Hosea 11: God's
loving Anguish for Israel
so often happens in prophetic scripture, when there are powerful
warnings of impending destructive judgment, there are also signs
of God's compassionate and enduring heart that will not be put
off by ongoing sin. So here we see in a most remarkable chapter
the Lord expressing His yearning for this nation that He has brought
into being and blessed and with which He has persevered and, acknowledging
that He is going to have to bring judgment on them [v.6], that
will not be the end of the story – He WILL bring some of them
back from captivity, we WILL see restoration, they will come back
to the land. This we see coming about both under Hezekiah and
later after the exile in Babylon.]
The Lord recollects how it had been when He saved Israel from
Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
Yet over time, more and more they turned to foreign idols
the more they were called,
the more they went away from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals
and they burned incense to images.
I raised them as a nation but they didn't realise my blessings
was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the arms;
but they did not realise
it was I who healed them.
I cared for them, was there for them, provided for them
led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
a little child to the cheek,
and I bent down to feed them.
But at this rate Egypt will rule over them again, or even Assyria
they not return to Egypt
and will not Assyria rule over them
because they refuse to repent?
If an invader comes he will destroy their false prophets
sword will flash in their cities;
it will devour their false prophets
and put an end to their plans.
Despite their words, they turn away from me
people are determined to turn from me.
Even though they call me God Most High,
I will by no means exalt them.
How can I destroy you like other cities that were utterly destroyed?
can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah? [destroyed
with Sodom & Gomorrah – Deut 29:23]
How can I make you like Zeboyim? [ditto]
I am a God of mercy and comopassion
heart is changed within me;
all my compassion is aroused.
will not carry out my fierce anger,
nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man –
the Holy One among you.
I will not come against their cities.
If need be, I'll roar like a lion and scare them back…
will follow the Lord;
he will roar like a lion.
When he roars,
his children will come trembling from
… so they'll come home from Egypt and Assyria
will come from Egypt,
trembling like sparrows,
from Assyria, fluttering like doves.
I will settle them in their homes,'
declares the Lord.
The trouble is they have become deceitful liars, even Judah falls
has surrounded me with lies,
Israel with deceit.
And Judah is unruly against God,
even against the faithful Holy One.
to Chapter 12