Bleeding HeartI love the Book of Hosea!
Its beautiful language and touching story illustrate allegorically the love God has for His people – people who again and again prostitute themselves with other gods. I am convicted as I read about the people of Israel chasing after other gods – because I know that I am as easily swayed by bright shiny objects as they were. And I fall in love with God again and again as I read His enduring and tender love for Israel.

When I read Hosea, my journal becomes filled with passages that speak to me. Let me share some of them with you. The only commentary I’ll add are subheads because God’s Word tells the story best.

God Punishes Israel…and Restores Her…and In the Restoration Betroths Her to Himself Forever

13    I will punish her for the days
    she burned incense to the Baals;
    she decked herself with rings and jewelry,
    and went after her lovers,
    but me she forgot,”
    declares the LORD.

14    “Therefore I am now going to allure her;
    I will lead her into the desert
    and speak tenderly to her.

15    There I will give her back her vineyards,
    and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
    There she will sing as in the days of her youth,
    as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

16    “In that day,” declares the LORD,
    “you will call me ‘my husband’;
    you will no longer call me ‘my master.’

17    I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
    no longer will their names be invoked.

18    In that day I will make a covenant for them
    with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air
    and the creatures that move along the ground.
    Bow and sword and battle
    I will abolish from the land,
    so that all may lie down in safety.

19    I will betroth you to me forever;
    I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
    in love and compassion.

20    I will betroth you in faithfulness,
    and you will acknowledge the LORD.

21    “In that day I will respond,”
    declares the LORD—
    “I will respond to the skies,
    and they will respond to the earth;

22    and the earth will respond to the grain,
    the new wine and oil,
    and they will respond to Jezreel.

23    I will plant her for myself in the land;
    I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’
    I will say to those called ‘Not my people, ‘‘You are my people’;
    and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”
Hosea 2:13-23 (NIV)

The Cause of Destruction

my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6a (NIV)

My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. Hosea 4:6a (NLT)

Israel’s Desire…God’s Desire

1“Come, let us return to the LORD! He has torn us in pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. 2In just a short time, he will restore us so we can live in his presence. 3Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him! Then he will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.”

4“O Israel and Judah, what should I do with you?” asks the LORD. “For your love vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight. 5I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces. I have slaughtered you with my words, threatening you with death. My judgment will strike you as surely as day follows night. 6I want you to be merciful; I don’t want your sacrifices. I want you to know God; that’s more important than burnt offerings.
Hosea 6:1-6 (NLT)

False Worship by People Who Have Forgotten God

11“Israel has built many altars to take away sin, but these very altars became places for sinning! 12Even though I gave them all my laws, they act as if those laws don’t apply to them. 13The people of Israel love their rituals of sacrifice, but to me their sacrifices are all meaningless! I will call my people to account for their sins, and I will punish them. They will go back down to Egypt.

14“Israel has built great palaces, and Judah has fortified its cities. But they have both forgotten their Maker. Therefore, I will send down fire on their palaces and burn their fortresses.”
Hosea 8:11-14 (NLT)

Plough Up the Hard Ground of Your Heart – Now is the Time to Seek the Lord

11“Israel is like a trained heifer accustomed to treading out the grain—an easy job that she loves. Now I will put a heavy yoke on her tender neck. I will drive her in front of the plow. Israel and Judah must now break up the hard ground; their days of ease are gone. 12I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of my love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’
Hosea 10:11-12 (NLT)

The Heart of God – I Love This Picture

1“When Israel was a child, I loved him as a son, and I called my son out of Egypt. 2But the more I called to him, the more he rebelled, offering sacrifices to the images of Baal and burning incense to idols. 3It was I who taught Israel how to walk, leading him along by the hand. But he doesn’t know or even care that it was I who took care of him. 4I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him.

5“But since my people refuse to return to me, they will go back to Egypt and will be forced to serve Assyria. 6War will swirl through their cities; their enemies will crash through their gates and destroy them, trapping them in their own evil plans. 7For my people are determined to desert me. They call me the Most High, but they don’t truly honor me.

8“Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go? How can I destroy you like Admah and Zeboiim? My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows. 9No, I will not punish you as much as my burning anger tells me to. I will not completely destroy Israel, for I am God and not a mere mortal. I am the Holy One living among you, and I will not come to destroy.

10“For someday the people will follow the LORD. I will roar like a lion, and my people will return trembling from the west. 11Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt. Flying like doves, they will return from Assyria. And I will bring them home again,” says the LORD.
Hosea 11:1-11 (NLT)

Come back to your God

      6So now, come back to your God! Act on the principles of love and justice, and always live in confident dependence on your God.
Hosea 12:6 (NLT)

Listen Carefully…Hear God’s Love

1Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for your sins have brought you down. 2Bring your petitions, and return to the LORD. Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you the sacrifice of praise…

4The LORD says, “Then I will heal you of your idolatry and faithlessness, and my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever! 5I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. It will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. 6Its branches will spread out like those of beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedar forests of Lebanon…

8“O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who looks after you and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green, giving my fruit to you all through the year.”

9Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those who are discerning listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But sinners stumble and fall along the way.
Hosea 14:1-9

Let’s Return to the Lord
Friends, let’s return to the Lord wholeheartedly. Let’s step away from the things of this world that we hold tightly and that keep us from pursuing Him – things that keep us from loving Him and stepping out to follow Him more deliberately. Let’s just do it!

Comments are closed.

© copyright 2009-2013, Data Designs Publishing and Sandra J. Hovatter