In the previous post we read about what looks like God's wrath in exposing sin. The reason God exposes sin is so it can be dealt with - realization, repentence, and restoration. The previous passage dealt with realization. Anticipating repentence, the rest of this chapter of Hosea shows the mighty power of God in restoring the broken relationship. We broke it, but God alone is able to restore it.
In the End
Hos 2:14-15 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor [trouble] a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
When the people went into exile, robbed of their worldly wealth, they would find themselves at God’s mercy. Hope would come back to their hearts as the Lord chastened them. Certainly a remnant survived exile to return after Assyria was destroyed in 612 BC. For Christians who fall into sin, there remains hope. God chastens those whom He loves. He corrects and is faithful to forgive us when we repent and return to Him. Even in Hosea’s time those who believed in YHWH understood the relationship between human repentance and divine mercy.
Hos 2:16-17 “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more.
Continuing the poetic prophecy using marital symbols, God indicates that in that day chastened Israel will forsake its idols and return to God. As it pertains to Israel, this occurred at least in part during the reign of Hezekiah when some of the remnant of Israel joined with Judah to restore YHWH worship. While these events provided a sort of fulfillment to the Israel, the marriage symbolism is also carried forward to Christ and the church. There are numerous references to the marriage of Jesus to the Church at the end of the age. When the marriage of the lamb is celebrated in heaven there certainly will be no memory of false gods.
Hos 2:18-20 And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.
Is 11 also indicates animals are part of the messianic covenant. This reference in Isaiah, even if only symbolic of humanity transformed, obviously points toward a messianic event. Mic 4:3-4 contains similar language speaking of a time of messianic rule when war would cease and people would live in peace and safety. There are no events in the past history of Israel or Judah that would really satisfy these prophecies although the post-exile rule of Zerubbabel, mentioned by Haggai, comes closest to its fulfillment. Betrothal implies a deep intimacy. Even the great reforms of post-exile Jewish society, overseen as they were by Persia, could only be described as a foreshadowing of a much greater fulfillment yet to be realized. Hosea talks about an intimacy that lasts forever. It also talks about knowing the YHWH. Yeshua (Jesus) made YHWH known to the Jews and, through the great commission given to the apostles, God’s Anointed One is made known to people everywhere. Through Christ God is made known to all. The indwelling Holy Spirit reveals God in a deeply personal and intimate way to believers of all walks of life. Born again believers are transformed. One could reasonably argue that the animals of Hos 2:18 symbolize the many peoples once separated from God who come to know Him now through Jesus Christ. Even these fulfillments pale in comparison to the ultimate hope held for the marriage of the lamb at the end of the age which John wrote so much about in the closing chapters of Revelation.
God Takes Action to Bring About His Plan
Hos 2:21-23 “And in that day I will answer, declares the Lord, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth, and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel, and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’”
The closing verses of the second chapter bring this poetic passage of prophecy to its climax. False gods have been vanquished. A few points stand out. First, this passage indicates God answers. So, what is the question? Is it not the call for mercy and salvation? Terrible things happened at Jezreel. It seems humanity – at least those who love YHWH – has had its fill of what is terrible. The day God answers the request for salvation will be a great day indeed. This bride, the people loved by God, God Himself will sow. There are several possible connotations to being sown. These people would be raised as new beings, like plants are raised from seed, in the land. There will be mercy and inclusion with God for those who were previously rejected. To a minor degree this was accomplished when Hezekiah brought some of the house of Israel into the government of Judah where YHWH worship was restored and the Israelites worshipped alongside the tribe of Judah at Jerusalem. A greater fulfillment of this passage came about when Christ was sacrificed for the sins of the world and the Gentiles began to be accepted into the new covenant. All those rejected by God through the ages were granted the opportunity to hear and accept God’s call to return to a right relationship with Him. Our loving Creator answered the injustice of the rejected world when reconciliation was made at Calvary. Jeremiah and Paul both spoke about the changing of human hearts when God’s Spirit would come to reside with us in a new way. When the formerly rejected enter into a saving personal relationship they become new creations – in the world but not of the world.