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The Scriptorium

No Mercy, Mercy

Mercy withheld, then restored.

Hosea 1

Week 2, Thursday: Respite from wrath

A second child is born to Hosea and Gomer, and God names her Lo-Ruhamah: “no mercy.” Not on Israel, anyway.

Again, the message at this point is primarily to Hosea. Having lived for some time with the “Jezreel” message tottering around the house, the prophet must have been prompted to plead with God for some stay of violence against His people. This second child was both an answer to Hosea’s prayers and a portent of his ministry, yet to come.

Read Hosea 1

Meditate on Hosea 1.6, 7

1. How do you suppose Hosea must have felt when God explained this daughter was to be named Lo-Ruhamah? How was this helping to prepare him for his ministry? How must Hosea have been feeling about this calling God had appointed for him?

2. God provides consolation for the prophet, and this takes the form of a more specific focus of the message, “No mercy.” What does God promise?

3. We note that, while God’s judgment against Israel comes in the form of sword and bow, God’s promised salvation to Judah will not be by that means. God says only that He intends to save His people “by the LORDtheir God.” Israel would be destroyed by political and military means. Judah would not be saved by these. What message for God’s people of all times is suggested here?

4. The word “will save” sounds, in the Hebrew language, almost like the name, Hosea. How would this contribute to Hosea’s preparation for his ministry? What might this have affected what Hosea may have been thinking about his calling and the message he would proclaim – its content, thrust, and focus?

5. Evidently, God’s mercy is not boundless. What provokes God finally to withdraw His mercy from someone? How can you see in the birth of Lo-Ruhamah that God is pointing His prophet’s mind toward a far horizon in the unfolding of His redemption?

Summary
God does not forgive everyone. He does not wink at sin. He brings the wages of sin against people precisely in line with what their works deserve. But does this mean His mercy is ever beyond reach? Why or why not? Can we proclaim the Good News of God’s saving mercy apart from the bad news of His wrath? Explain.

Closing Prayer
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O LORD, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

Psalm 51.14-17

T. M. Moore

Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For all available studies in Hosea, click here.

A primary theme of the book of Hosea is Israel’s failure to keep covenant with the Lord. God’s covenant is a central theme and provides the organizing motif for all of Scripture. Learn more about God’s covenant by ordering a copy of T. M.’s book,
I Will Be Your God, from our online store (click here).

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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