Hosea 1:10-2:1 “Mercy is shown.”
Despite the extent of the judgment on the northern kingdom, the fact is some were spared, taken into exile, and it is often in exile that the LORD’s true children are ready to hear. So even though Judah was a remnant compared to the northern kingdom, and the exile community in comparison to the larger whole, nevertheless this remnant would still fulfill the Abrahamic promise of a number “as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered” (v. 10a Cf. Gen. 22:17; 32:12; Jer. 33:22; Ezek. 34:23; 37:15-28).* It would be in exile in a foreign land that the covenant promise would find fulfillment-that they would be His people and He their God-“sons of the living God (v. 10b [Rom. 9:26]; Jn. 1:12). Also at this time, the remnant of Judah would be joined with that of Israel with one head (v. 11 Cf. Is. 11:11-13; Jer. 3:18; 50:4), and instead of ‘Not-My-people’ they would say to each other ‘My people.’ All this would be based on the only reason possible for those who have transgressed-“Mercy is shown” (2:1 Cf. Is. 63:16; I Pet. 2:10).
* Paul made abundantly clear in his explanation of covenant lawsuit and renewal in Romans 9:25-26, that not all Israel who were externally in the covenant, were in reality God’s people. He did this by quoting Hosea 2:23 and 1:10, so that those who were once His people, external members of the covenant community, were not His people, but those who were true sons and daughters, even among the nations, were His true people of the covenant. Furthermore, Paul saw the connection here being in the remnant motif, that within the external covenant community there was “a remnant according to the election of grace (Rom. 11:5).