My wife’s siblings are coming to town next Wednesday. It’s time for our Van Campen Sibling Reunion and we’ve rented a house down on a lake southeast of Midlothian. I get to come because by marriage Mary’s brothers and sister have become my family. They’re “my people.”
Now in Fiddler On the Roof, Tevne says to the God of Israel, “I know, I know. We are Your chosen People. But, once in a while, can’t You choose someone else?” He’s lamenting the persecution and suffering he and his family have to face as Jews in the shtetl of Anatevka in eastern Russian in 1905, but the fact that he can call himself one of God’s chosen people remains his priceless possession.
At the beginning of Israel’s history when God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, He declared that He was the I AM. He was present and would go down to Egypt to deliver His people (Exod. 3:12-15. Then in Egypt when Israel began to reject Moses, God’s deliverer, the LORD declared, “I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You will know that I am the LORD your God who brought you out from the forced labor of the Egyptians.” (Exod. 6:7). Being able to say that they were God’s people was Israel’s most precious reality but in the 8thcentury at the beginning of Hosea’s prophetic ministry, the LORD negates these statements of the Exodus.
“Now when Gomer had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived again and gave birth to a son. And the LORD said, ‘Call his name Lo-Ammi (which means ‘Not My People’), for you are not my people and I will no longer be ‘I AM’ for you.” Hosea 1:8-9
Hosea’s children’s names predict divine judgment. The Northern Kingdom will end. God will not show parental compassion toward them, and now He will reject them as His people. The book is going to build a case that explains why divine judgment came, but in our next devo we will discover that from the beginning God revealed to Hosea that there would be a reversal of the meaning of these names. There would be a time of salvation.
LORD, through Jesus you have made me your child, part of your family, forever, Help me to cherish this gift of grace and help me understand how Hosea’s message of judgment against Israel opened the door of salvation to all.
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