Remember me

One thing that is clear about God is he has feelings just like we do. The type of things that upset us, also upset God and cause him to act in ways that we can relate to. God’s anger toward his people was justified in that they had intentionally turned their backs on him after he had blessed them and shown them undeserved favor. Everything God did for the Israelites, he did out of love and compassion for them and he did not punish them until it was evident that his people had rejected him completely.

In the book of Hosea, the children of Israel are portrayed as an adulteress who looked to other gods, and loved to get drunk on wine (Hosea 3:1). In spite of their infidelity, God promised to restore the nation of Israel and to unite the divided kingdoms into one. God’s love for the children of Israel was like that of a jealous husband because his emotions were involved in the relationship. God had a strong emotional attachment to his people (160) and wanted to remain in fellowship with them, even though they did not feel the same way about him (Hosea 3:1).

In his explanation to Ezekiel of the destruction of Judah, God revealed his personal anguish over the situation (Ezekiel 6:9). Once again, he promised to leave a remnant that would one day acknowledge him as Jehovah, the Jewish national name of God. He said, “Yet will I save a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries. And they that escape shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart which hath departed from me and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations” (Ezekiel 6:8-9).

The Hebrew word translated remember in Ezekiel 6:9 is properly translated as “to mark (so as to be recognized)” (2142) and is suggesting that God’s people would stand out among the other people of the nations in which they would be living in exile. God intended for his people to be different in that they were not to worship idols, nor were they to practice witchcraft or the occult. The idea that God’s people would remember him among the nations where they were taken captive was about the continued worshipping of God without a temple in which to do it. Only those who truly loved God would be able to maintain their relationship with him. Over time, it would be evident who really believed in God and who didn’t.

Repentance (Step 3)

Mourning is a necessary part of the process of repentance. Until you’ve had your heart broken and have been crushed under the weight of your circumstances, you can’t fully appreciate the blessings of the LORD. Often times, a traumatic experience serves as a painful reminder of the past that we would like to leave behind. At some point, we will be ready to let go and the pain will begin to subside as hope is restored and we are able to remember there was good along with the bad that we experienced.

Lamentations 3:19-20 shows us that remembering our times of distress has a purpose, to make us humble. It says, “Remember my afflictions and my misery, the wormwood and the gall, my soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.” The Hebrew word translated humbled, shuwach (shoo´ – akh) means to sink (7743). Shuwach is also translated as bow down as in to show reverence or respect to someone. I think the best way to express this is to fall down in worship or to sink to one’s knees in prayer.

After you have expressed godly sorrow, and restored your relationship with the LORD, you will start to remember the good things he has done for you. Sometimes it takes an intentional effort to see the good within the bad, but it is there if you want to find it. It says in Lamentations 3:21-23:

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’s  mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

To be consumed means that something is completed or finished, “with nothing else expected or intended” (8552). This kind of attitude can cause us to give up and think there is not point in going on.

In Lamentations 3:22 it says, “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” Essentially, what this is saying is that God is without end, therefore he cannot stop loving us. His love for us continues without any end to it. What we need to realize, and will if we truly repent, is that God has not left us, we have left him. God is faithful, completely reliable, because “that which He once said He has maintained” (530). He does everything he says he’s going to, even the bad, as well as the good.

It may seem like taking matters into our own hands is going to work out well, but in the long run, only God can accomplish that which is necessary for our salvation. His plan is perfect and will yield the best result. It says in Lamentations 3:25-26, ” The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” Understanding that God’s timing is not the same as our timing is essential for repentance to be effective. As  we wait for the LORD we see that he is still working and will not let us move on until we’re ready according to his standard, which is perfection.


The prophet Hosea’s relationship with his wife provided a real life example of what God went through to redeem his people. God commanded Hosea, “Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who took to other gods, and love flagons of wine” (Hosea 3:1). The word used to describe the love Hosea was to show his wife was ’âhêb (aw – habe´), which meant to love “in the sense of having a strong emotional attachment to and desire either to possess or be in the presence of the object” (157).

The kind of love Hosea was to have for his wife was similar to what we think of today as being in love with someone. It was supposed to involve making love and having a romantic desire for her. It was clear that those kinds of feelings would not be natural for Hosea, and therefore, God’s command to love his wife made it a matter of obedience to the LORD that caused Hosea to act appropriately toward his wife, not his own feelings.

The challenge for Hosea was that his wife had been sold into slavery and had to be purchased for more money than Hosea had available. It says of the transaction in Hosea 3:2, “So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for a homer of barley, and a half homer of barley.” Hosea spent all the money he had and also gave up necessary food for his family in order to obtain his wife’s freedom. If his wife had been loving and faithful to him, the transaction might have made sense, but Hosea’s wife was an adulteress that was probably married another man and had been sold to pay his debt.

The reference to Hosea’s wife as a harlot (Hosea 3:3) indicated that Gomer had become a prostitute. In that case, the purchase price Hosea paid could have been the amount owed on her contract for sexual service. Typically, slaves, even sexual slaves, could be redeemed by a family member for a set price. The total value of the silver and barley Hosea paid for Gomer was likely 30 shekels, the redemption value of a woman (note on Hosea 3:2, Leviticus 27:4). In essence, what Hosea was doing was buying back Gomer’s spiritual life, so that she was no longer obligated to server her “true” master, the devil.

