Hosea and Gomer
Open Your Bible
Hosea 1:2-11, Hosea 2:1, Hosea 2:5-23, Hosea 3:1-5, Psalm 144:2
I am currently in a group text with some women who are trying (and failing) to help our friend name her fourth baby. The child is a boy, and while the list of possible names keeps growing longer—(Theo… Patrick… What about Finn?)—the reasons why she can’t choose those names keep coming too. (I like it but my neighbor used it… I don’t want him to be called “Pat”… It just doesn’t “feel right,” you know?)
I don’t blame her for taking her time. Choosing a name for another human being is a sacred task and shouldn’t be taken lightly. We know this because throughout Scripture, God changes the names of His people to reflect His love and call on their lives. He gave Simon a new name, “Peter.” From that point forward, every time someone spoke his new name, Peter had the opportunity to remember that though his faith was at times shaky, Jesus had called him “the rock” on which His church would be built (Matthew 16:18).
In today’s reading, God’s tells a man named Hosea to go and marry a promiscuous woman. The call on Hosea’s life is to offer the same compassion, acceptance, and love to an undeserving woman that God has offered to His people. He chooses Gomer, and begins to create a life with her and have children with her. It’s a hard assignment, one that leaves Hosea and his children ostracized and exposed. The children are given cursed names, such as “No Compassion” and “Not My People.”
Can you imagine? Everywhere these children went, they would have been reminded of their family shame and their mother’s sin. But our generous God is in the name-changing business because He is also in the life-changing business. In His economy, those who were called “not my people” can now be called “children of God.” He is the God who turns our curses into blessings.
What name do you call yourself today? Here are a few of the names I call myself: “Not Successful” and “Not Capable,” “Excluded” and “Unwanted.” But God, through the work of Jesus Christ, invites me to shed the curse of those names and embrace the truth of His love and acceptance. My identity is now shaped by His love for me. I am His, and He calls me His “daughter.”