"And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali."
In this chapter the Lord is talking about us using the analogy of God as the faithful husband and his people as an adulterous wife. The wife gets bored and decides to leave the marriage because she remembers other men who used to give her food and expensive things... and then, after leaving, she realizes that things aren't as good as she expected them to be with her new-found freedom, and that things were much better with her husband. She goes back, and although for a while her husband is angry, he still loves her and eventually takes her back. In this verse, "Ishi" means husband, and "Baali" means master. I think that the change here is indicative of a change that we probably all need to undergo at some point in our relationship with God. In the story, the woman needed to learn that her husband wasn't trying to control her; he was trying to take care of her... and she didn't realize how good she had it until she left that situation. A similar thing happens to us sometimes. We often look at God as a restrictive, oppressive force... keeping us back from truly enjoying ourselves or getting what we want. Doing as God asks rubs us the wrong way, and we want to rebel... escape... get away from this horrible taskmaster who is burdening our lives with such pointless rules. ... And then, as in the story, we might leave and run after those things that we used to have or think that we want... some situation that is better than this oppression and control. And we keep looking, and it is never there, and we realize that our lives were so much better with God. That we've made a mess of things, and we want to go back. But it's hard, after storming away like that... after feeling that way about someone, or telling everyone mean things about him. Takes some humility, and we're very, very afraid of rejection... after rejecting him in the first place. And we start realizing that none of God's laws or requirements are about control or oppression at all. We realize that He loves us and he wants to protect us from the bad things, and all the rules are to keep us safe and to help us become so much better. ... and then, as in the story and in this verse, we stop thinking of God as a master or a tyrant, and we see how deeply and consistently he loves us, and how much he continues to give, for us. Today, let's examine our resentments against God, and try to see past them, so that we don't make the mistake of looking elsewhere for something that is right in front of us, waiting for us to see it.