lo-Ammi, which means 'not My people'. The name of Hosea's third child showed that God was going to cut off His relationship with His people, Israel, because of their disobedience, apostasy, idolatry, and harlotry.
Every king from the northern kingdom of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and were engaged in even greater depths of idolatry than the southern kingdom of Judah. It was following the birth of Hosea's second child, that judgement was passed on the northern kingdom and they fell victim to the cruel Assyrians in the valley of Jezreel - and true to Hosea's daughter's name, God's showed 'no compassion' to the apostate kingdom of Israel.
For a time, the Lord did execute compassion on the southern kingdom of Judah, for there were a few kings who had sought to be righteous before the Lord. However, with the birth of their third child - Lo-Ammi who was fathered, as before, by another man, the Lord could no longer withhold His judgement from the southern kingdom who were finally taken into Babylonian captivity by the great king Nebuchadnezzar - reflecting the name of the third child - Lo-Ammi, "You are not My people and I am not Your God."
Both kingdoms were called to repent. Both kingdoms were warned of judgement if they did not change direction. Both Israel and Judah continued in their promiscuity, and both were finally disowned by God, defeated by their enemies, and enslaved in foreign lands.
As the history of both northern and southern kingdoms is traced through time, we recognised there are five cycles of discipline that were imposed on both kingdoms with increasing severity, until both were removed from their promised land and enslaved in a foreign place by their cruel captors.
Although there is much that speaks of necessary judgement for both kingdoms, the story of Hosea and his wife, Gomer, also illustrates the tremendous grace and mercy of God for His people... for like Gomer who was finally rescued and restored for the shocking consequences of her sin, and was eventually brought back by Hosea from a foreign slave market and restored into favour by her husband... so too Israel will repent of their unbelief and her relationship with her God will be restored.
The message of Hosea started out with the terrible situation of Hosea, Gomer, Lo-Ammi, and his siblings, illustrating the consequences of Israel's prolonged idolatry who were told, "you are not My people and I am not your God." But his sad story ends with a message of hope and restoration... and by God's grace, Israel will be brought to repentance and restored into fellowship with God in the coming time of Great Tribulation (the time of Jacob's Trouble).
Heavenly Father, what an amazing illustration of Israel's fall from grace and her eventual repentance and restoration is seen through the life of Hosea, Gomer, and their three children. Thank You that Your nation, whose idolatry caused them to be called, "Lo-Ammi - not My people," will one day repent and be rescued from the slave-market of sin and be restored into relationship with You when they believe on the Jesus their Messiah. Thank You that I have also been rescued from enslavement to sin and have been born from above by faith in Jesus Christ, my God and Saviour. May I eschew all forms of evil and seek to do only that which is righteous in Your sight, for Your praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.