Scripture reading – Hosea 11
We are nearing the conclusion of our study of the prophecies of Hosea, and I am reminded of the prophet’s experience with his adulterous wife (Hosea 1-3). The betrayal and heartache he suffered had impassioned his plea for Israel to return to the LORD.
The LORD’s Unfailing Love for Israel (11:1-4)
The LORD reminded Hosea how He delivered Israel out of bondage, declaring, “I loved him [Israel], and called my son [the Twelve Tribes] out of Egypt” (11:1). Yet, Israel betrayed the LORD, and offered sacrifices to Baal, and “burned incense to graven images” (11:2).
The LORD described His love for Israel in the terms of a father’s affections for a son. He had taken up Ephraim in His arms (11:3). With the cords and “bands of love,” He guided and fed Israel (11:4).
The LORD Disciplined Israel (11:5-7)
Because Israel refused to repent (11:5), the LORD promised He would send Assyria to discipline the nation (11:5). Though the people made a pretense of calling on the LORD (11:7), they were backslidden (11:7), and none sincerely worshipped Him.
The LORD’s Dilemma (11:8-9)
With a broken heart, the LORD made a passionate plea for His people, saying, “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel?” (11:8a). He loved the people, but Israel did not love Him. He recalled how He had judged Admah and Zeboim, two cities in the plain that were destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah (11:8; Genesis 14:2; Deuteronomy 29:22), and confessed, “Mine heart is turned within me, My repentings are kindled together” (11:8).
He had destroyed other nations for the same wickedness, but the LORD would not forget His covenant with Israel (11:9). He would judge Israel for her sins; however, He would not annihilate His people (11:9).
The LORD’s Promise to Restore Israel (11:10-12)
The balance of Hosea 11 is a declaration from the LORD that He will restore His people to their land. He would roar like a lion, and the people will return to Him “from the west” [perhaps Europe] with fear and trembling (11:10). They would come back like “a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria” (11:11a). The LORD promised He would restore His people and “place them in their houses” (11:11b).
Closing thoughts – We are reminded once again that the LORD is both just and longsuffering. The lies and deceit of Ephraim (Hosea 11:12), and the rambling and wandering ways of Judah demanded God’s judgment, and yet God waited for His people to repent.
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith