When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called My son. The more they were called,
the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. Hosea 11:1-3
and I became to them as one Who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them. Hosea 11:4b
How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; My compassion grows warm and tender. Hosea 11:8
Admah and Zeboiim are cities like Sodom and Gomorrah…all destroyed by God for the abandonment of the covenant He made with His children. Moses reviewed the covenant, impressing upon the Israelites the relationship they have with their God and why keeping these is vital to life itself.
…the whole land burned out with brimstone and salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger and wrath—all the nations will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land? What caused the heat of this great anger?’ Then people will say, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt, and went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they had not known and whom He had not allotted to them. Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, bringing upon it all the curses written in this book, and the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger and fury and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as they are this day.” Deuteronomy 29:23-28
In Hosea 11, God makes promises to His children:
…they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt,
and like doves from the land of Assyria,
and I will return them to their homes, declares the LORD. Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit,
but Judah still walks with God and is faithful to the Holy One. Hosea 11:9-12 (starting in the photo of the lion to the words “Holy One.”)
These are promises of what God will NOT do to His people as well as promises that He will fulfill. God so loves His people no matter how, where, why they wander.
“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.” Isaiah 49:15-16
Is Ephraim My dear son?
Is he My darling child?
For as often as I speak against him,
I do remember him still.
Therefore my heart yearns for him;
I will surely have mercy on him,
declares the LORD. Jeremiah 31:20
This small book of Hosea is so rich with God’s love and so prevalent are the sins of man.
Father God, I pray that I will walk with You in obedience to Your Word. I ask that You hold me near, guiding my steps so that I do not stray. Should I, though, please pull me back, disciplining me to learn the lessons You need me to grasp so that I will remain faithful. I have strayed so far that I did not even know I was lost. I did not know You as I do now, yet I knew enough to feel the shame in my ways. Thank You for Your forgiveness and Your love. I am Yours and want to stay in Your protective arms. Thank You for this book of Hosea for it is showing me Your enduring love for Your children and Your overwhelming desire for them (for me) to turn back to You and want to stay near to You. In the powerful Name of Your Son, I pray. Amen.
Graphic: Hosea 11 – http://preachingsource.com/journal/hosea-11-yahwehs-persistent-love/
Graphic: Hosea 11:4 –https://www.flickr.com/photos/wvagent/7995873895/
Graphic: Hosea 11:10 –http://wordoftruthlighthouse.blogspot.com/2015/09/god-said.html