Remembering God as God

Posted: May 25, 2017 in Hosea, Uncategorized

Hosea 12-14, “Remembering God as God”

Can a prophecy of judgment have a happy ending?  Yes!  Especially when the grace of God is involved with the people of God, the answer is yes…always yes!  There can be no denying that much of what has been proclaimed in the book of Hosea has been harsh, and more will be seen as things draw to a close.  But what is also undeniable is the magnificent love of God towards His people.  They had forgotten Him, abusing the love & provision He had given them – and yet He still held out to them a future of forgiveness & restoration.  Whatever judgment they would face in the present, they had a God-given promise of healing.  Why?  Because the grace of God is amazing.  It always is.

Remember the background to the book: the northern kingdom of Israel (also known as Ephraim or Samaria) was nearing the end of its independence.  After generation upon generation of idolatrous sin & rebellion against God, the Lord was bringing His judgment down upon them.  Soon, God would bring in the Assyrians as a weapon of His holy wrath, thoroughly punishing the 10 northern tribes for their sin.  They would be all but completely destroyed, mostly bred out of existence by the Assyrians (though a remnant would remain through the centuries).  So thorough would this destruction be, that in the years and centuries following, God’s people would be known as “Jews,” in reference to the southern kingdom of “Judah.”  The northern tribes of Israel were barely known at all (and won’t be, until the days of the Great Tribulation).

For something that intense, can anything good be brought from it?  Yes!  Throughout the book of Hosea, God repeatedly promised to restore His people, knowing that one day they would come to a full knowledge of Him, worshipping Him in truth.  It may take a while, but it was certain – God declared it to be so.

All of this was mirrored in the marriage relationship of Hosea the prophet and his wife, Gomer.  Like Israel, Gomer had been repeatedly unfaithful to her husband, yet Hosea purchased her back in grace, and restored her and her children to a place of faithfulness and purity with him.  This is what God promised to do with Israel.  Although they had acted like they were not His people, having received no mercy from God, being divorced from God – all of this would change.  God would shower them with mercy, restore them as His people, taking the nation back as His betrothed bride.

All of this is emphasized once more as Hosea’s prophecies come to an end.  All through the book, there have been repeated cycles of judgment-to-mercy, and that is seen once more.  After warning the nation of the judgment that was due them because of the things they had sown (they had sown to the wind & would reap the whirlwind), God reiterated His loving heart and compassion towards His people.  His sympathies were stirred for them, and promised to call them back to their land, restoring them to their dwelling places.

At this point, the next (and final) cycle of judgment-to-mercy begins.  Israel had forgotten God, having ignored all of His gracious provision on their behalf.  Yet God had not forgotten them – God knew exactly the relationship He was supposed to have with His people, and yet did not have.  He would do what was necessary to get their attention.  One day, He would have it, and the love of God would flow freely upon them.

We never want to forget God as God!  We have been given grace & blessing…it’s not something to take for granted.  Remember the Lord, and dwell in His grace.

Hosea 12 – Israel forgot God, part 1
11:12 “Ephraim has encircled Me with lies, And the house of Israel with deceit; But Judah still walks with God, Even with the Holy One who is faithful.

  1. Remember that the chapter breaks are not inspired – the Hebrew text actually includes 11:12 with chapter 12, actually being the 1st verse.  It makes more sense in that position, as it’s the first verse of the next cycle of judgment.
  2. Remember as well that although Hosea was primarily a prophet to the northern kingdom, he has occasional words for the southern kingdom of Judah as well.  Here in 11:12, it seems that Judah is seen in a good light, but 12:2 makes it clear that Judah had fault of her own.  The primary observation God makes here is that although many of the same sins were shared by the sister kingdoms, they were on two different timeframes.  At the time that Israel was conquered by Assyria, King Hezekiah reigned on the throne of Judah – one of the best kings in all of Judah’s history.  It was no exaggeration at all for God to declare that Judah was walking with Him in faithfulness.  In fact, God would sovereignly protect Judah from the Assyrian empire in a miraculous fashion, destroying 185,000 soldiers of Sennacherib in a single night. (2 Kings 19:35)  Because Judah was walking with God, God would protect His people according to His covenant promise.
  3. But it wouldn’t always be that way.  Like Israel, Judah would also turn again to sin, facing their own judgment of God – this time, by the hands of the Babylonians.  It’s to this that the prophecy refers, as the English versions of Chapter 12 begin…

1 “Ephraim feeds on the wind, And pursues the east wind; He daily increases lies and desolation. Also they make a covenant with the Assyrians, And oil is carried to Egypt. 2 “The LORD also brings a charge against Judah, And will punish Jacob according to his ways; According to his deeds He will recompense him.

