The conflict between love and judgement was solved by the coming of Jesus Christ.
As typically happens, God’s message to the people of Israel is a message for all believers. In chapter 11 of Hosea, Hosea, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, points out that God called Israel out of Egypt, and when the idolatry of the Baal’s called to Israel they followed. How often do we put earthly things on a high level? In verse three, we are reminded that God does so much for His people, much of which we don’t even know. Hosea records the Word of God, “I led them with cords of human kindness, and ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.” (Hosea 11: 4) ‘Cord of human kindness’; this is the relationship God wants. He wants to lead us not by force of coercion, but with love and human kindness. God ‘bends down’ to meet our needs. What a beautiful picture of God’s love. “The Lord your God who is going before you, will fight for you, as He did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” (Deuteronomy 1: 30-31)
The next few verses are important as God puts in human terms the conflict between His love and His judgement. It’s the same problem Paul mentions in Romans 3: 25-26. The conflict between love and judgement that was solved by the coming of Jesus Christ. God’s discipline is needed here, but God takes no delight in it. God mentions “…how can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim?…(vs. 8). These two cities shared the same fate as Sodom and Gomorrah. (see Deuteronomy 29: 23) God will not completely destroy Israel, and when the time is right God will restore the nation.
“Ephraim feeds on the wind…” (vs. 12: 1) which means the idols and foreign nations Israel is turning to are worthless. Instead of depending on the Lord, they are making treaties with Assyria and Egypt. “…he (Ephraim) pursues the east wind…” (vs. 12: 1). The east winds were more than just emptiness, they were disastrous. They came in off the desert and would parch the earth. “You destroy them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind.” (Psalms 48: 7) “The east wind carries him off, and he is gone…” (Job 27: 21)
In verses 12: 2-6, we see a comparison to Jacob. “In the womb he grasped his brother’s heels…” (vs. 3) Remember the story of Jacob and Esau. “He (Jacob) struggled with the angel and overcame him..’ (vs. 4) How do we overcome God? We prevail when we lose and know it and surrender to God. “…he (Jacob) wept and begged for His (God’s) favor…” In the New Testament, John refers to believers as “overcomers”. (I John 5: 4-5, Revelations 2: 11, 2: 26, etc.) Just as Jacob came to his senses and realized his dependency on God, so must the nation of Israel. “But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.” (vs. 12: 6) Continuing in chapter 12, we are reminded that when things are going well, people begin to lose their focus on what is important. “Ephraim (Israel) boasts, ‘I am very rich; I have become wealthy. With all my wealth they will not find in me and iniquity or sin’” (vs. 8) We might put it, ‘the end justifies the means.’ “…his Lord will leave upon him (Israel) the guilt of his bloodshed…” (vs. 14) Israel will have only itself to blame. Remember at Jesus’ trial, the people welcomed the blame for the crucifixion. “All the people answered, ‘let His blood be on us and on our children.’” (Matthew 27: 25)
Next blog, Hosea, part 8
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Dan is a graduate of Otterbein College (now University). He graduated with a degree in education. From time to time Dan still substitute teaches. His interest in history led him to investigate the historical accuracy of the Bible. This, in turn, led to a full investigation of Apologetics.