My people are bent on turning away from me, and though they call out to the Most High, he shall not raise them up at all. (11:7, ESV)
Israel stands guilty. Not only are they turning from the Lord, but as the ESV translates it, they are “bent on turning away” from the Lord—and they pay the price.
It is, I think, fairly safe to assume that some time passes between verses 7 and 8. Like a good Father, God has allowed Israel to suffer the consequences of their sin. However, it hurts the heart of God to see his children suffer. God has a change of heart and compassion wells up that, despite the fact that they deserve it, Israel is not destroyed.
Although their nature will not change, Israel will continue to rebel against God. One day, “He will roar like a lion. [And] when he roars, his children will come trembling…” (11:10, NIV) I love this picture, because we can all relate.
I remember a time when things escalated between my sister and I to the point that we were about to throw-down. Boom, boom, boom—they weren’t so much footsteps from upstairs as crushing stomps, footfalls bringing our doom. My mom didn’t make it down the steps before she roared and the trembling began. Imagine the day when the roar comes from the Lord, whose wrath is infinitely more than Momma J.
God does not pass over sin forever. In his gracious forbearance (a word you should look up, use, and apply in your own relationships), God passed over sin until his wrath could be poured out (Romans 3:25). Christ received God’s wrath for the Israelites in Hosea’s day, and for you and me. One day, God’s voice will boom and all of his children will come trembling, but through Christ, we need not fear God’s wrath.
In the comments, what has God been teaching you through the book of Hosea? How will this study change you this Christmas season?
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate