God wants reconciliation with His people
In part two of our look into the Book of Hosea, God expresses His anger with His people Israel. I find these verses interesting, and wonder if we can learn from Israel’s mistakes. Hosea will use the common Biblical analogy of God being the husband, and His people His bride. God warns her. “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.” (Hosea 2: 2) For her part, Israel tries to justify her behavior. “She said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me food and my water, and my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.” Are we satisfied with those things that meet our physical needs? When things are going well, do we tend to forget the source of all things? Do we forget how temporary this all is?
Let me share a quote with you. Unfortunately, I forgot the source. “God gives to man the trees of the forest and the iron in the ground. He gives man the brain to make an axe and nails from the iron, and the energy to cut down the tree, the skill to fashion the wood into beams. God gives man the cleverness to make a handle from the wood, and head from the iron, and combine it into an effective hammer. Then man takes the beam, the nail and the hammer, and he nails God to the cross—where God willingly stretched out His arms, dying on the cross to take the guilt and penalty man’s sin deserved, and to make a new, restored relationship between God and man possible.”
Hosea continues to present God’s case against His ‘wife’. “…There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgement of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery…” (Hosea 4: 1-2) Hosea point to the lack of knowledge among the people. Are we drifting from God’s Word? By rejecting God’s Word, the people were turning to idol worship. Hosea uses the analogy of prostitution. In the Book of Psalms we read, “they defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves.” (Psalms 106: 39)
In chapter four, Hosea continues to lay out the sins of the people against God. Let me encourage you to make a careful reading of this chapter. There is one verse I would like to single out. Verse 16 reads, “The Israelites are stubborn, like a stubborn heifer. How then can the Lord pasture them like lambs in a meadow?” This verse would have been easily understood in Hosea’s time, but maybe not so much today. A heifer (cow) can be pastured pretty safely as they were not typically a target for predators. Sheep on the other hand were pretty easy targets. Are we ‘stubborn heifers’, feeling like we can take care of ourselves without God? Hosea put it quite well, if you’re going to act like a stubborn cow, don’t expect to be protected like an obedient sheep.
In spite of it all, God does not want a ‘divorce’. He wants reconciliation. In the end, God “will say to those called ‘Not My people’, ‘you are My people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’” (Hosea 2: 23) In the New Testament, this promise is extended to all God’s people. “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (I Peter 2: 10)