(To read these posts in order from the beginning, start here.)
Read Hosea 1:6-7
I will never forget the first time I saw the face of my newborn daughter. She was my first child, and apparently I was expecting to give birth to a carbon copy of myself because I was surprised when I glanced at her tiny head covered with thick black curly hair. I was pretty much bald until I was 5-years-old, so to say this was a shock is an understatement. As I took a few moments to take her in after a scary ordeal of a birth, I noticed that her face didn't look exactly like mine either. In fact, all I saw was the face of my mother in law. One of my first thoughts when I saw my daughter Dyllan, was "I gave birth to Thelma!" (My mother in law is a beautiful woman, so I wasn't complaining.)
The love was instantaneous. My husband and I had carefully chosen her name: Dyllan Joi. We opted for a spelling of "Dyllan" that had to do with faithfulness, (although I admit she was born at the tail end of my Bob Dylan phase), and her middle name speaks for itself. Her very existence had brought her parents so much joy. And of course, we had to spell it with an "i" because we just can't do anything normal. The meaning of her name meant the world to us. Her first name was a prayer for her, and her middle name a symbol of what she gave to us. Now imagine that I see the sweet face of Thelm....er....Dyllan for the first time, and God commands me to name her: She is Not Loved.
That's exactly what God required of Hosea.
Last time, we talked about little Jezreel, the first of Hosea and Gomer’s three children. Although the meaning of Jezreel is a bit ambiguous, there’s no question when it comes to the name of the next chip off the old block. The Lord told Hosea, “Call her name No Mercy,” or in some translations, “Not Pitied.” It means quite literally, “She is not loved.”
D.A. Garrett noted that due to the Israelite culture being so child-centered, this name was about as scandalous and offensive as it gets. It identified her as someone who was rejected and abandoned by her father. A friend of mine commented that just having that name alone would rack up the therapy bills! Garrett wrote, “Whenever her name was spoken, it commanded the attention of the people around and invited the question, Why would anyone call his daughter that?”
Dreadful name for sure. But once again, Hosea straight up obeyed. But why did God command this name in the first place?
God said it was because, “I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all.” (Remember, that’s the Northern Kingdom.)
In the Hebrew, No Mercy’s name is Lo-Ruhama. Ruhama comes from the verb rāḥam, which connotes not just the action of love, but deep feelings of emotion and compassion, much like the love a father would have for his child. This word is used several times in the Old Testament to show us God’s heart toward Israel. One example is Ps. 103:13: “As a father shows compassion (rāḥam) to his children, so the Lord shows rāḥam to those who fear him.”
But what about the “Lo” part of Lo-Ruhama? It basically means “Not.” Lo-Ruhama. Not loved. Not Pitied. The tender compassion God had shown toward Israel has been revoked.
This is important because In Hosea 3:5, Hosea directly links Israel’s salvation to the House of David, who came through the line of Judah. (Just remember—David/Judah = Southern Kingdom.)
He says, “But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen. This prophecy was fulfilled in 2 Kings 19:35: “And that night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.” Yep…no bows or arrows necessary.
Why do I need to know about all this Israel split into two kingdoms thing? I'm glad you asked. One reason we'll talk about next time. But for now:
Jesus, our Messiah would come through the line of Judah! God keeps his promises. And hold tight because all is not lost for Israel in the north. Next in line, “Not My People.”