Even with maturity, we may struggle in knowing just how to approach God.
In chapter 13, Hosea begins by pointing out that the people of Israel have forsaken the one true God, and were practicing the religions of their pagan neighbors. This included Baal worship, making idols, human sacrifice, and “kiss the calf”. (‘Kiss the calf’ refers to the practice of showing homage to idols. “Yet I (God) reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” (I Kings 19: 18)) “Now they sin more and more…” (13: 2) We should take note how sin feeds upon itself. When we sin and don’t seek forgiveness, the sin grows and grows. Hosea tells the people that it is they who have changed, not God. The God that brought them out of Egypt is the same God they were now ignoring. “When I (God) fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot Me.” (Hosea 13: 6) They only turned to God when things were going poorly. It’s a hard lesson for us to realize that the very blessings we receive from God can become a time not to praise Him, but to ignore Him.
Now Hosea speaks of the coming of the Lord’s wrath against Israel. He likens it to a ‘women in child birth’. The wrath of God will come quickly and when it is least expected. Hosea writes, “…when the time arrives, he (the child) does not come to the opening of the womb.” (13: 13) When a baby is due to be born, but is not positioned correctly, it presents a danger to both mother and child. Yes, Israel has sinned, and will face God’s wrath. God is angry with Israel, and rightly so, but notice verse 14. The sin of Israel is great, but not greater than God’s ability to redeem.
Hosea concludes his book with a call for repentance. “Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the Lord…” (Hosea 14: 1-2) ‘Take words with you’: These are God’s terms. We need to repent. God, through Hosea, teaches us how to do that, how to pray just as Jesus did when He taught us the Lord’s Prayer. We know that at the moment of conversion, we all don’t become prayer warriors. Even with maturity, we may struggle in knowing just how to approach God. “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” (Romans 8: 26-27)
God will forgive, not because they deserve it, but because that’s who God is. He will restore to them Growth, Beauty, Strength, Value, Delight. What an awesome God we have. God tells us, “…your fruitfulness comes from Me.” (14: 8) We will find fruit to nourish our souls which can only come from God. God than asks the rhetorical question, “Who is wise?” “…the ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them…” (14: 9) The wise person sees the message Hosea is delivering and knows that God is offering a wonderful opportunity for repentance. It would be foolish to ignore.
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.