He changed my name: Hosea 2

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Today’s reading: Hosea 1-7.

Abram, Sarai, Jacob, and Saul. They all have something in common – God gave them new names to reflect the new condition of their lives. Maybe you’ve changed your name because of marriage or adoption. Maybe you’ve wished you could change your name because of the baggage that goes with your old name. Maybe you’ve forgotten that God is in the name-changing business.

Hosea the prophet lived in the days of Isaiah, the final days of the northern kingdom of Israel and the days of southern kings like Uzziah and Hezekiah. God told him to marry a prostitute named Gomer, and she bore him three children. God named them Jezreel (God scatters), Lo-Ruhamah (not loved), and Lo-Ammi (not my people). Hosea’s marriage and children were symbolic of the adulterous actions and spirit of prostitution that characterized Israel’s relationship with God. Because of their unfaithfulness God was determined to scatter them. Because their children were children of idolatry and prostitution he declared he did not love them and they were not his people.

Sometimes the only way to understand a thing is to experience it yourself. Hosea’s troubled marriage was God’s object lesson to make the Israelites face up to their infidelity. Gomer ended up in slavery, which Israel would soon experience firsthand, but Hosea bought her back and betrothed himself to her again. In the same way God declared to Israel, “return to me and I will respond to you.”

“In that day I will respond,” declares the LORD– “I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people, ‘ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’ ” Hosea 2:21-23

If your name is Sinner, God wants to change it to Forgiven. If you are Without Hope, he can rename you Full of Hope. Maybe you call yourself Sad, but God can make you Joy. Whatever undesirable name you carry now, God can rewrite it. In the days of ancient Israel, when God and men made covenants with one another, they would sometimes take part of the other’s name. So Jacob became Isra-El, and God became the God of Jacob. So Christ-ian, your full name is Forgiven by God, Hope in God, Joy of the LORD, Faith in God, Strong in the LORD, and Full of God’s Grace. And Jesus, who by grace gives us our new names, is the Son of Man.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives {it.} Revelation 2:17

Image by Agence Tophos on Flickr, CC by-sa 2.0

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One thought on “He changed my name: Hosea 2

  1. Pingback: Bible Daily Devotional – Hosea 2 – He changed my name | ChristianBlessings

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