And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.
During Hosea’s life time, the term Baal referred to false gods that the Israelites were worshiping. These false gods were typically hand made slabs of metal that represented something the people wanted. They saw the people groups around them worshiping these gods, so then desired to do the same. It’s like they didn’t want to be left out.
They had what was better. They had the one true God, but they still wanted what everyone else had.
I wonder how much we exemplify that in our own lives.
In the last post we discussed how even as Jesus knew we would be unfaithful to Him, He pursued us. As a picture of God’s love for His people, God commanded Hosea to marry a woman he knew would be unfaithful, showing us that He is willing to go to immeasurable lengths for a people He loves.
Here, God tells Hosea that not only will he relentlessly pursue these people, but He will relentlessly protect his people by removing the desire for false gods. He does the same thing for us today. By removing the satisfaction that our slabs of fake gods brings us, God protects us from what he knows will destroy us. Again, He keeps His end of the promise when we neglect ours.
1. He will remove our impure desires
In verse 17, God promises, “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more.” Through entering the covenant relationship with God, He will take our focus off of the false gods surrounding us. He will fix our desire on His love alone.
2 Corinthians 5:17 states that in Christ we are a completely new creation. The old is gone! So often I think we like to see it as if we are only given a bandaid. For just a little while, we see Him. But then the old things become enticing. Enticing enough that we might turn away from His love and begin seeking love from this world once again. Friends, He promises that He will rebuild us! He will recreate us. He will rewire us to no longer speak the names of other gods. We will only see Him because He has been the only one who can ever satisfy.
Will we still be tempted? Yes. Will we potentially struggle with the desire to go back to our old ways? Yes. Will we ever see those things the same again? No. That is what He is promising. Once we have tasted His love for the first time, we can never find that same love through another created thing. Our desire switches from an impure craving for temporary to a deep longing for content joy that only He can provide.
2. He will be our protection
In verses 18-20 He states, “And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.”
As a little girl I always wanted a big brother. I wanted a big brother because I saw him as someone who would be protective over me. He wouldn’t allow bad things to happen to be and always intervene on my behalf. Once I got older and realized that boys didn’t have cooties, I began looking for the protective qualities in the man I would marry.
I have recently come to realize that a human being, no matter how genuinely protective, a human being’s protection can only go so far. The man I will marry can only protect me as far as he can protect himself. But Jesus’s protection is eternal, and it protrudes far beyond this earth.
The most striking thing about this verse to me is the phrase, “I will make you lie down in safety.” He knows that my inclination is to chase things that are harmful to me. Like the Israelites, I often look away from him and to something that everyone else is doing. But He makes me lie down in safety. He holds on to me and makes find safety in Him.
Once I come to realize the beauty of God’s protection, I can truly see my God for who He is. He removes the desire for false satisfaction from my life. He makes me lie down in safety even when that is not my inclination. He is eternal. He can change our heart. He does not compare to any other created thing or any concept we could come up with. He is so different than anything else in this world can or will offer.