Read Hosea 1
Focus on verse 9
When we named our children we were diligent in researching what a name meant before we choose the name. We did this because we believed that names were important, not just to identify the children and give them a label, but rather that the name becomes part of their identity. Most people seem to have a tendency to live up to the name they are given. The names children are given also tend to follow whatever the current fad happens to be.
There was a short period where it seemed to me that weird names were all the rage as parents gave children names like “Cinnamon” or “Sage” causing me to wonder if they were referencing their spice rack for inspiration. Another popular trend was to twist up the spelling or pronunciation of more common names resulting in names “Bryhan” pronounced “Brian” or “Kahryn” pronounced “Car-een” with a rolled “r”. Personally, I don’t object to parents being creative with names as long as they have some rational that makes sense behind the name that is given, and the child understands what it means.
In today’s reading we find a rather strange account of a prophet of God named Hosea who is instructed by God to marry a prostitute as an illustration of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. They have several children together and the names the Lord gives to Hosea for these children become part of the prophetic message. His first son is named Jezreel to warn Israel that God will bring them to defeat in the Valley of Jezreel. The second child, a daughter is named “No Mercy” to inform Israel that God will no longer show them His mercy. And the third he calls “Not My People” as a message to Israel that God has disowned them. Each of these warnings is also followed by a promise that it is not a permanent punishment, reminding Israel that while judgment is coming, it will be followed by repentance and restoration.
Once again this is a reflection of true nature of God in that though His justice holds Him to disciplining those who rebel against him, the discipline is administered in the hope that people will repent and return to Him as a result.
One of the main themes that is evident in the book of Hosea is the mercy and faithfulness of God despite the faithlessness and rebellion of humanity. It is a theme that becomes even more clearly displayed in the New Testament when Jesus appears on the scene.