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Double meaning

I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’ and they will say, ‘You are my God.’” Hosea 2.23

In the opening chapters of Hosea, the prophet is commanded by God to marry an unfaithful woman, as an illustration of the unfaithfulness of the Israelites towards God. Hosea obliges and drives the point home by naming his children Jezreel (God scatters), Lo-Ruhammah (Not loved) and Lo-Ammi (Not my people). That's commitment! Only today it would be considered abusive. Yet it is unhelpful to judge another era by the standards of today, especially as God appears to have given Hosea special grace to cope with Gomer's unfaithfulness.

Hosea's willingness to restore Gomer into his household is a further reflection of God's behaviour towards the Israelites. Their suffering is not inflicted by God as a vindictive act of revenge but as a desperate appeal to their consciences, in order to secure their repentance which, in turn, will pave the way for their restoration. At that point, their scattering in fear and humiliation will become a scattering of God's blessing, liberally poured out on his people and, through them, over the whole world...



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