Saturday, 31 August 2013
As He says also in Hosea:
“I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved.” Romans 9:25
As he has consistently done in order to substantiate his claims, Paul turns again directly to Scripture to show that God’s election and calling are not just for the Jews. Today he turns to the prophet Hosea. There in Hosea 2:23, we are shown that God’s people are rejected or called according to a plan and a wisdom that we don’t always fully understand.
Hosea was a prophet who was used by God in a most unusual way. He married a woman named Gomer per the Lord’s instructions which stated –
“Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry And children of harlotry, For the land has committed great harlotry By departing from the Lord.”
Gomer had three children. The first was named Jezreel, “God sows.” The second was named Lo-Ruhamah, “No mercy.” The third was named Lo-Ammi, “Not my people.” What is implied is that the first child was born to Hosea whereas the second two were children of harlotry. God used this dysfunctional family, with an unfaithful wife and illegitimate children, to show how He works even among those who are not His while rejecting those who are His. However, even His rejection is something that won’t continue on forever. Instead, He will call His rejected people back to Himself.
The symbolism of the book of Hosea is so rich and beautiful. We reject God; God calls us back. And so Paul uses the words of this book to show us these truths in his letter to the Romans. As the apostle to the Gentiles, he shows us how God worked through the Jews to demonstrate His character and His righteous requirements. In due time, Christ came and fulfilled these requirements, thus allowing all to share in His goodness, but at this point, the Jews rejected Him.
During this time of rejection, Paul tells us of the dispensation of grace which is poured out upon the Gentiles, he being the minister of this period. Passages such as Ephesians 3:1-9 show us this. His thoughts there are summed up in verses 8 and 9 –
“To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ.”
However, despite Israel’s rejection of Christ, the symbolism of Hosea (as Jesus’ words and Paul’s writings also) shows us that they too will be called back by God at some point in the future. When the “times of the Gentiles” end, God’s attention will be focused on His people who have long rejected Him.
As a sort of hidden confirmation of these things and as if opening up a treasure of beautiful gems, the passage Paul refers to in Hosea is marked with a special pattern known as a chiasm. This pattern shows the contrast of rejection and acceptance by God. A chiasm is a pattern which states a truth and then turns around and restates it in the opposite order. Sometimes, such as in the case of this one in Hosea, the pattern says the opposite as it unfolds, thus it is a chiasm of contrasts. I discovered this one in 2007. I hope you will enjoy seeing both the grace and mercy of God revealed in it –
Hosea 1:9-2:23 – “But Me she forgot,” says the LORD. A Chiasm of Contrasts – Our Unfaithfulness and God’s Unlimited Mercy (11/23/07) a 1:9 You are not my people, I will not be your God.
—-b 1:10 Jezreel (God will sow)
——c 2:3 Dry Land, thirst.
———–d 2:5 Wife departs from her husband.
————-e 2:7 Wife returns to her husband.
——————-f 2:9 Take away the new wine.
——————–g 2:10-12 God punishes Israel.
————————h 2:13 God will punish her.
—————————-x 2:13 “But Me she forgot,” says the LORD
———————–h 2:14a God will allure her.
——————–g 2:14b God comforts Israel.
——————-f 2:15 Give vineyards.
————-e 2:16 LORD says, “That you will call me ‘My Husband.’”
———–d 2:19 Husband betroths wife.
——c 2:21, 22 Grain, new wine, oil.
—-b 2:22 Jezreel (God will sow)
a 2:23 You are my people; You are my God.
Life application: Though the gentiles were once out of the picture, there were still hints of God’s love for them – Ruth for example. And though the Jews rejected Christ, God has not given up on them. He will again call them as a people to Himself, thus demonstrating that He truly is a God of grace and mercy.
Lord, the treasures found in Your word fill me with wonder and awe. I know that the Bible is a gift of incomparable worth and so I ask that You give me the resolve and desire to read it, study it, share it, and love it all of my days. Help me to be a proper steward of Your word, handling it rightly and honoring You with my care of it. To Your glory I pray. Amen.