by Marlin Hotle
“In that day – this is the Lord’s declaration – you will call me ‘my husband,’ and no longer call me, ‘my Baal.” – Hosea 4:16 (CEV)
In the book of Hosea, God is calling His people out of idolatry and back into a sincere relationship with Him. In chapter 4:1-2, He describes the dismal state of affairs among the Israelites. They were unfaithful in every way: lying, stealing, murder, committing adultery, etc…
But in verse 16 the Lord expresses His desire to treat those who would turn back to Him as a loving husband would treat a wife.
God promises those who return will call Him “my husband” and no longer “my Baal.” Because the word Baal is often used to represent the heathen gods, we can easily miss the beautiful message here. The word “Baal” usually means “master” and conveys the element of ownership. On the other hand, the word here translated as husband (isi) literally means “my man” conveying the type of loving possession we find in an intimate relationship, such as marriage. Do you see the beauty of it? God says His people will call Him “my man” (husband) and not “my master” (Baal).
You see, Christianity is about more than serving God. It is about intimacy, about loving Him and being loved by Him. Yes, God desires us as His’ possession. But He does not want to possess us as a man possesses a house or a car. He wants to intimately possess us as a man clings to and possesses the wife that he loves.
He wants us to be His by choice and He longs to provide for and protect us. Too often we live beneath our privileges. We begrudgingly serve Him as our master and miss the joy and benefits that come with lovingly serving Him as our spouse.