Hosea 1:8-10.

Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.

Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not My people, and I will not be your God.

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.

A third child was born to Hosea and Gomer. By this time, I think Hosea would be waiting with some degree of dread to hear what God would say about naming this child. Jezreel, Loruhamah, and. .. .

Loammi. Not My people. Jezreel: God sows (plants). And Loruhamah: No mercy.

Have you ever thought about Gomer’s reaction to the names God told Hosea to choose for their children? Women, would you want your child to be named No Mercy? Or Not My people? Or God sows?

We already know that Gomer’s character, at least at this point in her life, was not one of godliness. Still, she was a Jewish woman, and she had to have had some knowledge of God’s law. I wonder how much tension there was in that home, especially whenever Hosea or Gomer had to use one of the children’s names.

Put them together in order, and you have, “God sows no mercy, you are not My people!”

His message was crystal clear, but apparently it didn’t have much impact on Israel. Their doom was realized during Hosea’s lifetime.

Still, God softened the blow in v. 10, where the promise God had made generations ago to Abraham was repeated: You will be uncountable, as the grains of sand by the sea; You will once again be My People, the sons of the Living God. But before that can happen, you must go through a time of terror, of bondage, and of returning to the worship of Jehovah.

I can’t help comparing Israel’s fate to America’s future. I believe a time of persecution such as this country has never experienced before is coming to our shores. Like Israel, our hearts have become hardened and have been stolen away into the worship of many idols. Money, recreation, other religions that require very little of us, worldly pursuits that our parents and grandparents would have deplored. We have pulpits that preach social justice, but not sin, repentance and salvation. What we have forgotten is that there can be no man-made social justice when God’s way is watered down and served lukewarm. We have forgotten that where God is honored, where His Word is revered, other problems will be addressed as God would have them to be addressed, and not with man’s ideas of what should be.

Why Judgment?

Isaiah 47: 6-7

I was wroth with My people, I have polluted Mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand: thou didst shew them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.

And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.

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God was angry because His people had strayed–again–away from Him into idolatry.  His people were defiled by idolatrous practices, so he allowed Babylon to conquer them and take them into slavery.  But Babylon went too far.  They showed no mercy to the Israelites.  They even placed heavy workloads on frail older people who could not stand up under such demands.

Babylon thought she would always be supreme among the nations (I will be a lady forever), and in her pride, she forgot that she was dealing with the Holy One of Israel.

Millennial Judgment on Israel’s Enemies

Isaiah 30:27-28. Behold, the Name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with His anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue as a devouring fire. And His breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err.”

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God’s wrath is something to be feared.  Sadly, too many people want to focus only on His love, His grace and mercy. Those are also important attributes, but they are not the ONLY  attributes. Primarily, God is holy.  His holiness contains all His other attributes, which include grace, love, and mercy.  And justice. We must never forget that He is a God of justice, and the nations who persecuted Israel will experience the justice meted out by and angry and all-powerful God.

It was customary for captives from defeated nations to be led away with nooses, or bridles, around their necks. The bridles made it easy to control them.  I’m not sure if this last sentence in today’s passage is a reference to the people of Jerusalem being led into captivity, or if it is descriptive of Judah’s enemies when they are defeated. Nothing I read was completely convincing or definite. I tend to think, though, that it refers to the half of Jerusalem that will be led into captivity just before Armageddon (Zech. 14:1-5).

Destruction and Restoration

Isaiah 23: 14-18. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish: for  your strength is laid waste. And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot. Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered. And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the Lord will visit Tyre, and she shall turn by her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth. And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing.

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The strength of Tarshish was greatly diminished by the fall of Tyre.  Tyre would be forgotten, her importance lost, her trade destroyed.

The seventy years in verse 15 refers to the years Judah would be in captivity. Nebuchadnezzar  began his siege of Tyre in the first year of his reign and from then to the taking of Babylon by Darius and Cyrus was 70 years. At that time, the harlots which had been taken captive to Babylon were to be released. Jeremiah spoke of all these nations serving the king of Babylon. Some were conquered sooner than others, but all were to be set free at the end of the 70 years which were to be during the life of “him” (Nebuchadnezzar) and his son (Evil-Merodach), and his son’s son (Belshazzar).