  1. In addition to all of Israel’s instances of idolatry, their lack of trust in the Lord was confirmed by all of their attempts at various alliances.  When facing their enemies, they did not seek out God, as Hezekiah had done.  Instead, they tried political solutions, all of which were futile.
  2. Not that the southern kingdom of Judah was too much better.  They may not have sinned the same way as Israel at the same time as Israel, but they certainly engaged in the same sins at different times.  Thus, God brought a charge against them as well.  The whole Hebrew nation (both northern and southern kingdoms) is guilty and would be punished by God.
  3. How would He do it?  He promised to punish them “according to his ways.”  That’s a frightening thought!  If the wages of sin is death, how much needs to be dealt out for each additional sin?  A single quick death would be too good!  To punish according to our ways would mean an eternity of deaths…which is exactly what hell provides.  It is horrendous, it is terrifying, but it is right.  It is an expression of God’s holy justice. 
    1. This is why we need mercy!  This is why we need the cross!  Jesus endured the full, infinite wrath of God when He hung on the cross & died for us.  Because Jesus is the Son of God, His death fulfilled an eternity of deaths for all mankind – which is why His death is sufficient for you & me.  So we cry out for mercy – we put all our trust in Jesus Christ alone.

3 He took his brother by the heel in the womb, And in his strength he struggled with God. 4 Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed; He wept, and sought favor from Him. He found Him in Bethel, And there He spoke to us—

  1. This is the first of several brief historical recollections, as God basically recounts how Israel became Israel.  The full story is found in Genesis 32:22-32, as it shows Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord the night before Jacob’s return to the Promised Land.  He had schemed and trusted himself his entire life until he was finally forced into a position where he had no other choice than to trust God.  From the womb onward, he struggled – until that night in Bethel.  Finally, Jacob wrestled with the Lord & refused to let go…and that was the moment he came to true faith.
  2. Keep in mind this is exactly what Israel did not do.  They weren’t wrestling with the Lord; they were wrestling against His will for them.  They did not want to cling to God; they had no desire to hold to God at all.  They turned away from their national foundation, and they were about to experience all of the consequences that came with that.
    1. Cling to God!  Take hold of Jesus, and don’t let go.  He doesn’t let go of you, so don’t you let go of Him.
  3. To whom did Jacob cling?  The Angel of the Lord – the pre-incarnate Jesus – the Lord God Himself.  Vs. 5…

5 That is, the LORD God of hosts. The LORD is His memorable name.

  1. Interestingly, on the night Jacob wrestled with God, Jacob asked God His name & received no answer. (Gen 32:39)  This goes to demonstrate the further blessing that the nation of Israel had received, even beyond what their ancestor had.  God had not revealed His name to Jacob, but Israel later knew it.  They had a greater revelation of God in their lives, yet they still despised the Lord.
  2. Literally: “And YHWH God of Sabaoth/Armies.  YHWH, His memorial/remembrance.”  The ever-existent I AM is God of all the heavenly armies.  “I AM” is the name He has given us to remember Him.  Again, the whole idea here is the grace of revelation.  Israel did not merely know just any god, or one of many gods; Israel knew (and was known by) THE God – the Everlasting All-powerful Mighty God.  This was the God who revealed Himself to the nation. And this was the God they chose to forget.
    1. Remember the name of your God!  Keep Jesus ever before you, praying at all times in the Spirit.  We have received even greater revelation than Israel – cherish it!
  3. In light of that, what were they supposed to do?  Repent!  Vs. 6…

6 So you, by the help of your God, return; Observe mercy and justice, And wait on your God continually.

  1. They needed to repent – to return to God.  It needed to take place spiritually, “by the help of your God,” for they were unable to do it on their own.  It was to take place practically, as they “observe mercy and justice,” living out their lives as people called to be the people of God.  It was to take place devotionally, as they were to “wait on your God continually,” seeking Him in prayer and worship.  IOW, every bit of their lives was to be affected through repentance.  This wasn’t a call for lip-service & religious motions; this was a call to a life-change – a true turning back to God.
    1. If that doesn’t describe repentance in your life, you need to ask yourself if you’ve really repented.  Turning to God is far more than praying a “sinner’s prayer” – it’s a dedication of our lives to Jesus as our Lord & Savior.

