Removing Shame

Today was a good day to come back to the activities of home. I actually got quite a bit of work done outside and one of Debbie’s co-workers is going to be painting our house and she was by to do some of the prep work. We are looking forward to this next week and the return to our “normal” activities.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… But the number of the Israelites will become like the grains of sand of the sea, which no one can measure or count. They were called, ‘You are not my people,’ but later they will be called ‘children of the living God.’  The people of Judah and Israel will join together again and will choose one leader for themselves.” Hosea 1:10,11

The Book of Hosea presents a unique way the Lord chooses to communicate His message to Israel. Instead of the Prophet Hosea just proclaiming the message with words, Hosea is called to “live out” Israel’s relationship with the Lord.

This happens by the Lord telling Hosea to marry a prostitute by the name of Gomer. This is because that is the way the Lord felt in his relationship with Israel. They were to belong to Him, and Him alone. But Israel constantly ran after other gods.

As Hosea and Gomer had children, the names of the children reflected God’s view of His people. The first was  named Jezreel. This was related to God’s judgment on the family of Israel’s King Jehu. (2 Kings 12) Jehu was a military general chosen the the prophet Elijah as King. He killed by family of Ahab and killed Jezebel and many of the priests and worshipers of Baal. But his children who reigned after him were evil and did not follow the Lord. Jezreel had been a place of slaughter under Jehu and his family, now it would become a place of judgement on them.

The next children born to Gomer were Lo-Ruhamah (meaning “not pitied”) and Lo-Ammi (meaning “not my people”) The was telling Israel that they would no longer be pitied and they would no longer be considered His children.

But God was not finished with Israel. We see a turn from judgment to promise. From rejection to reconciliation. Once again the Lord promises Israel will be as “numerous as the grains of sand of the sea.” Just as the Lord had used similar words in His promise to Abraham so many generations ago, now that promise is being restored.

Then we see this remarkable promise that Judah and Israel one day would be reunited with one leader. The nation that was divided and fought each other over the generations would one day be “one” again. One nation, one people, one leader.

This would be tantamount to the United States becoming part of England once again. This would be like two churches which resulted from a nasty “split” decades in the past is now rejoined as one church. This reveals God’s heart and plan and purpose in bringing unity where division has been. It reveals God’s heart in giving a new name and a new destiny to those who did not have hope and who suffered shame.

I recall of hearing stories of children who were called a derogatory name by a parent and how that formed an identity and self-image that lingered throughout their life. That was until they came to accept a new identity and a new destiny that was found in Christ.

We see this imagery of a new name in the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The nations will see your righteousness. World leaders will be blinded by your glory. And you will be given a new name by the LORD’s own mouth.”                (Isa. 62:2 NLT)

We also see it in the Book of Revelation this promise to the faithful believers in the Church of Philadelphia, “I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.” (Rev. 3;12 NIV)

 I am thankful the Lord is not in the “disposal” business, but the “redemption” business. He doesn’t give up or discard. Instead, He renews, transforms and re-purposes our lives in a way the reveals His forgiveness, mercy and power. We may have “soiled” our life, but He is able to give a clean, fresh start. There may be shame attached to our identity or actions, but the Lord is able to say, “no longer rejected, but people of the living God.” There may be alienation and discord, but the Lord is able to reunite. He does it all for “His name sake.”