The Lord would permit Tyre to be restored after 70 years, and she would enjoy all her riches and glory as before. She would be made rich again by her resumed trade. Tyre was rebuilt on the Island and soon rivaled the former Tyre in glory and wealth. The new city was taken by Alexander the Great about 255 years after the former city had been razed by Nebuchadnezzar.

In verse 18, most Bible scholars believe that Tyre will be restored during the Millenium, and her trade shall be “holiness to the Lord,” and her wealth would not be hoarded to make men rich at the expense of the poor, but will be used  for them that dwell before the Lord, so that they can have sufficient food and clothing. Because this has never yet been fulfilled, it must refer to the Millenium when there shall be HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD upon the bells of the horses and upon every pot and pan in Jerusalem (Zech. 14:1-5, 9 16-21).

Medes and Persians

Isaiah 13:17-18. ” Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver: and as for gold, they shall not delight in it. Their bows also shall dash the  young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.”

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Switching back to the near future, Isaiah foretold the destruction of the Babylon of that day by the Medes and Persians. Their empire was vast, and it was cruel.

As I study through all this, I am struck again and again at the rise and fall of powerful nations. They think they are indestructible, and they conquer every other nation within their reach. Then God uses yet another nation to work His purpose in delivering Israel after a time of punishment for their idolatry. Over and over again the pattern repeats itself.

I am fascinated by Israel’s past; even more by its future. So many events during my lifetime have led to the establishment of Israel as a world power; a tiny little country with the guns of nearly all its neighbors trained against it because the Muslim world wants to deny the existence of Israel. Things are shaping up toward the events of the end times. Watch what is going on over there, and you will see how the stage is being set.

Second Woe: Drunkenness

Isaiah 5:11-12. “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink: that continue until night, till wine inflame them: And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of His hands.

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This woe is a picture of self-indulgence and pleasure-seeking.  They would go into captivity without any understanding of what is happening because they’ve spent all their time partying, ignoring God and His works.

Our nation is in this position right now. Even those who claim to be believers are drinking in larger numbers, saying that there’s no harm in a little social drinking. But alcohol dulls our sense of devotion to God, and opens the door of temptation to more and more sinful behaviors.  Sure, it’s possible to drink and not become drunk; it’s possible to drink and never become an alcoholic. It’s also entirely possible to have an enjoyable time of fellowship and relaxation without any alcohol at all.

He Led Captivity Captive

Ephesians 4:8. “Wherefore He saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.”

When He ascended up on high:  this is a direct reference to the time when Jesus said farewell to His disciples and rose up into the heavens.  He had appeared to over 500 witnesses (I Cor. 15:6) after His resurrection, allowing so many to see Him in order to establish that He was indeed risen from the dead.  After spending time comforting His disciples and reassuring them of the coming presence of the Holy Spirit, He rose back into His heavenly home.  What a dramatic event that must have been!  I can hardly imagine what it must have looked like, what the disciples must have been thinking and feeling as the Lord they loved disappeared into the sky.

He led captivity captive:  Psalm 68: 18 says, “Thou has ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive: Thou has received gifts for men: yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.” We see the phrase again in Judges 5:12. “Awake, awake, Deborah:  awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.”  The clear translation and meaning in that verse is that Barak was to “lead captive him who held you captive.” That understanding would clarify Ps. 68: 18 as well as this verse in Ephesians.

Again, Isaiah 14:2 says, “And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.”

 Jesus triumphed over him who had the power of death up to that time,  that He might deliver those “who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage:” (Heb. 2:15).  Satan, our greatest enemy, is now a conquered foe.  He has been led captive by Jesus Christ.  Satan has no power over the souls of those who have trusted Jesus Christ by grace through faith. He has been defeated, and Jesus Christ has taken His place on  His throne in heaven.  From there, He gives gifts to His church for its edification and blessing.