The Boy Named “Gettysburg”
Most of the kids here in Midlothian are well into their third week of school and starting to connect with old friends and making new ones. The new students have had to introduce themselves over and over as fellow students work to remember their name. But if your name was Gettysburg, no one would have trouble remembering it. The struggle would be to figure out why in the world your mom came up with a name like that.
For the first three days in July 1863, Lee’s 72,000 rebels fought Meade’s more than 100,000 Union soldiers in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, that normally had 2400 inhabitants. It was the bloodiest battle of the war. Between 46,000 and 51,000 men died, and the Union victory proved to be the end for the Confederacy.
In 8thcentury BC Israel, it wasn’t the name “Gettysburg” that conjured up images of bloodshed and the end of a kingdom. It was the name of the beautiful, fertile plain lying in the heart of Israel with Megiddo on the southwest corner and Mt. Gilboa on the eastern edge. At the end of 1 Samuel we read how Saul died on a mountain in Jezreel. In 2 Kings 9 and 10, we read how the Lord anoints Jehu to destroy the idolatrous, immoral, and murderous House of Omri.
With his band, Jehu headed to Jezreel where he shot an arrow through the heart of King Jehoram, the son of Jezebel. Then entering the city he commanded the queen’s eunuchs to throw her from the palace window and he drove his chariot over her dead body. But though 1 Kings 10:28 recorded how Jehu eliminated the idolatrous worship of Baal, he continued the worship of the golden calves at both Bethel and Dan.
The LORD gave Jehu four generations, but in 760 BC when Hosea began his prophetic ministry near the end of Jehu’s descendant, Jeroboam II’s reign, the sins that caused God to end the line of Ahab and Jezebel, had become the sins of the House of Jehu. When Hosea named his son, Jezreel, it was not a sign of agricultural prosperity, but of the end of a kingdom.
“And the LORD said to Hosea, ‘Call his name, Jezreel, because in a short time I will visit the bloodshed of Jezreel upon the House of Jehu and I will bring to an end the kingdom of the house of Israel. In that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.’” Hosea 1:4-5
The name “Jezreel” literally means “God sows.” In this case, it’s not a positive name. It means God will execute his righteous judgment against the murderous violence that has become the norm in the Northern Kingdom. Hosea is powerfully reminding us of the serious consequences of breaking the sixth and the seventh commandments.
LORD, help me to listen to Hosea’s prophecy of judgment. You bring to an end a people that become controlled and dominated by sexual immorality and murder, and your Son teaches me that a look can become the beginning of adultery and just a flare-up of anger can become murder.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!