The goal of Hosea’s redemption of his wife was to restore their relationship. If Hosea had merely brought his wife back into his house and not resumed their sexual activity, Gomer would have continued to be a slave rather than a wife to Hosea. She was not just a possession, but a member of the family, the mother of Hosea’s children. No doubt, Gomer felt shame after she returned to her home. Like Israel, it says in Hosea 4:19, “The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.”

An eternal kingdom

One thing that is evident about empires that have existed on the earth is that they have all been temporary. Although some have survived for hundreds of years, none have been permanent. The kingdom God promised to David’s descendants was to be an eternal kingdom. It says of David’s son in 2 Samuel 7:13, “He shall build a house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.”

At first, this promise seemed to apply to king Solomon, but after his death, it became apparent that God would not be able to establish an eternal kingdom with a human king. The concept of a Messiah formulated over time and was clarified in Isaiah’s prophesy about Israel’s return to the Promised Land after their captivity. As a sign of God’s faithfulness, Isaiah stated, “Behold, a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son , and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

Isaiah spoke plainly about God’s judgment, but assured the people that God intended to keep his promise to establish an eternal kingdom on earth. It says in Isaiah 9:6-7:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to stablish it with judgment and justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

The timing of Israel’s captivity was important because the Assyrian empire that existed from 916 – 612 B.C. was the first empire comparable to Rome in organization. The Assyrian policy under king Tiglath-pileser was to reduce the whole civilized world into a single empire. God used the king of Assyria to execute judgment on Israel because Isaiah declared “every one is a hypocrite and an evildoer” (Isaiah 9:17).

In spite of God’s indignation toward his people, he didn’t want to destroy them completely. Isaiah indicated that a remnant would be saved and “The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God” (Isaiah 10:21). The use of the Messianic title “The mighty God” made it clear that God’s plan would be carried out as a result of the people returning to the Promised Land.

In one sense, Assyrian captivity was preparation for survival under the Roman government. When Isaiah said about the Messiah, “the government shall be upon his shoulder” (Isaiah 9:6), he was referring to the burden of foreign rule. Even though the Assyrian empire self-destructed in 612 B.C., other empires would rise and fall, and God’s people were intended to survive them all.

Begin with the end in mind

Before David became king, he and the prophet Samuel collaborated on the design of the temple that would one day be built in Jerusalem. The temple is often referred to as Solomon’s Temple. Solomon was the son of David that succeeded him as king and was responsible for building the temple. It was a magnificent structure that is thought by some Bible scholars to resemble the throne room of God in Heaven.

Along with the plans for building the structure, David established certain offices to enable the temple to function effectively. One of the offices David established was the porter or gatekeeper. It says in 1 Chronicles 9:22, “All these which were chosen to be porters in the gates were two hundred and twelve. These were reckoned by their genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain in their set offices.”

I believe the reason David established that critical offices would be reckoned to certain families and ordained as a permanent office was to ensure that the temple and its service could be reestablished if the temple was destroyed. Solomon’s Temple was destroyed when king Nebuchadnezzar invaded Israel and deported its inhabitants to Babylon.

The porters were sentries that guarded the gate against attack and therefore, would be the first to be killed if the city were invaded. The men that were assigned to the office of porter cast lots to determine which gate they were assigned to (1 Chronicles 26:13). Some gates were more or less desirable due to the likelihood that an attack would be targeted for that location.

To ordain someone into a set office means that you establish a fixed position for him (530). The word translated set, ’emûnâh (em – oo – naw´) is related to the word ’amân (aw – man´) which means to believe or be faithful (539). Aman is the word used in Genesis 15:6 where it says that Abraham “believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” The link between the two words is permanence. Abraham had a belief that endured in spite of his circumstances and the porter had a position that had to be maintained in spite of any imminent threats or the destruction of the city.

There were four chief porters who “were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God” (1 Chronicles 9:26). These men were most likely killed when Nebuchadnezzar invaded Israel because it says in 2 Chronicles 36:7 that “Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the LORD to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon.” If the chief porters lost their lives in line of duty, then they had the assurance that “the LORD repays the one who demonstrates that he does what God demands” (530).

The Israelites’ captivity was predicted long before the temple was built (Deuteronomy 28:41) and it was known that the people would return also (Deuteronomy 30:3), so David’s plans were made with that in mind. Given that he assigned men to positions that would likely result in death, David had to rely on Samuel for guidance in how to assure that the office of porter would not be left vacant.

In the arrangement for porters, it is noted that one man, Shemaiah had sons that were mighty men of valour. They were able men for strength for the service and they outnumbered the other porters’ families by more than 3 to 1 (1 Chronicles 26:8). It is not clear whether Shemaiah’s descendants were in the population that returned to Jerusalem after the exile. It is possible they were all killed by Nebuchadnezzar’s army and therefore, gave their lives so that others might survive and one day repopulate the city.