WHAT’S IN A NAME?

So he went and took Gomer, she conceived and bore him a son, and the Lord said to him, “Name him Jezreel; for yet a little while, I will punish the house of Jesu for the bloodshed of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. And it will come about on that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.” Hosea 1:3-5

I can not imagine the emotions a mother and father would face if God told them to name their beautiful baby a name with negative connotations. Did Hosea struggle with God’s command to name his son, Jezreel? We are not told.

Picking the name of a child was a holy act in Jewish culture. When people walked with God, He often told them what they were to name their children. In this case, the naming of Jezreel would tell the nation of Israel that they were about to be scattered. Before the prophetic ministry of Hosea was finished, Israel was defeated, destroyed, and taken captive by the mighty Assyrian empire. (2 Kings) The name Jezreel also meant that God would break the bow of His chosen people. The ‘bow’ symbolized a nation’s fighting power. The message overall was this: “Your power will be broken and your nation scattered.”

Hosea gave this prophetic word during a time when Israel was prospering politically and materially under Jereboam’s reign, but it was also a period of significant spiritual and moral decay. The terrible result of this decay wouldn’t become evident for some time. I’m sure many in Israel thought Hosea was a naysayer, fabricating stories of doom.

Anytime there is sin, there will be consequences. The baby, Jezreel, lived as a reminder of this kingdom principle. Many who sin today and who seem to get away with it still live under God’s laws. Times of prosperity may deceive them, lulling them into even greater recklessness. Good times are temporary, though. God said so and history proves that His Word is always true.

May I be like Hosea, willing to proclaim the laws of the kingdom during times when it appears ludicrous. Just as Noah built the ark and bore the brunt of jokes, I will be asked to stand firm when God’s truth has not yet been made evident. But why should I be surprised? I live by faith, not by sight.

I am but one servant, in a long line of prophets and apostles. I am infused with courage as I review their stories. I stand firm in You today no matter what life around me may look like. Amen

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