Hosea 1:10, 11
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered…
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. Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall he the day of Jezreel. Biblical critics of all schools use the natural Israel as the emblem of the spiritual. Paul does so, and therefore it is just and right. We shall take Israel for mankind, and use the text to illustrate the destiny of the race.
I. The race is destined to an INDEFINITE INCREASE in the number of good men. "The number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered or measured." The good, the spiritual Israel, have been comparatively few in all ages, though perhaps there is a larger number now than in any preceding period. But the time will come when they shall be innumerable. What mean such passages as these? - "He shall have dominion from sea to sea, from the river to the end of the earth." Again, "All kings shall fall down before him." Again, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ." Numerous as the sand on the sea-shore! A Jewish rabbi regards the good as the sand, not only in relation to number, but to usefulness. As the sand keeps the sea from breaking in and drowning the world, so the saints keep the world from being drowned by the waves of eternal retribution. This is true. Were it not for the good the world would not stand long. But it is to represent number, not protection, that the figure is employed. Who can count the sand which is upon the shore? Do you say that to all appearances such an increase is impossible? When God promised to Abraham that his seed should be as the stars of heaven and the sand upon the shore, what could seem more improbable than the fulfillment? It was twenty years after the promise that he had any child, and that only child he was commanded to destroy, and though Isaac was preserved, he had no offspring until twenty years after his marriage. How improbable the fulfillment of such a promise; but nevertheless it was fulfilled. How numerous the descendants of Abraham became! Do not judge from appearance. Trust God's Word; it will come to pass. There is a glorious future for the world.
II. The race is destined to a TRANSCENDENT PRIVILEGE. "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."
1. They are destined to a general conversion to God. From not being his people they are to become his people. The places el the earth now populated with the enemies of God will one day be crowded with his friends; places where idolatry, superstition, worldliness, and infidelity prevail shall in the bright future be consecrated to Heaven.
2. They are destined to a general adoption into the family of God. "Ye are the sons of the living God." They shall be endowed and animated with the true Spirit, the spirit of reverence and adoring love. They shall "worship the Father in spirit and in truth." "The living God." The world has abounded with dead gods; there is but one living God. He is the Living One. He is Life, the primal Fount of all existence. Christ calls him the living Father. "As the living Father sent me... I live in the Father, so he that eateth with me shall live by me."
III. The race is destined to a COMMON LEADERSHIP. "Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel."
1. This leadership shall unite the most hostile. "Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together." Great and long-enduring was the hostility existing between these people. The time will come when all antitathies existing amongst peoples shall be destroyed. "Ephraim shall not envy Judah: they shall be of one heart and one mind."
2. This leadership shall be by common appointment. They shall "appoint themselves one Head." Their Leader will not be forced upon them contrary to their consent, nor will he force himself. Who is the Leader? Christ. He is the Leader of the people. He is the Commander-in-chief, he is the Captain of our salvation. All shall unite in him. He is the Head of the Church.
3. This leadership will be glorious. "They shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel." As Moses led the Jews out of the wilderness, as Cyrus delivered them from Babylon, Christ will lead them out of Egyptian darkness and Babylonian corruption. "Israel is here called Jezreel," says Matthew Henry, "the seed of God. This seed is now sown in the earth, and buried in the clods, but great shall be its day whoa the harvest comes."
"For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonders that would be;
Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, drooping down with costly bales;
Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rained a ghastly dew
From the nations' airy navies grappling in the center blue;
Far along the world-wide whisper of the south wind rushing warm,
With the standards of the peoples plunging thro' the thunderstorm;
Till the war-drum throbb'd no longer, and the battle-flags were furl'd
In the parliament of man, the federation of the world.
There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law."
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.'