Because of rampant immorality, violence, lies, and all sorts of idolatry, both Israel and Judah will fall as their rebellions continue. Hosea’s reference to God’s Story is a reminder that the Israelites came from a heritage that knew and loved the Lord. Then Hosea mentioned Jacob. Yes, he wrestled with the angel and won. He wept and pleaded for a blessing from him. There at Bethel he met God face to face, and God spoke to him—the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the Lord is his name! So now, come back to your God. Act with love and justice, and always depend on him.
I wrestle every day – my will or God’s will? We again need to hear what Hosea clearly said: “Come back to your God!” May our hearts beat for the things that God is for: justice, mercy, love, and humility. God, we need to depend on You. And when we do have deep dependency on You, You empower us not to give in to immorality, violence, cheating and other vices that tempt us. Help us not to fall for substitutions but to find our satisfaction in You. God, we plead for Your blessing. Amen.
Hosea 12:4-6 NLT
Hosea’s ministry lasted over sixty years as God’s people lived in and out of faithfulness. National leaders were not strong for the Lord, and even the priests did not faithfully follow Him or teach others to do so. God said through Hosea, “My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children.” God said that the destruction that was taking place was related to His people not knowing Him. Knowing God changes everything.
Geographically speaking, China is closer to the land that Jesus walked than America is yet when we arrived in China in 1996, the number of people I met who had never even heard of Him was phenomenal. News of Jesus reached those in China in the seventh century, so why didn’t more Chinese people, centuries later, know Him? The basic answer is the sad truth for all of mankind: we turn from our Creator to worship creation instead. We choose to refuse to know God.
It is natural to pass on good news about someone we really know and love. If our children and their children after them don’t hear about the greatness of our God from us, maybe it is because we do not think God is that great. If we all knew and loved God and really lived out that love in the way we treated people, would there still be a need for missionaries to go to China or to the US? If we really know God, we will want to make Him known. If I really love God, and God and I have a great relationship, how can that not come out in conversations with my children, my friends, and even strangers? We may or may not be priests, but we can certainly heed the message that Hosea sought to make clear during his lifetime. For our own sake and for the sake of our children, I pray we do not get all caught up in “life” and forget God who blesses us with breath.
Hosea 4:6 NLT
Hosea’s ministry spanned the reigns of four of Judah’s kings and began during the reign of Israel’s ninth king, Jeroboam. At various times the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and the Southern Kingdom of Judah would repent and God would faithfully forgive His people and even delivered them from their enemies. Sadly, Judah and Israel were bent on worshiping stone carvings and wooden poles. God’s people became like an adulterous wife, betraying the One who loved them. Hosea knew all too well what an unfaithful wife was like; he was married to one, and like God, he mercifully extended hope.
Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days. It had been years since David was alive, but he was known as a man who was after God’s own heart and I think Hosea wanted to stir that deep level of commitment within God’s un-committed people. The word-picture of a nation trembling back to God and to the blessing He gives is interesting. It reminds me of the advice Paul gave many years later about working out our salvation with fear and trembling. What frightens us? A healthy realization of our sin should bring about fear and mourning. When we take our sin to God in Christ with repentance, we receive forgiveness, and real comfort and blessing from God can return. God does not want for us to continue in estranged arrangements, but to live wholly connected to Him. He is our faithful Example.
Hosea 3:5 NIV