Hosea 1:10 NASB
Yet… the number of the sons of Israel
Will be like the sand of the sea,
Which cannot be measured or numbered (cannot be counted);
And in the place Where it is said to them,
“You are not My people,”
It will be said to them,
“You are the sons of the living God.”
Is this correct?
Recently God said to call the child Lo-Ammi
“You are not My people and I will not be your God!”
Wasn’t this the end of the relationship?
You would think it was over after such clear words.
And then now, just a few verses later we read this wonderful, surprising, and paradoxical “yet …”.
▪︎ Yet the children of Israel will become such a great nation that it cannot be counted as the sand of the sea.
▪︎ Yet it will be said to Lo-Ammi (not my people): You are children of the living God!
It seems as though God has regretted what He has said, immediately after He has uttered his threatening words, and that He now is again passionately pressing the child, that He just pushed away from Him, to His chest
No, those are false assumptions, unworthy of God.
His yes is yes and His no is no. God cannot say yes and no at the same time.
What He says remains fixed.
There must have been some people under Hosea’s hearing who first shuddered at that terrible message: “You are no more My people”, but who at this turn of the sermon, thought to themselves, “Oh, thankfully, that will not happen”.
People with such a thought pattern are still here today. They’ve always been here, and they may always stay there.
They believe that God is incapable of being angry with us because He is love.
The Lord is so good that He will eventually forgive us for everything.
They want God’s promises to apply to themselves, and I myself have heard overconfident “believers” claiming blessings.
Everyone can realize that it doesn’t work this way!
So we feel that this cannot be the intention of this “yet …”.
But what then?
This seems problematic, for it is not clear that this word contradicts what preceded it.
▪︎ There was rejection, and here is election.
▪︎ There was threat, and here is promise.
What is the truth?
▪︎ The threat or the promise?
▪︎ What should we adhere to?
▪︎ What will be fulfilled?
▪︎ Will Israel be God’s people or not?
Both statements are equally absolute: “I will not be your God!”
But also “The children of Israel will be like the sand of the sea!”
One seems to cancel out the other.
And if so, both cannot possibly be true.
Then what is true? The first or the last? Or neither? Or maybe both?
I have already made it clear to you, that I am not going with those who want to put one “truth” against another, and then prefer to stay on the safe side of the promise.
But neither can I agree with those who believe that the threat, contained in “Lo-Ammi,” in “not my people,” was not absolute. They then judge that the judgment that Israel will no longer be called God’s people will apply “only for a time”, especially for the time of the captivity, and that “Israel in wrath will remember mercy”) .
In this way others also line up to say beautiful things about the “yet”, or “however” of divine love.
But this too does not provide a solution!
The seemingly contradictory words cannot be washed away by all the water of the sea, and it is therefore not so strange when people come to the wrong conclusion that we do not have to take it so seriously with God’s threats; if we at least take it, that the persons to whom the “yet…” followed with the promise is said, are the same as those who were once doomed to no longer be God’s people.
But, they are not the same.
Paul applies the promise directly to the Gentiles. So not on Israel. That remains Lo-Ammi (not My people). But of the Gentiles he declares:
Romans 9: 23-26 NASB
And He did so, to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea, “I will call those who were not My people,” My people, “And her who was not beloved,” beloved.
And it shall be, that in the place where it was said to them, “you are not My people,” there they shall be called “sons of the living God.”
And Peter thinks exactly the same way, as he says of those called out of darkness:
1 Peter 2: 9-10 NASB
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
So there is no contradiction.
With this New Testament light we no longer have to ask: what is true, the threat or the promise, for they are both true!
▪︎ The threat is true, because the ten-tribe kingdom has gone into exile.
▪︎ The promise is equally true, for when the children of the kingdom have been cast out, God calls His own, from East and West to sit at the table.
Now that Abraham’s fleshly children have become Lo-Ammi, “not My people”, He knows how to raise up children of Abraham from the pagans.
