Summary: The Gospel According to Hosea God's Faithfulness, part 2
The Gospel According to Hosea
God's Faithfulness, part 2
We started our summer series last week, The Gospel According to Hosea, looking at God's Faithful love for an unfaithful people. If you remember, Hosea was a prophet toward the end of fifty years of great peace and prosperity and military expansion under the reign of Jeroboam II. The peace and prosperity was not good for the spiritual climate of the nation. They had become so spiritually bankrupt that they were unrecognizable as God's unique people. Blind to their spiritual bankruptcy they were coasting along as though nothing was wrong. Last week I shared about Hosea's marriage which I will review then finish the rest of the chapter.
1. An Unusual Marriage (vs. 1-2)
Last week we saw that Hosea's marriage to Gomer is a picture of God's relationship to Israel. In the same way that Hosea had entered into a marriage Covenant with Gomer who then repeatedly violated her covenant with Hosea, God has entered into a covenant with Israel who has repeatedly violated their covenant with God. Yet God, loving and faithful to an unloving and unfaithful people, repeatedly pursued Israel by going to extreme measures to win her back. In the course of their marriage they had three children forming an unusual family.
2. An Unusual Family (vs. 3-9)
The first child, a son, is named Jezreel. God explains this name by saying that he will soon punish the house of Jehu and bring Israel to an end. This is perplexing because the Lord, through the prophet Elisha, commanded Jehu to kill the house of Ahab and then the Lord commended Jehu for his zeal in finishing off the dynasty of Omri especially the slaughter of the priests of Baal. The issue is resolved when we look at the Hebrew word for punish. It can mean 'to punish' but it has a broad range of meanings such as 'attend to,' 'appoint,' 'visit,' 'inspect,' even to 'rule over.' So context must determine how we translate the verb. I don't think punish is the best translation because God would be contradicting a prior command he gave Jehu. It seems better to understand this verse as 'God will visit upon the house of Jehu the same bloodshed of Jezreel.' God will bring the bloodshed of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu because his dynasty's rule was really no better than that of Jeroboam or Ahab and led Israel into spiritual whoredom. The Omri dynasty was wicked and so was wiped away by Jehu but Jehu did not learn the lesson and his dynasty was no better so God wiped him out also.
Gomer conceived again and bore a daughter and Hosea called her name 'no mercy because he will no more have mercy on the house of Israel and so will take them away,' away into exile as a means of disciplining the nation. If you are his you cannot escape God's discipline. If you are not his, then you cannot escape God's judgement. God disciplines those he loves and he will take whatever measures that are necessary to accomplish his purposes. But in contrast God will have mercy on Judah, the southern kingdom and save them miraculously, I think because again, God is faithful to his covenantal promise to bring the Messiah from the line of the king of Judah. God is sovereign over history and raises up and brings down as he pleases.