The Curse Reversed
Hosea 1:10 - Hosea 2:1
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered…

The "yet with which this passage Clans is a blessed yet. It introduces suddenly an announcement of salvation for Israel. Hosea cannot think of everything as being always for the worst. His children are not to be living witnesses merely of approaching vengeance. So the prophet's sobs of agony are stilled for a little, to give place to the inspiring strains of Messianic promise. He points out three blessings which lie on the other side of the dreadful doom of the northern kingdom.

I. REALIZATION OF THE COVENANT PROMISE. (Ver. 10.) Some one might naturally ask the question - If Israel is to be scattered," "unpitied," and "rejected," what is to become of the promises given to Abraham and the fathers of the Hebrew race (Genesis 22:17; Genesis 32:12)? The prophet replies that these will be in no wise cancelled by the rejection of the ten tribes. The people of the northern kingdom are to be dispersed among the nations; but God's purpose is to gather his Church from the Gentile world as well as from the Jewish. The promises given to Abraham were not so much national as spiritual. While, therefore, the symbolic one hundred and forty-four thousand shall be "sealed," there shall stand with them before the throne the "great multitude, which no man could number" (Revelation 7:4, 9).

II. RECOVERY OF THE NATIONAL UNITY. (Ver. 11.) In the past there had always been more or less of enmity between Judah and Israel. Long before the disruption of the kingdom, Ephraim "envied" Judah. And for two hundred years now these tribes had also been sundered politically. But, in the good time coming, the twelve tribes shall again become one rod in the hand of the Lord (Ezekiel 37:16, 17). The oracle before us implies, further, that prior to this reunion Judah also shall have been rejected and carried into exile for its sins. To whom are we to refer this notable prophecy of the "one head"?

1. It refers typically to Zerubbabel, the head of the tribe of Judah at the return from the exile. Among those who went up with him were, at least, a few belonging to the ten tribes; so that a partial miniature of this union was presented in the return from Babylon.

2. It refers antitypically to Jesus Christ, the "One Head" of redeemed humanity. The literal Judah and Israel shall be reunited in him, along with the spiritual Israel of the whole Gentile Church. He receives the appointment, of course, from his Father; but also from his people, in the sense that they accept and rejoice in it. The lesson here is that only in the gospel of Christ is to be found the true basis of the brotherhood of the human race. The name of Jesus is the one adequate symbol of life and liberty. Only his body, the Church, can communicate to the world the blessings of the ideal republic - liberty, equality, fraternity. Union among men can only spring from their common union with God.

III. RESTORATION TO THE DIVINE FAVOR. In the names of Hosea's three children God had denounced woe upon Israel. But these very names may also be understood so that they shall convey an assurance of mercy and redemption. It may be, indeed, that after following for a season in the evil ways of their mother Goner, the three young people were themselves converted, and thus became qualified in character to illustrate their father's prophetic message on its side of promise.

1. "Jezreel" will mean "God sows." (Ver. 11.) This name shall be purified from its baser associations, and be understood again in accordance with its richest meaning. Originally suggestive of the beauty and fertility of the plain of Esdraelon, its application shall be extended, in the spiritual sense, to the whole of Palestine and of the world (Isaiah 35:1, 2). When God sows there is sure to be a glorious harvest; hence the Messianic promise, "Great shall be the day of Jezreel."

2. "Not-my-people will become My people." (Ver. 10 and Hosea 2:1.) In the good time coming, the men of Israel are to salute one another no longer as "Lo-ammi;" but, joyfully dropping the negative, as "Ammi," i.e. those whom the Lord has again called to be his people. This name anticipates "the adoption of sons" under the New Testament. Hence we find the Apostle Peter applying this passage to the Jews of the dispersion (1 Peter 2:10); and the Apostle Paul to the reception of the Gentiles, in opposition to the Jews (Romans 9:25, 26). The words of the latter are not merely an ingenious adaptation of the prophecy to the heathen nations; they are an argument based upon the fundamental thought of it. Israel, through its apostasy, had fallen from the covenant of grace, and had taken its place spiritually as part of the Gentile world, which served dead idols. So the re-adoption of Israel carried with it the adoption also of the Gentiles as the spiritual children of God.

3. "Not-pitied will become Pitied." (Ver. 1.) The word "Ruhamah" will be applied to the daughters of the people, to express the climax of the Divine love. Israel is again to be the object of the Lord's tender and yearning affection. On the other side of all the sin and doom Hosea discerns the sovereignty of Jehovah's compassion and loving-kindness, and he calls upon the people rapturously to celebrate it.

CONCLUSION. How great the encouragement which these three verses afford to any of us who feel that we have, in our own lives, grievously departed from the living God l We, in this age, should understand more clearly than even Hosea did the unspeakable mercy of Jehovah. The prophet says nothing, for example, about the ground or method of the Divine forgiveness. But God has unfolded this "in these last days" in speaking "unto us by his Son" (Hebrews 1:2). The Lord Jesus Christ has come as the Prophet of the Church to emphasize and carry forward Hosea's message" Jezreel," "Ammi," "Ruhamah." - C.J.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.

WEB: Yet the number of the children of Israel will be as the sand of the sea, which can't be measured nor numbered; and it will come to pass that, in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.'

Sons of the Living God
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