7 “A cunning Canaanite! Deceitful scales are in his hand; He loves to oppress. 8 And Ephraim said, ‘Surely I have become rich, I have found wealth for myself; In all my labors They shall find in me no iniquity that is sin.’

  1. This sort of attitude was the very thing Israel had been warned of.  Deuteronomy 8:11-20 spoke of the day where the Hebrews would get cocky, taking credit for the blessings of the Promised Land.  God knew that they were self-righteous, thinking they could accomplish everything on their own, enriching themselves without the help of the Lord.  So God warned them…which they promptly ignored.  (Just like us!)
  2. The bottom line is that they had forgotten God.  Well, God hadn’t forgotten them!  Vs. 9…

9 “But I am the LORD your God, Ever since the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, As in the days of the appointed feast. 10 I have also spoken by the prophets, And have multiplied visions; I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets.”

  1. God was still God, and He was still sovereign over Israel.  Just as He brought them out of Egypt into the Promised Land, He could take them out again. 
  2. This was no rash decision.  God warned them about this repeatedly through the prophets. …

11 Though Gilead has idols— Surely they are vanity— Though they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal, Indeed their altars shall be heaps in the furrows of the field.

  1. They had trusted idols, but their idols were useless.  Soon they would be tossed aside.  Sadly, this isn’t so much a prophecy of their future repentance as it is a prophecy of the destruction of the kingdom.  The pagan altars weren’t going to be destroyed by the Israelites experiencing revival; they’d be reduced to rubble due to the warfare in the land.
  2. A bit of word-play & alliteration in Hebrew.  Gilead (גִּלְעָ֥ד ), Gilgal (גִּלְגָּ֖ל ), Heaps (גַלִּ֔ים ).  The idea is one of ruins or even a heap of stones upon a grave.  Interestingly, there’s only a slight bit of difference between “heap of stones” and “human feces.”  The words are differentiated only by their vowels (which the original Hebrew text did not contain).  This doesn’t argue for a different translation, but it certainly is a strong indication of what God thinks of idolatry!

12 Jacob fled to the country of Syria; Israel served for a spouse, And for a wife he tended sheep. 13 By a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, And by a prophet he was preserved.

  1. More historical reminders.  (1) God made Israel a nation.  Although it was Jacob’s scheming that forced him to flee to Syria, it was there that he met his wives, and fathered his 12 sons.  All of it was due to the provision of God.  Israel (as a nation) would not exist apart from the graciousness of God.  (2) God gave Israel a home.  The people had been enslaved 400 years in Egypt, finally ruled over by a Pharaoh seeking their destruction.  There’s no way Israel could have survived apart from the Lord God, and God did it.  Not only did God bring them out of slavery, He brought them out rich, having plundered the Egyptians on their way. (3) God gave Israel protection.  For 40 years, the nation wandered through the wilderness, led by Moses.  They could have been picked off by other nations larger than them – they weren’t.  They could have starved – they didn’t.  They could have had their provisions run out – they didn’t.  Their preservation was by the gracious hand of God.  He had been truly evident in their lives.
  2. How did Israel thank God for all these things?  They despised Him, provoking Him to wrath. Vs. 14…

14 Ephraim provoked Him to anger most bitterly; Therefore his Lord will leave the guilt of his bloodshed upon him, And return his reproach upon him.

  1. Time after time, Israel engaged in idolatry.  They sought other gods, acted in unrighteousness, and became just like the pagan nations surrounding them.  Despite the provision of God for them, they provoked Him with their sin.
  2. How many times can someone provoke God and think nothing will happen?  Sooner or later, there will be consequences.  (With them & with us!)

Hosea 13 – Israel forgot God, part 2
1 When Ephraim spoke, trembling, He exalted himself in Israel; But when he offended through Baal worship, he died.

  1. Ephraim” is normally another name of Israel, but contextually here it seems to refer to the individual tribe.  Ephraim was one of the largest tribes in the northern kingdom, providing many of its kings.  Ephraim may have been powerful among his brethren, but he was weak before God.  His idolatry brought only death.
  2. Too bad it didn’t stop, vs. 2…

2 Now they sin more and more, And have made for themselves molded images, Idols of their silver, according to their skill; All of it is the work of craftsmen. They say of them, “Let the men who sacrifice kiss the calves!” 3 Therefore they shall be like the morning cloud And like the early dew that passes away, Like chaff blown off from a threshing floor And like smoke from a chimney.

