i have always been fascinated with the story of Hosea. the examples that God directed him to live out are hardships that few would tolerate. even calling the names of his children would bring back the heartache that he had to live with every day. while studying recently in Romans 9, i came across this passage, “As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved” (Verse 25, KJV, Tyndale 1987). Paul mentions Osee, the Greek form of Hosea, and his prophetic statement from long ago. i have never noticed the reference, so i want to examine this scenario further.
Hosea stated the phrase that Paul was referring back to in Hosea 2:23. “And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” Hosea even named his third child Lo-ammi, meaning “no longer My people.” this was one of the two children that he was uncertain of parental origin. he named the second child Lo-ruhamah, meaning “no more mercy.” while Paul had perceived the promise of God from current events and the birth of the church, Hosea was speaking to an idolatrous Northern kingdom of Israel.
the tone of Hosea chapter 2 begins to change in verse 13. God’s attitude towards a rebellious nation changes from no more mercy to a comfortable, alluring presence. verse 16 states, “And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi (Husband); and shalt call me no more Baali (my Master).” this statement parallels the bridegroom analogy of the New Testament. verse 17 says, “For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.” the names of Baalim refer in a generic sense to heathen gods. from the church’s point of view, i can easily see these prophetic declarations applying to us today. as the bride of Christ, we take on His name, and our past is forgotten. the idolatrous people that we were should allow ourselves to be seduced by the love and generosity of God.
there is safety in His presence and in knowing the Lord. “And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord” (Hosea 2:19-20). He brings us to the wilderness, a place of assurance, free from the distraction of the bustling city. God had made this commitment long before our minds were ever made up. in a sense, He is making His proposal here and longingly waits to hear a response in the affirmative. yes, i will forever be Yours! yes, i will take on Your name!
in conclusion, Paul is not the only Apostle to draw upon this prophecy of Hosea. Peter’s writings echo the sentiment in 1 Peter 2:10, “Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” it is a timeless promise to those that would submit themselves to the Lord. He is a jealous God (Psalm 78:58) and will not tolerate second place in your life. many preachers have declared, “Either He is Lord of all, or He’s not Lord at all.” it is time to check our priorities. to quote Haggai, “Consider your ways” (Haggai 1:5).