Names

Jon Brown

READ : Hosea 2:14-23

I will have pity on Lo-ruhamah. (v. 23)

Do you remember this playground rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”? I am not a kid anymore, nor have I uttered that rhyme in quite some time. In thinking about it now, I am pretty sure it is wrong. Names can hurt; they hurt because they mean something. Names are more than simply labels; they are stories in letter, intentions in a word. God told Hosea to name his first daughter Lo-ruhamah and his second son Lo-ammi. Lo-ruhama means “I will not have pity” (1:6), and Lo-ammi means “I will not be your God” (1:9). What unfortunate names! Those names were also announcements of what would happen should the people of God continue in their idolatrous ways.

Yet despite these names, God did show mercy. “I will have pity on Lo-ruhama, and I will say to Lo-ammi, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God’” (v. 23). Among the things so glorious about our God is that his work in us and through us is not defined by the names we are given.

His grace is stronger even than our waywardness. Ask Peter. He could have been called “uneducated” and even “unfaithful.” But such names did not define God’s good plans for him.

PRAYER

Thank you, Lord, that your work in us and through us is not confined by our shortcomings.