Herein is the love that overcomes.
Because love cannot be without a loved one!
And above the disappearing people, the love of God triumphantly cries out, looking upon an other, a spiritual Israel: “One day the children of Israel will be as many as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or counted.”
As a newly grafted branch on the old trunk, we, the Gentile nations, may now become part of the people of God.
Romans 11: 1-2, 11-12, 17-21
¹I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. ²God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.
¹¹I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. ¹²Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!
¹⁷But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, ¹⁸do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. ¹⁹You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” ²⁰Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; ²¹for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.
So we should actually not say that we, who have come out of the Gentiles, are the new spiritual Israel, and that we have come in the place of Israel, but that we supplement the holy rest.
With this, God did not shorten His faithfulness to Abraham, but on the contrary, He fulfilled His promise.
Abraham was promised a seed “like the sand of the sea”.
At the judgment of God’s wrathful love: Lo-Ammi (not My people), someone might have thought: But my God, where is now Your faithfulness, where is Your honor?
But God Himself takes care of that … someday the (spiritual) children of Israel will be as numerous as the sand of the sea! Love triumphs!
In this “yet” of the divine promise, we cannot possibly see a point of light for the hearers of Hosea himself.
Besides that, there are never points of light in God’s word for carnal people.
Only for those who repent and follow Jesus, and become part of the people of God, there is light.
On the contrary, this “Yet the number of the sons of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered” is so sharp and bright that we would hardly expect it with Hosea.
It is as if Hosea says to the people: God will make sure that He has children at all times, even in large crowds, but you, averse children, will not belong to it!
The party will continue, but the partygoers will be others, because the invitees were not worth it. In spite of you who refuse the invitation and refuse to come, the wedding hall will still be filled, and the children will be as numerous as the sand of the sea.
I will draw them out from the East and the West, from all nations and tongues and peoples!
And they will come from east and west
and from north and south,
and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God.
However! It’s quite something to be passed over like that.
Especially if one feels passed as quickly as the Israel of those days, where people were delusional, that only they are the “chosen” ones!
So don’t be afraid of empty places in Zion’s rooms.
Perhaps you are afraid of that, and it fills you with care
▪︎ that there are so many people who wander away,
▪︎ or be tempted to follow a gospel that is not the true Gospel,
▪︎ or for those who are trying to follow all the rules meticulously, but still have not undergone any real renewal.
God is not telling us not to worry about that, and just let them walk. But He promises us that He will provide substitution, and the empty places will be occupied … by others, who will accept the invitation, who will follow Him, and who will serve Him.
This gives joy and sadness
▪︎ Joy for the others who are added.
▪︎ Sadness for those who will not attend the party.
It is a very oppressive thought, that at some point the number of the elect will be full, but you or I would not be there.
This is how you should read it. Very personal!
For far too long, many souls have been entangled in false teachings, and false peace has been cultivated by the thought that we are now sinners, and that we will remain sinners until our death, but that there is “happiness in the end”, which means that everything will turn out alright in the end: the happy end of the drama!
But it is not like that!
And it is not so in Scripture!
To be a part of this celebration you must wear the wedding garment, you must undergo a radical change, you must have repented, and you must be born again.
How wonderful to know
▪︎ that He makes lost sinners, children of the living God.
▪︎ that He turns lost sinners into new people,
▪︎ that He gives lost sinners with a stone heart, a new heart.
Those new people testify to the great changes, He has brought to their lives, and contradict in a clear tone, in word and deed, that a person is and remains a human after all!
They clearly demonstrate, in word and walk, that a person can become a completely different person.
This is not done by your own strength. It comes about through the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, and through the miracle of conversion and rebirth.
It is not the love we have for God, but the love that God has for us.
The love that wins!
Love, which also overcomes the desire to sin!
Love, which finds a heart full of hatred in us, but now declares: Yet … I will give you a new heart that loves Me, and keeps My commandments.
Has this love already emerged triumphantly in you?
That is all what really matters!
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