Hosea 2:16-23

Thought I'd go back to the Hosea thread I started awhile back! Take a look at the following passage and see what you think?!

(16) "It will come about in that day," declares the LORD,
"That you will call Me Ishi
And will no longer call Me Baali.
(17) "For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth,
So that they will be mentioned by their names no more.
(18) "In that day I will also make a covenant for them
With the beasts of the field,
The birds of the sky
And the creeping things of the ground.
And I will abolish the bow, the sword and war from the land,
And will make them lie down in safety.
(19) "I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice,
In lovingkindness and in compassion,
(20) And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.
Then you will know the LORD.

(21) "It will come about in that day that I will respond," declares the LORD.
"I will respond to the heavens, and they will respond to the earth,
(22) And the earth will respond to the grain, to the new wine and to the oil,
And they will respond to Jezreel.
(23) "I will sow her for Myself in the land.
I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion,
And I will say to those who were not My people,
'You are My people!'
And they will say, ' You are my God!' "

More word play in this poetry. "Ishi" is "husband" and "Baali" is "master" in verse 16. "Baals" is also "master" in verse 17. Scripture sometimes uses a master-servant relationship to describe the relationship between God and humanity. But here in the wordplay, it is clear that God prefers the husband-wife metaphor with the negation in v. 16 and the extolling of the marriage relationship metaphor in vv. 19-20.

A master-servant relationship is mostly obligation and some elements of fear. In the marriage metaphor, love and freedom are the dominant dimensions.

The poetry then goes into two cycles:
1) a picture of nature and peace in v. 18
2) the husband-wife analogy in vv. 19-20.
1') the blessings in the natural world, vv. 21-22
2') the joy of restored relationship in v. 23.

God is the perfect blend of love and justice. Unfortunately, many people have a picture of God as only the fire and brimstone angry God. Or they have a picture of God as indifferent. I wish these folks would have the chance to read this part of the Bible because we see here a God of love and seeking relationship with us. The whole Christmas message is God seeking us and coming to us in an unexpected way.