Hubby and I were driving home from Brisbane one day when he asked if I could read out loud to him the book of Hosea in the Old Testament from the Bible. I haven’t really spent much time in this section before and I was really blown away by something.
So many people think that God is a bit of a pushover. They may not use those words exactly, but they sum Him up something like this:
“God would never send anyone to hell, he is not mean.”
“God only has love in Him so He wouldn’t harm.”
“God can’t be real cause there is so much hurt in the world…wouldn’t He just fix everything?”
“I can just do the wrong thing (sin) and ask for forgiveness, then do it again, then ask for forgiveness – He is a forgiving God after all! Easy.”
Hmmmm….this is not the same God of the Bible, especially the one in the book of Hosea! First of all, let us get one thing straight. The book of Hosea says the following about God:
- Hosea 1-3 He is a sovereign God
- Hosea 4-7 He is a holy God
- Hosea 8-10 He is a just God
- Hosea 11-14 He is a loving God
He most certainly is, without a doubt, all those things and more goodness! He is LOVE after all.
He is also a jealous God, one who likened Israel (His people) to that of a prostitute who had run away from her loving and doting husband Hosea (who represents God). God is so disappointed and angry that after all this time, after freeing Israel from the clutches of Egypt and doing many miracles for her, Israel would still turn her back on Him and look to other gods and idol worship. Forgetting Him. God had basically had enough and it was time to let Israel know the consequences of turning her back on God.
”I have been the Lord your God ever since I brought you out of Egypt. You must acknowledge no God but me, for there is no other savior. I took care of you in the wilderness, in that dry and thirsty land. But when you had eaten and were satisfied, you became proud and forgot me. So now I will attack you like a lion, like a leopard that lurks along the road. Like a bear whose cubs have been taken away, I will tear out your heart. I will devour you like a hungry lioness and mangle you like a wild animal. You are about to be destroyed, O Israel— yes, by me, your only helper. Now where is your king? Let him save you! Where are all the leaders of the land, the king and the officials you demanded of me? In my anger I gave you kings, and in my fury I took them away.’ – Hosea 13: 4-11
Yikes, I would not want to be in the bad books with God….the word that comes to mind is fear. He is mighty and powerful and patient….but continually turning your back on Him may cause Him to get your attention at some stage. You can only be ignorant of Him for so long.
‘I want to heal Israel, but its sins are too great. Samaria is filled with liars. Thieves are on the inside and bandits on the outside! Its people don’t realize that I am watching them. Their sinful deeds are all around them, and I see them all.’ – Hosea 7:1-2
So why does God feel this way towards Israel? Let’s see a part of the reason…..
‘O Israel and Judah, what should I do with you?” asks the Lord. “For your love vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight. I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces— to slaughter you with my words, with judgments as inescapable as light. I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings. But like Adam, you broke my covenant and betrayed my trust. “Gilead is a city of sinners, tracked with footprints of blood. Priests form bands of robbers, waiting in ambush for their victims. They murder travellers along the road to Shechem and practice every kind of sin. Yes, I have seen something horrible in Ephraim and Israel: My people are defiled by prostituting themselves with other gods!” Hosea 6:4-10
So, what of Hosea’s prostituting wife and unfaithful Israel?
Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them. – Hosea 3:1
Shame Hitler didn’t understand God’s relationship with Israel, one of the many reasons given for the holocaust was because Hitlers twisted mind originally thought he was doing God a favour by wiping out His people, the Jews. Very messed up. Hitler wanted the Jews annihilated as he believed that God had finished with them (antisemitism
‘Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go? How can I destroy you like Admah or demolish you like Zeboiim? My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows. No, I will not unleash my fierce anger. I will not completely destroy Israel, for I am God and not a mere mortal. I am the Holy One living among you, and I will not come to destroy. For someday the people will follow me. I, the Lord, will roar like a lion. And when I roar, my people will return trembling from the west. Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt. Trembling like doves, they will return from Assyria. And I will bring them home again,” says the Lord.’ – Hosea 11:8-11
‘Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sins have brought you down. Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord. Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises. Assyria cannot save us, nor can our warhorses. Never again will we say to the idols we have made, ‘You are our gods.’ No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy.”
The Lord says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon. My people will again live under my shade. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.
“O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.’ – Hosea 14: 4-9
My goodness, there is so much to write about! I urge you to read Hosea, the whole lot, even if you do not believe in Him. It is not very long and you will be glad that you did. It gives a bit more of an understanding of God’s character.