Brief thoughts on Hosea 2:23-Names

Brief thoughts on Hosea 2:23-Names

ירחמו Pitied

האנשים שלי My people
In my devotions this morning, one of the texts I read was Hosea 
2:14-23. The last verse, 23, in particular lept out at me. It 
reminded me of the importance of names. Indeed, the prophet 
Hosea, who was active in the eight century BCE, employs the 
names of people to symbolize the relationship between God and 
Israel. The name Hosea in Hebrew means salvation. This prophet 
then was a proclaimer of God’s message of salvation for God’s 
people.
   Like most of the Israelite prophets, God called them to 
proclaim messages of warning and judgement as well as promise 
and hope. The prophets most likely did not win any popularity 
contests! 
   During the time that Hosea was active as a prophet, the 
Israelites were highly attracted to the Canaanite gods and the 
worship rituals associated with them—which were, of course in 
violation of the First Commandment, and other Commandments 
as well. 
   Another temptation amongst the leaders of the Israelites was 
to form alliances with the Assyrians and Egyptians, for military 
protection and security. However, God was not pleased with such 
political and military alliances. Rather, God sees such alliances as 
a lack of faith/trust in him. 
   Hosea in chapter two, verse twenty-three speaks a prophetic 
word of promise and hope for the Israelites in the future. The 
name of Hosea’s child Lo-ruhamah, which means “not pitied,” will 
be changed to “I will have pity.” In other words, Israel’s suffering 
and judgement due to their unfaithfulness to God and God’s 
covenant will be reversed. God’s grace and mercy shall prevail in 
a renewed covenant relationship with God and God’s people. The 
name change of this child is a living symbol then of God’s grace, 
mercy and lovingkindness. 
   The same is true in the case of the child named Lo-ammi, 
which means “Not my people.” Lo-ammi shall be given the name 
“You are my people” as a living symbol of God’s renewed 
covenant relationship with the Israelites. 
   Names are extremely important. What is your name? What 
does it mean for you as you live your life? What might your name 
mean in relationship with God and with other people? Does your 
name reveal the grace, mercy and lovingkindness that God 
desires for everyone? Hopefully it will be a sign, a symbol of 
God’s presence and blessing in your life as well as in the lives 
of others. 

 

Thoughts on forgiveness

Thoughts on forgiveness

Forgiveness is at the heart and core of Christianity. When asked if there were limits to the number of times a person should forgive, Jesus replied: “seventy times seven,” which is not to be taken literally—rather, it is a figure of speech meaning that forgiveness has no limits. Jesus was the perfect exemplar of forgiveness too, while dying on the cross, he prayed for his enemies-those who crucified him: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking on forgiveness understood Christ’s teaching, when he stated: “Forgiveness is not an occasional act it is a permanent attitude.”

 

In Jewish tradition, forgiveness is also emphasised, especially during the ten-day period from the start of Rosh-ha-shana to the end of Yom Kippur, known as Aseret Y’mai Teshuva, the Ten Days of Repentance. However, the four-step process of repentance applies throughout the year: i) Regret: Realise the extent of the damage and feel sincere regret. ii) Cessation: Immediately stop the harmful action. iii) Confession: Articulate the mistake and ask for forgiveness. iv) Resolution: Make a firm commitment not to repeat it in the future.

 

In addition to the significance of forgiveness in the Judeo-Christian tradition, scientific studies have found that forgiveness is good for our health. According to Professor Kathleen A. Lawler-Row, studies have shown that more forgiving people have lower blood pressures. They are less aroused during stress. They recover off thinking about this experience more quickly. When we look at surveys samples and a variety of measures of health, fatigue, sleep, physical symptoms, number of medications, in every case the more forgiving the person, the better their health.

 

Some identify two basic stages of forgiveness: i) The letting go of the negative aspect as you think about the other person and how you feel. ii) The positive wishing the other person well, which may even involve at times compassion for the offender or seeing them in a more complex light than merely the perpetrator of the offense.

 

It’s also interesting to see that people seem to get a little more forgiving with about every decade in life. With college students, starting at eighteen, there’s certainly a wide range of forgiveness. But with each decade the average level of forgiveness goes up. People get a little bit more and a little bit more forgiving, regardless of personality. They just seem to be a little more ready to forgive the other person with age. Thank the LORD for the gift of forgiveness!