Theme of the Week: Hosea
Bible Verse: “…for I am God and not a mere mortal. I am the Holy One living among you, and I will not come to destroy.” Hosea 11:9
Scripture Reading: Hosea 11:1-11
Images of tenderness that reveal the merciful and compassionate nature of God saturate this passage, which also laments the habitual waywardness of God’s chosen people.
Hosea’s God is like a parent leading a child out of oppressive circumstances (11:1), coddling and healing them as they grow (11:3). God leads with “cords of human kindness,” and is like a sweet person who lifts “infants to their cheeks,” nurtures, and provides for them (11:4). Even when the people forsake God, “my compassion grows warm and tender” (11:8).
God, it turns out, can’t bear to write people off. Even though “my people are bent on turning away from me” (11:7), he is reluctant to abandon or consign them to a cruel fate. “How can I give you up?” he asks. “How can I hand you over?” (11:8). He refuses, in this instance, to exercise his rightful wrath.
Meanwhile, however, the chosen people seem willing to chase and embrace any god but the One who showers them with such affection. Like rebelling adolescents, the people of Israel in the time of Hosea turned away from the God of their fathers and were enamored with idols and many other forms of misguided worship.
In this passage, God is like a caring parent who detests the conduct of the rebelling child, yet cannot bring himself to confront the issue with the full force of the law; who yearns to allow the badly behaved to escape the consequences of their folly. He withholds his wrath. In due course, he promises they will be returned to their homes (11:11).
This level of compassion, of willingness to forgive and restore the repentant, is a key element of the nature of God. “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Psalm 103:8). Depend on it.
Prayer: O God, how often I chase shiny objects of fleeting pleasures and ignore wise words of divine counsel in the conduct of my life. Forgive me, I pray. Help me to shun evil companions and subdue dark passions, and receive me, as I know you will, in your loving embrace. Amen.
These writings were previously published in theStory by Scripture Union. Used with permission.
Copyright © 2022 Impactus | Promise Keepers Canada. All rights reserved.