The Uncomfortable Conclusion

God planned the whole thing.

Hosea 1:6-9 (NIV)

Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to Israel, that I should at all forgive them. Yet I will show love to Judah; and I will save them—not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but I, the LORD their God, will save them.”

After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son. Then the LORD said, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means ‘not my people’), for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”

This feels like a declaration of divorce. If Israel isn’t going to love the LORD, the LORD isn’t going to love them back.

But the point of this book isn’t simply to declare Israel’s downfall; it’s to explain it. The LORD is making an example of Hosea.

Usually, the expression “making an example of” means that the one who has done wrong will be punished in a clearly visible way as a teaching example.

But not here. Hosea isn’t the guilty one. He’s been chosen to be the teaching example through no fault of his own.

And think about the children! How’d you like to grow up with a name like Not Loved or Not My People? Imagine the teasing. A boy named Sue’s got nothing on these kids.

This leads unavoidably to an uncomfortable conclusion. The pain inflicted on Hosea and his kids is not some unexpected turn of events. God planned the whole thing.

Their suffering is perfectly OK with the LORD.

“It’s not perfectly OK with me,” I can almost hear you saying, “He doesn’t have the right to do that to people.” “OK, maybe He has the right—He can do anything He wants—but it’s not just and the Bible says that God is just.”

For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! – Isaiah 30:18b (NIV)

Yes, but God has all eternity to settle the justice. We can’t see the whole picture and what we can see may not look all that fair.

But our vision is limited; we’re not qualified to second guess God on this.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. – 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV)

Monday morning quarterbacking must wait until after the game.

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Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.