TODAY’S READING: HOSEA 1-4
“And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” – Hosea 1:11
If you are familiar with the Bible, then when you think of the book of Hosea you probably think of the man who married a prostitute, Gomer, for a wife. However, the Spirit showed me this morning that misses the heart of the story.
There are five people mentioned in the first chapter of Hosea. There’s Hosea, Gomer, Jezreel, No Mercy, and Not My People. Jezreel is at the center of these five people. So, in a sense, the story revolves around him. Yet, Jezreel seems to be the forgotten person of the book. He is only in the story a brief period of time. And, does anyone talk much about this Jezreel? I would say much more attention is paid to either Hosea and Gomer or No Mercy and Not My People.
The Spirit revealed Jezreel as the heart of the story to me through the meaning of the names in the first chapter of Hosea.
Hosea is the same name as Hoshea. Many probably know that the same means salvation. The name Jesus is simply the Greek transliteration of the name Hosea. Hosea was the son of Beeri. The name Beeri means well of God, well of the Lord, or my well. So, when we read Hosen, son of Beeri, we could read it as salvation of the well of the Lord.
Therefore, I first saw Hosea as a picture of Jesus. While this could be, since Jesus and God are one, as I moved through the meaning of the names I saw that here Hosea was more a picture of God the Father.
Gomer means completion or complete, perfect. This is somewhat strange because Gomer was anything but complete or perfect in the spiritual sense because she was a prostitute. Gomer was Hosea wife’s. And, Israel is portrayed as God’s wife throughout the Bible. So, Gomer is a picture of Israel. She was the daughter of Diblaim, which means twin fig cakes or two cakes of figs. I think this represents Judah and Israel.
Fig cakes are made from dried fruit. So, they are lacking water. But, Gomer completed, made perfect, or matured, which is to say no longer, when she marries Gomer who is the salvation of the well of the Lord.
Their first child, a son, is Jezreel. Jezreel means God sows or he will be sown by God. Jezreel comes from the Hebrew root word to scatter seed. Jesus was the son of God and Israel, Hosea and Gomer. And, Jesus is the seed sown by God. Speaking of his soon coming death and resurrection, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).
Jezreel’s blood was shed (Hosea 1:4), which is an obvious reference to Jesus. And the shedding of his blood would bring an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel, which is also a reference to Jesus.
The second child of Hosea and Gomer is No Mercy. When Hosea wrote it seems to me that No Mercy represented Judah. But, with Jesus in mind, I believe No Mercy represents all the people of Israel.
Why does No Mercy symbolize Israel?
It was not because God would show no mercy to Israel. God is the father of mercies. And, we are told, “Be merciful even as your Father is merciful”(Luke 6:36).
Rather, it was because Israel showed no mercy to Jesus and crucified him. This is why Jesus had to say to the Pharisees, “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.'” (Matthew 9:13) It is why Jesus told the Pharisees that they had neglected the weightier matters of the law, including mercy (Matthew 23:23).
The third and final child of Hosea and Gomer was Not My People. In the context of what Hosea wrote, Not My People seems to represent the ten northern tribes of Israel that was separate from Judah. But, with Jesus in mind, I believe Not My People represents the Gentiles.
We just need to look at the context of when Jesus said he would be a grain of wheat that dies and is sown into the ground to bear much fruit. Just before Jesus said that, he said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
Why did Jesus say that his hour had come to be glorified?
John 12:20-21 says, “Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.'” Just before Jesus said he was to be Jezreel, who had his blood shed and is he who will be sown by God, the Greeks, who were not Jesus’ people, came and asked to see him.
So, in No Mercy and Not My People, we have the Jews and the Gentiles, the complete spiritual Israel, God’s people. Therefore, Hosea 1:10 says, “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ it shall be said to them, ‘Children of the living God.'”
Where is that place?
Ephesians 2:14-17 says, “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two [Jew and Gentile], so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off [Gentiles] and peace to those who are near [Jews].”
This brings us back to the passage quoted at the start of this post. “And the children of Judah [Jews] and the children of Israel [Gentiles] shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.”
Who would they appoint as their one head?
Jezreel, for it was his day that was great.
Who is the one head of the Jews and Gentiles?
Colossians 1:18-20 says, “And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of the cross.”
So, Jezreel truly is a picture of Jesus. But, Jezreel seems to be the forgotten man in the story. And, that seems to be fitting for Jesus. For while he has done everything for us through the cross, making us all one, how easily we forget Jesus.
How often do we teach and preach, do church, minister, etc. and it has little to nothing to do with Jesus?