At times, God asked His prophets to do some pretty strange stuff. This was certainly true for Hosea.
Hos. 1:4-10 Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. In that day I will break Israel’s bow in the Valley of Jezreel.” Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer show love to the house of Israel, that I should at all forgive them. Yet I will show love to the house of Judah; and I will save them—not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but by the LORD their God.” After she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, Gomer had another son. Then the LORD said, “Call him Lo-ammi, for you are not my people, and I am not your God. Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’
Usually parents select very special names for their newborn babies. Parents put a lot of thought into it, and in Hosea’s day when a parent picked a name they believed they were picking a word that would define their child’s character and destiny. And God asked Hosea to use his own life, the names of his own children, as a living message of God’s heart for His own people.
God told Hosea to name his firstborn “Jezreel” – a name literally meaning “castaway.” It was a name of shame in Israel and a sign of the consequences Israel would suffer for their unfaithfulness to God. God then told Hosea to name his second child (a daughter) “Lo- Ruhammah” which means “not loved.” Imagine a man naming his baby girl, “I don’t love you!” But God asked Hosea to give her this name as a public declaration that soon God wasn’t going to extend favor to His unfaithful people any longer. Finally God told Hosea to name his third child (another boy) “Lo- Ammi” or “not my people.” So Hosea named the baby of his family – “Not Mine!”as a public symbol that God was just about done protecting Israel from the full brunt of the consequences for their consistent sin. Each baby name served as a public declaration to Israel that tragic consequences were just over the horizon.
But there’s a vitally important word at the very beginning of Hosea 1: 10. It’s the word yet. In spite the fact that God was about to pull back and no longer protect His people from the full consequences of their sin (it was gong to feel like God had cast them away, and didn’t love them anymore) God would remain committed to His crazy, relentless love for Israel. God would, in the end, still carry out all of His promises to His people and remain ultimately good to them after their season of discipline. God’s love would never, ever quit!
It’s nuts to even think this could be possible, but the truth is – God commits Himself to keep on loving us even when He knows it will hurt. God’s love is this alien form of relentless love which remains committed past the point of being hurt by our disloyalty. He never quits loving, and always works for that moment when the person He loves will turn home and run back to His embrace.