Three Children, Three Names, Three Prophecies, Three Applications- Part IV-A

Setting Up Part IV

The marriage turned adulteress relationship between Hosea and Gomer produces three children. God designates their names and announces their prophetic character. As we consider these in our Hosea model of marriage counseling, we can make three applications that, Lord willing, may cause a couple to reconsider the headlong direction they anticipate. 

The Three Children

​ The first child is to be named Scattered (Jezreel), which is the exact opposite of Israel which means, gathered. When a couple marries, they gather. They become one, and they commit to being one for the glory of God. This name is prophetic of Israel. Jacob becomes a multitude, a cohesive nation. Now God is about to scatter them. They have been choosing not to live by his life plan for them. As a result, they will be scattered. God scatters them, but their scattering is the consequence of their disobedience. 

The Application-1

The application for marriage counseling is this. After citing this story, confront your counselee in this manner: continue your pathway of disobedience, and you will be scattered. Your wealth will be scattered. Your children will be scattered. Your control will be scattered. Your emotions will be scattered. Even as Israel became fractured and dispersed to live in harsh conditions, familiesscattered, wealth scattered, and control dispersed. So, it is with a couple who is defiant of God’s directions that determines similar life requirements.

Lo-Ruhamah, not loved, is the name of the second child born to Hosea and Gomer. There are good reasons to surmise that this was a love child of Gomer’s unfaithfulness, making the name even more ironic. The prophecy emanating from this name is that God announces that the time is coming when he will not love Israel. Theologically that seems contradictory. “For the Lord is good, and his love endures forever,” says Psalm 100:5. Yet, God declares I will not love Israel.Nonetheless, His love endures. Boyce observes, “But when we insist on our way and persevere in our sin, the time comes when the daily mercies of the Lord are withdrawn from us, and we are abandoned to our folly so that we might learn to turn back to him. God will not actively showmercy during such periods, save in judgment… (Boyce, page 19). 

The Application-2​

The application here is that of warning. Not being loved is a horrible place to be. You can find many examples of Israel’s expression of grief and agony when God forsook them with the consequences of withdrawing his love. That is where you will put your children when you choose to live disobediently in marriage. 

Recently I had to talk with a woman who had her bags packed and ready to walk out when she received a call from her husband who said, “You are not going to believe this, but I pulled down that book by Henry Brandt, read it, and got down on my knees and gave up to Christ.” She unpacked her bags. But his drunken selfish disobedience over 14 years of his daughter’s life wreaked havoc on her soul. Seventeen years later, she still deals with the consequences of being unloved.

The Application-3

The third name that provides us with an application for marriage counseling is Lo-Ammi, not my people. The consequences of a profligate, or just plain disobedient life, may produce a mate andchildren living with a sense of not my people. I see this played out in a variety of ways. Our Mercy Pastor is in my office complex. All requests for assistance from our Diaconate Fund come through him. We have a biblically structured mercy approach. The requestor must agree to a 13-week program to learn the value of money and money management to gain assistance. A large majority of requestors live in the urban areas of the city. Many of these are single Moms with multiple children from multiple men who have been abandoned by a husband and then choose to live the life of Gomer. These women feel like not my people. They have no sense of belonging. Their children think like not my people and often find their belonging in gangs. While these are extreme examples, they help us appreciate and communicate to our counselees that this is how children feel when dead-beat-Dads refuse to provide for them or user-manipulative-moms prey upon them. 

The Over All Application

Time does not now permit me to walk you through the promises of God to Israel to reverse these names from scattered to gathered, from not loved to loved, and from not-my-people to my people. 

​Let me draw the application. Love and repentance are the pathways to restoration! Recently a young couple [they represent what I frequently see] married just six months came to counseling. 

“We desired to nip a problem in the bud.” 

“GREAT!” I responded. 

They had identified the culprit as a communication problem. However, about thirty minutes into the session, it became evident that the problem was not communication but selfish desires/demands. In the case of Hosea, God is telling us what we need to know for His purposes as He is dealing with His people. However, suppose we could have had Hosea and Gomer in counseling. In that case, I think it reasonable to assume that the human dynamics of selfish demands that led to her adultery would not be very different than what we see in our counseling offices.

​ When we follow the story of Hosea and Gomer, we find that Hosea loved her enough to go and purchase her from the slave market. It is the gorgeous picture of Christ redeeming us from the slave market of sin from which we gain the benefit through repentance. So, again, we have an incredible illustration for mates in marriage. Yes, our counseling needs prayerful, careful discernment regarding some of the twisted situations presented to us. Nonetheless, a spouse loving, even seeking to love a spouse overtaken in sin, is powerful and often a means to draw the offender into repentance. 

​ Through our ministry at the Briarwood Counseling Ministry, in any given six to nine-month period, we see several marriages retrieved from the abyss of an affair. Frequently, there isan active intensive pursuit of the offender by the offended, bringing the offender to repentance that frames the pathway of forgiveness, and forgiveness, the pathway for reconciliation. We have every reason to believe that the marriage of Hosea and Gomer was restored and reconciled from this time forward.

​ I am privileged to count as dear friends several couples who have lived a Hosea/Gomer experience—in some cases, the husband was the offender, and in others, the wife. They are bright testimonies to the grace of God as they have moved from scattered to gathered, not loved to loved, and not-my-people to my people experiences.

​ This book, written as a prophetic word for Israel, provides us with principles for a model of Biblical marriage counseling. We will continue to develop this in Parts-IV B and C.

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