In a previous post, we discussed the life of Gomer. Gomer was a prostitute who became the wife of the faithful prophet Hosea. Hosea and Gomer had three children together: a boy named Jezreel, a girl named Lo-Ruhamah, and another boy called Lo-Ammi. The book of Hosea gives a fuller narration of what took place between Hosea and Gomer and how God used their story (in particular, Gomer’s unfaithfulness and the names of their children) to send messages regarding judgment and restoration to the people of Israel. The daughter, Lo-Ruhamah, is mentioned twice in Hosea’s book. Hosea 1:6 reads:
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.
And Hosea 1:8 reads:
After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son.
Gomer probably lacked natural love for her daughter. After all, she abandoned her family and returned to her old ways of promiscuity and immorality, before Hosea went searching for her and brought her back. However, Lo-Ruhamah was loved by her father. And we can be certain that she was loved by God, just as all of us are loved by God.
1. Lo-Ruhamah was NOT not loved. Although it was God’s idea to name Hosea and Gomer’s daughter Lo-Ruhamah, a name which means “not loved,” this does not mean that God did not love her. At the time, the people of Israel were in disobedience against God, and God was constantly coming up with new ways through His prophets to get His repent-and-be-restored-or-you-will-be-judged message across to them. This time, He used the names of Hosea and Gomer’s children to do just that. Both Lo-Ruhamah and her two brothers had names with rather negative meanings. Jezreel means “God sows,” signifying that God would sow punishment on His disobedient people. Lo-Ruhamah means “not loved,” signifying that God would no longer show love and forgiveness to Israel. Lo-Ammi means “not my people,” signifying Israel would no longer be God’s people and He would no longer by Israel’s God.
Lo-Ruhamah the name meant not loved, but Lo-Ruhamah the girl was very much loved by the one who created her. Besides her name and its meaning, we do not know anything else about Lo-Ruhamah’s life. We don’t know what she grew up to be, but it is possible that she was impacted by the faithfulness of her father more than she was impacted by the unfaithfulness of her mother. And as a result, came to faith in God and came to know and experience His deep love for her.
2. We are not Lo-Ruhamahs to God. The entire purpose of the story of Lo-Ruhamah’s parents is to give us a picture of the immense love God has for His people and for us, in spite of our faults and failures. No matter what we have done and no matter how far we have wandered away from Him, we are never NOT not loved by God. No, God does not love our sin. He does not approve of the things we do wrong. Our imperfect behavior, however, has no effect on God’s mercy toward us. Our bad cannot negate His goodness. Our unfaithfulness and our faithlessness does not diminish His faithfulness.
God loves us in spite of ourselves. He loves us so much that He cannot be content with us as we are. His love demands to change us.
God loves us freely and deeply. God’s love is the greatest delight, the brightest sunshine, and the most joyous song.
God’s love is so strong and so pure that it effortlessly encompasses dirty, hurting, broken people like me and you and Lo-Ruhamah’s momma, Gomer. Heidi Baker said, “God’s love is big enough to touch any life, to make light out of any darkness. Jesus came that we might have life, so that no more would we have to die in depression, anger or pain. He loved people back to life. He would go anywhere, talk to anyone. And wherever He went, He would stop for the one– the forgotten one, the one who was rejected, outcast, sick, even stone dead. Even a thief who was dying for his crimes on the cross next to Him. In the Kingdom of God’s love there is no sinner who cannot come home.”