When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, "Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD."
So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
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.'
The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be reunited, and they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.
"Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts.
Otherwise I will strip her naked and make her as bare as on the day she was born; I will make her like a desert, turn her into a parched land, and slay her with thirst.
I will not show my love to her children, because they are the children of adultery.
Their mother has been unfaithful and has conceived them in disgrace. She said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.'
Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.'
She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold-- which they used for Baal.
"Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her nakedness.
So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers; no one will take her out of my hands.
I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days--all her appointed feasts.
I will ruin her vines and her fig trees, which she said were her pay from her lovers; I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them.
I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot," declares the LORD.
"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
"In that day," declares the LORD, "you will call me 'my husband'; you will no longer call me 'my master. '
I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked.
In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety.
I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.
I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD.
"In that day I will respond," declares the LORD-- "I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth;
and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and oil, and they will respond to Jezreel.
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.' "
I speak the truth in Christ--I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit--
I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race,
the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.
Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.
Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."
In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.
For this was how the promise was stated: "At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son."
Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac.
Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad--in order that God's purpose in election might stand:
not by works but by him who calls--she was told, "The older will serve the younger."
Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all!
For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."
Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?"
But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' "
Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath--prepared for destruction?
What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory--
even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
As he says in Hosea: "I will call them 'my people' who are not my people; and I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one,"
and, "It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.' "
Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.
For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality."
It is just as Isaiah said previously: "Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah."
What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith;
but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it.
Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone."
As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."