What’s in a Name?

Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord said to Hosea, ‘Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to Israel, that I should at all forgive them.

After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son. Then the Lord said, ‘Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God.   ‭Hosea‬ ‭1‬:‭6, 8-9‬ (NIV)

The book of Hosea records incidents in the life of Hosea and his marriage to Gomer.  The book records in stark detail how Hosea was faithful to his wife in the face of her unfaithfulness.  At one level it is the story of human fickleness in relationships and how to win back a spouse who has been unfaithful.   At a deeper level it records the faithfulness of God in the face of his peoples’s unfaithfulness.

When Gomer gave birth, the names chosen for their children were highly charged and significant.   We are all interested in what our names mean and in ancient times the name chosen for a child often sought to represent who the child was or was to become.  For Hosea and Gomer’s second and third children the names must have hung heavy on them.  Imagine being called ‘not loved’, or ‘not my people’.

Hosea and Gomer’s choice of names may seem highly inappropriate to us, yet they were chosen to be constant reminders of God’s desire to have a covenant relationship with his people.

Looking forward in Hosea we read in chapter 2:23 –

I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called “Not my loved one”. I will say to those called “Not my people”, “You are my people”; and they will say, “You are my God.” 

Hosea found himself in a relationship that was characterised by unfaithfulness, forgiveness and reconciliation.  The book speaks of God’s faithfulness, his forgiveness and how he longs to be reconciled to us.  The offer is there, what is your response?

Every blessing


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