Read Hosea 2
2 “Say of your brothers, ‘My people,’ and of your sisters, ‘My loved one.’
Israel Punished and Restored
2 “Rebuke your mother, rebuke her,
for she is not my wife,
and I am not her husband.
Let her remove the adulterous look from her face
and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts.
3 Otherwise I will strip her naked
and make her as bare as on the day she was born;
I will make her like a desert,
turn her into a parched land,
and slay her with thirst.
4 I will not show my love to her children,
because they are the children of adultery.
5 Their mother has been unfaithful
and has conceived them in disgrace.
She said, ‘I will go after my lovers,
who give me my food and my water,
my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.’
6 Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
7 She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.’
8 She has not acknowledged that I was the one
who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
which they used for Baal.
9 “Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens,
and my new wine when it is ready.
I will take back my wool and my linen,
intended to cover her naked body.
10 So now I will expose her lewdness
before the eyes of her lovers;
no one will take her out of my hands.
11 I will stop all her celebrations:
her yearly festivals, her New Moons,
her Sabbath days—all her appointed festivals.
12 I will ruin her vines and her fig trees,
which she said were her pay from her lovers;
I will make them a thicket,
and wild animals will devour them.
13 I will punish her for the days
she burned incense to the Baals;
she decked herself with rings and jewelry,
and went after her lovers,
but me she forgot,”
declares the Lord.
14 “Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.
15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
16 “In that day,” declares the Lord,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master.’
17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
no longer will their names be invoked.
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them
with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
and the creatures that move along the ground.
Bow and sword and battle
I will abolish from the land,
so that all may lie down in safety.
19 I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
20 I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the Lord.
21 “In that day I will respond,”
declares the Lord—
“I will respond to the skies,
and they will respond to the earth;
22 and the earth will respond to the grain,
the new wine and the olive oil,
and they will respond to Jezreel.
23 I will plant her for myself in the land;
I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’
I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’;
and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”
Like the relationship between Hosea and Gomer, God compares Israel to an unfaithful wife. Hosea is wronged and wounded by Gomer’s pursuit of other lovers. The Israelites left behind their covenant relationship with God and turned toward idols. They took the gifts God had given them and used them to worship Baal. The start of this chapter describes the judgment an unfaithful wife receives because of the pain and brokenness she caused.
Without warning, the tone of the chapter changes. In verse 14, the Lord begins to explain the purpose behind the punishment Israel is receiving. Through reminding Israel of what He has done for them, He is drawing His people back to Himself. Because of God’s love, His covenant with them remains despite their unfaithfulness. 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us that love is patient, it keeps no record of wrongs, and it always perseveres. In God’s love, He demonstrates this patience and perseverance by having mercy on His people. This is not because they had already turned back to God. They did not beg Him for forgiveness. They did not acknowledge the covenant they had broken or express a desire to change their ways. This chapter gives us a picture of God’s faithfulness to Israel, and reminds us that He loves us in the same way.
God’s judgment and discipline always leads to restoration. He loves His people in a way that invites them back into a relationship with Him. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Although Israel turned away from God and did not recognize His provision for them (v. 8) and used the very gifts they received from God to worship an idol, God continued to restore them to Himself. In the same way, God sees us in our idolatry and our choice to continually turn away from Him and loves us anyway. Verse 19 says, “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” Knowing we are sinners, God still holds us close. May we respond to His faithfulness by directing our worship to the only One who is truly worthy.
- What gifts from God are you prone to turning into idols?
- Where have you seen God’s faithfulness to bring you or someone you know back into a relationship with Him?
- How can you spend time today redirecting your focus and your worship back to God? Maybe that is by spending time in silence to meditate on God’s Word, through prayer, or through spending time worshiping through song.
This article from GotQuestions.org helps shed some light on Israel’s constant return to worshiping the idol Baal. Just like Gomer was drawn into adultery by her own self-serving desires, Israel is pulled away from God again and again.
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