Children of Hosea

Hosea is a love story Hollywood couldn’t recreate. A story of unconditional love and unyielding pursuit. A story that mirrors the greatest story of all time.

The SparkNotes version: A man with a heart of gold fell for a woman with an ugly past. She left over and over, and he stayed over and over. It’s a 14-chapter metaphor of God’s love for His people.

I’ve always read it through the lens of Hosea’s love for his wife Gomer but recently realized a redemptive subplot that unfolds in his love for their children.

“For their mother has played the whore; she who conceived them has acted shamefully.”
— Hosea 2:5

Gomer conceived a daughter, Lo-Ruhamah, and a son, Lo-Ammi, in adultery. Lo-Ruhamah, meaning “not having obtained mercy,” and Lo-Ammi, meaning “not my people,” were the visible products of Gomer’s infidelity.

Can you imagine the heartache Hosea must have endured as he watched the children grow up without his features? Without his laugh or his cheekbones or his hair color or his height? Hosea watched as Lo-Ruhamah and Lo-Ammi grew to resemble their mother and her lover, and he stayed.

Not only did he stay, but he gave grace. At the beginning of chapter two, Hosea says, “Say to your brothers, ‘You are my people,’ and to your sisters, ‘You have received mercy.’” He took the Lo-—the  “not”—from their identity and called them his.

I feel deserving of the Lo- names most days. I don’t feel like God’s people, and I know that logically, I shouldn’t obtain mercy. My features and my character don’t resemble my Father’s, and I know His heart hurts when I don’t look like Him. But James 4:6 says, “He gives more grace,” and I’ll take it.

God pursues our hearts and is jealous for our love. Our souls only find rest and satisfaction and true love in His embrace, but we’re so quick to try to find it elsewhere. We scoff at Gomer cheating on Hosea, quick to label her a heathen, while we keep cheating on God with our constant wandering.

But He changed our name when He stretched His arms across that wooden cross. We transformed from “not His people” to “His people,” and He swore His unending mercy upon us.

My husband and I are becoming foster parents—not because we are superheroes or extra-holy, but because we recognize that our eternal name-change changes everything. He adopted us as His when we were so far from deserving, and we want to be a teensy-tiny reflection of that love. If one day we adopt, we’ll give our name away and gain a member of our family. We’ll call a sweet little boy or girl by a new last name, and they’ll take a deep breath of relief—reminiscent of Hosea’s love and a metaphor for what Jesus offered when He called us his.