To say that there is a lot worth writing about from the book of Hosea would be an understatement. It is one of the most beautiful and powerful images of the Gospel that we have in Scripture. The short story is this: The people of Israel had not ceased to rebel against the Lord. They whored themselves out to other gods and abandoned their first love and true husband. Because of this, God tells the prophet Hosea to find a “wife of whoredom”, an unfaithful woman (probably a prostitute), and marry her. Her lifestyle of loose living is evident in the names of their children, the two youngest being named “No Mercy” and “Not My People.” As Hosea’s wife was unfaithful to him, constantly going back to her old ways, so Israel was with the Lord, continually taking advantage of God’s mercy to satisfy their sinful desires. Hosea lives out the story of God and Israel and pronounces judgement on them for their faithlessness.
But God does not destroy Israel completely. His promise to Abraham still stands and He always honors His promises. In Hosea 2:21-23, we read the lengths to which God will, and does, go to keep His covenant with Israel:
“And in that day I will answer, declares the Lord,
I will answer the heavens,
and they shall answer the earth,
and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and they shall answer Jezreel,
and I will sow her for myself in the land.
And I will have mercy on No Mercy,
and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’;
and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’”
God will show mercy on the one who is called “No Mercy” and He will say to “Not my People”, “You are my people.” Israel became the object of God’s wrath, yet He will show them mercy. They rejected God as their King and were no longer His people, yet He will once again call them “His People.”
Now, on the one hand, this is a prophecy about Israel’s rebellion, their eventual exile, and their ultimate return to the Promised Land, but in the grand scope of the Bible, the even to which this ultimately points is the cross, where God showed no mercy to Jesus so that we could receive mercy. The Father rejected His own Son so that those who were not His people could become His people. We constantly and continually rebel against God, whoring ourselves out to the idols of the world, but God lovingly and tenderly brings us back.
He shows us mercy though we deserve none. He calls us His children though we were once enemies. He does all of this through Christ whose blood covered such a great multitude of sins that nothing can separate us from God’s love if we come to Him through Jesus. NOTHING. Not even our own falling into old sinful habits can make God stop loving us if we trust in Christ. Trust in Him, and receive the mercy of a God who makes us His people forever.