“Hosea Announces Israel’s Punishment“ and “The Lord’s Judgement against Israel“
These are the headers over the chapters that I get to write about from Hosea. Everything in me wants to soar past these hard chapters and get to the ‘main point’ because I know how the story ends.
Isn’t that our temptation in life? Speed past the ‘bad parts’ and get to the good stuff please.
I recently had a friend ask me why God was so mean in the Old Testament. She was disturbed by passages like Hosea 9 and 10 that seem to be so unloving.
I talked to another friend who shared that she felt like there wasn’t enough room for her doubts and struggles within the local church. There was no space to deal with the hard stuff. I think that the book of Hosea gives us space to doubt, wrestle, and ask questions.
“’The people of Israel are struck down. Their roots are dried up, and they will bear no more fruit. And if they give birth, I will slaughter their beloved children.’My God will reject the people of Israel because they will not listen or obey. They will be wanderers, homeless among the nations.” Hosea 9:16-17
Israel, the people of God, have been charged with what some theologians call ‘spiritual adultery’ – they cheated on God. If you’re familiar with the Old Testament, you understand that God has a covenant with Israel that cannot be broken. They are deeply tied together and there can be no other idol or god worshipped. The Israelites messed up and started serving and worshipping idols when they didn’t get their way.
I remember in my younger years reading stories about the Israelites and thinking about how dumb they were. And then I grew up. I realized that I am often the same way. God doesn’t do what I want Him to do and so I throw a temper tantrum. I think that mentality will deeply distort how we view these passages.
Do me a favor? Take a deep breathe. Really – do it!
Now lean in to these words:
He. Is. God.
He sets the standard. He makes the rules. He is also good. His ways are beyond our ways. His thoughts are above our thoughts.
This truth helps my mind wrap around the reality that our righteous King can be an ‘angry God.’ He is holy and cannot stand the sight of sin. So of course He’s gonna pop off when folks break covenants with Him. That’s why we need(ed) Jesus!
We, all of humanity, kept screwing things up and we needed saving. Jesus took all that wrath and anger on Himself so that you and I can live in grace.
That’s not just good theology, that’s a life-giving truth!
And remember how Hosea started? God has Hosea, the prophet, marry a harlot! God is getting His point across to the Israelites. Essentially, He is saying “…you are the harlot but I’m coming for you, coming to claim you as His own and take you back.”
Just writing those words brings tears to my eyes.
Friends, we are often the harlot. Turning our eyes to everything but our Creator God and He keeps coming for us.
“Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that He may come and shower righteousness upon you.“ Hosea 10:12
My translation of that verse: It’s time to get it together! After listing their grievances, God gives them another chance. This is an invitation to repentance and transformation.
My prayer for you today is that you would lean into these truths and not wait. Turn your back on other idols, throw your arms open, and run back to the God who is coming after you.