And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali. (Hosea 2:16)

This is interesting, and the meaning of it is quite lovely. Ishi means "my husband," and Baali is connected with Baal and means "my lord or my master." You see, the people of Israel were placing the true God on the level of Baal and were trying to worship both. Of course, it is impossible to do that, and God says to them that the day is coming when Israel will call Him, "my husband."

Now let's think about this for a moment. The husband relationship implies that which is intimate and personal and is based on love. It is the highest relationship in the human family. The loveliest expression of it is found in the Song of Solomon where the bride says, "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine..." (Song 6:3).

When you have that relationship in a marriage, you have a happy home. You won't have to attend seminars that instruct you on how to live as man and wife. The secret is love; when you don't have that, you don't have anything. But if you have love, you have everything. You can work out your financial problems; you can adjust your personality conflicts; you can work together in dealing with your children if you love each other. However, if you don't love each other, you can't work out anything.

My friend, it is wonderful to have that kind of relationship with God. We can go to the Lord Jesus and say, "I love You. I belong to You." When that kind of relationship exists, Paul says, "...For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's" (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). Can you call Christ yours? Do you belong to Him, and does He belong to you? If He does, then you have something good going. There is no relationship equal to that. And one day Israel will say to God, "You are my husband."

"And shalt call me no more Baali." As we have seen, Baali is connected with the hideous idol Baal, and means "my lord" — that is all it means. Remember that the Lord Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:21-23). Oh, my friend, the all-important thing is a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ — it is not to mouth platitudes about His being your Lord and claim to be doing great things for Him. It narrows down to the thing He said to Simon Peter by the Sea of Galilee, "Lovest thou me?" Do you love Him?

—From Edited Messages on Hosea by Dr. J. Vernon McGee