The LORD is Longsuffering and Waiting to Forgive (Hosea 8-14)

Scripture Reading – Hosea 8-14

Hosea, the first of the minor prophets, was called by God to preach to the northern ten tribes known as Israel, and to call the people to turn from their wicked, idolatrous ways and repent.

Desiring to give Israel, not only a warning of His judgment, but also an illustration of His love and longsuffering, the LORD commanded Hosea to take a wife named Gomer (1:2). Gomer gave birth to three children (1:4-9), but then broke her marriage covenant with Hosea committing adultery, and finally becoming a prostitute (3:1).

To illustrate His unending love for Israel, the LORD commanded Hosea to go and find his wife. When the prophet found her, she was being sold as a slave. In spite of her unfaithfulness and the shame she had brought into his life, Hosea purchased Gomer, and lovingly restored her as his wife (3:3).

Such was the love God had for Israel. Though that nation had committed spiritual whoredom by worshipping idols, the LORD never stopped yearning for His people to repent from their backslidings. Even as the clouds of judgment were manifested in the approach of Assyria, the LORD said, “I would have healed Israel” (7:1).

Hosea 8-10 records God’s warnings of judgment against Israel, “because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law” (8:1).

Hosea defined the principle of “sowing to sin and reaping its consequences” warning, they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” (8:7a; 10:12-13).

Like the religious hypocrites they were, the people of Israel had continued a pretense of religion in offering sacrifices; however, Hosea prophesied, “Israel hath forgotten his Maker” (8:14) and “gone a whoring from [her] God” (9:1).

God’s condemnation of Ephraim (another name for Israel), continues in Hosea 9 when the prophet warned the nation would soon fall to Assyria and be led away as slaves, even as they had been in Egypt (9:3).

How had Israel fallen so far from the LORD? Were there no leaders who would call the people from the precipice of God’s judgment?

No! Israel’s leaders had failed the nation. Hosea observed, “The prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad” (9:7).

The nation of Israel had broken its covenant with the Lord. The people had disobeyed His Commandments, rejected His mercy, and refused His grace. Finally, the LORD divorced His people saying, “I hated them: for their wickedness…I will love them no more…their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit” (9:15-16).

The imminent judgment of God against the nation and its spiritual state is summed up, “Israel is an empty vine” (10:1a).

Hosea 14 concludes with the LORD calling Israel to return from her backslidings (14:1).

The LORD’s love for His people had not failed. He longed to forgive them of their sins.  He promised, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him” (14:4).

I close being reminded of the stunning portrait of God’s grace, love, and forgiveness.

Remember how the LORD commanded Hosea to find his adulterous spouse and take her back as his wife (Hosea 3)? Hosea found his wife in a slave market. Her physical beauty wasted, her soul broken, and her place in life reduced to prostitution. Her value to men so negligible that Hosea purchased her for fifteen pieces of silver and some barley (3:3), half the price of a common slave. In an act of loving grace and forgiveness, Hosea took her not only into his house, but more importantly…into his heart (3:3b).

Lesson – Regardless of how far you might have strayed from the LORD, or the shame you have heaped upon His name, God loves you, and He longs for you to repent and return to Him.

1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith