A Tale of Holy Love, Unfaithfulness, Justice, Mercy, and Grace
Judgment, wrath, and the holy anger of God were looming on the horizon for adulterous Israel. Destruction and alienation from God were coming, and Hosea’s children bore the warning signs. The future of Israel was looking grim, hopeless, and dark; however, in the final verses of Hosea 1, God gives a word of hope.
“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea,
which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not my people,’ it shall be said to them, ‘Children of the living God.’ And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head.
And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.”
While Hosea only got to see the depravity of Israel and God’s judgment of it, God saw the bigger picture. He saw that while His holy anger burned against Israel during Hosea’s day, it would not last forever. There would be a day when God would bring about restoration. The children of Israel would not be decimated, but would remain as numerous as the sand of the sea. Those of whom He originally declared “not my people” would return to their status of “children of the living God.” Those upon whom He had no mercy, He would not only lavish mercy upon but also grace and peace. The day of Jezreel would not stay a day of darkness, judgment, and defeat, but would turn into a day of rejoicing, victory, and hope.
God’s promises to Abraham would remain true. His punishment and judgment wasn’t permanent, and His rejection of Israel wasn’t final. It was only for a season. A season in which Israel needed to feel the discipline of their loving Father. A season for them to remember all that God had done for them, what He required, and how good He was. A season for them to learn to never take the God of their fathers for granted or misuse their status as God’s children. It was a time of suffering, trial, and affliction that would end in glorious restoration according to God’s perfect plan.
But what about you? Where are you at along life’s journey? Are you in a season of the Lord’s discipline? Do you feel that your life is full of affliction, suffering, and spiritual darkness? Are you questioning the love of your Abba Father?
Well, take heart because I have news for you! We are included in the promise of Hosea 1. The Apostles Peter and Paul make this abundantly clear as they quote parts of this passage as reminders to the Gentile church that they also belong to God. And just as Hosea prophesied, there is One Head under whom all—Jews, Greeks, slaves, and free—are joined, Jesus Christ.
For the Israelites of Hosea’s day, this promise was in the future, a day that would eventually come, but for us it’s now. We are in that day! We have yet to see the full prophesy come to pass, but those who were once “not my people” are now “children of the living God.” God is so faithful in keeping His promises!
So celebrate! This is the day of hope, the day of restoration. While we may suffer trials and tribulation on this broken earth, we have reason to rejoice, for we are living in the days that were once only prophesies—promises of what was to come—but have now become realities as we join the people of Israel under the title of “children of the living God”!
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession,
that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.”
~I Peter 2:9-10