  1. The people multiplied their idolatry, getting deeper & deeper into sin.  Not only did they make more & more images, but they acted more & more ridiculous.  They engaged in every pagan ritual they saw, modeling themselves after the world around them rather than the word of God that had been given to them.
  2. Thus they would be wasted.  Not only was all of their “religious” acts wasted time, but they themselves would be blown away by the judgment of God.  That’s the whole idea of vs. 3: it’s filled with all kinds of images of fleeting things. There’s nothing of substance – nothing that will last.
    1. That’s what sin is: fleeting pleasures with eternal consequences.

4 “Yet I am the LORD your God Ever since the land of Egypt, And you shall know no God but Me; For there is no savior besides Me.

  1. Reiteration of 12:9, the first clause actually being the exact same wording.  Again, God never forgot His people.  He knew precisely the terms of their covenant, and He would act in accordance with it.
  2. Even with the general background of judgment, there’s still a plea for repentance in it.  God was their God, and their only God.  They had no hope at all without Him.  Salvation does not exist without Him.  It can only be found in the Lord.  (That hasn’t changed!)
  3. God gives an example of His deliverance/salvation & provision in vs. 5…

5 I knew you in the wilderness, In the land of great drought. 6 When they had pasture, they were filled; They were filled and their heart was exalted; Therefore they forgot Me.

  1. Again, there’s a reminder of how God intervened in their history.  For 40 years, God provided for their every need.  Yet they still forgot.  They still turned aside from God.
  2. Keep in mind, all this happened when times were good (relatively speaking).  It’s not that they Israelites didn’t struggle along the way – they had many trials & tests of faith.  Yet from a broader perspective, they had everything going for them.  For a time, the entire nation of Israel could visibly see the manifestation of God’s glory on a daily basis as His cloud led them through the wilderness.  Once the Israelites finally got to the Promised Land, there was no doubt that God alone gave it to them.  Things had gone extremely well for Israel!  It’s not as if God had hidden Himself from them, or had held back His blessings.  But they still forgot. 
    1. Do we forget God when things are going well?  What will it take for us to remember?

7 “So I will be to them like a lion; Like a leopard by the road I will lurk; 8 I will meet them like a bear deprived of her cubs; I will tear open their rib cage, And there I will devour them like a lion. The wild beast shall tear them.

  1. Terrible truth!  God promised to ambush them in fury.  Like a wild animal, He would tear them limb from limb.  It’s graphic & it’s awful – but it was fully deserved.
  2. But, that’s not all…

9 “O Israel, you are destroyed, But your help is from Me.

  1. Israel would be destroyed by God, but they would also be healed by God.  He would be the One to help them.  It’s like the surgeon who has to perform life-saving emergency open heart surgery.  He/she cracks open a person’s chest – an act that would normally kill someone, being incredibly traumatic.  Yet that same surgeon performs the operation, heals the wound, and helps the person live again.  There’s a similar idea here, though combined with God’s righteous wrath.  Yes, God would rip open the nation & bring them to death & destruction – but He was also their help & their healer.  He would kill, but He would bring life.  There was destruction in the future for Israel, but there was also restoration…but only when they were in a right relationship with the Lord God.
  2. He would also be the One to lead them. Vs. 10…

10 I will be your King; Where is any other, That he may save you in all your cities? And your judges to whom you said, ‘Give me a king and princes’? 11 I gave you a king in My anger, And took him away in My wrath.

  1. God Almighty is their true ruler & king.  In the past, He gave them other kings because they asked for them (and God took them away, too), but originally they had been led by God Himself.
    1. That’s the way it will be in the future kingdom as Jesus sits on the throne of David.  God Himself will be their King!
  2. That’s for the future.  In the present, their sin was building.  Vs. 12…

12 “The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; His sin is stored up. 13 The sorrows of a woman in childbirth shall come upon him. He is an unwise son, For he should not stay long where children are born.

  1. The nation was pregnant with sin & iniquity.  They were ready to burst.  The consequences of their sin would come violently forth, and it wouldn’t be pretty.
  2. What they needed was help – and that’s what God promised to give.  Vs. 14…

14 “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes.

  1. Commentaries are split as to how this ought to be translated & interpreted.  Because of the overall context of judgment, some believe this should not be read so much as a promise of grace, but as a question of how much God should allow the people to be disciplined. The idea might be “Shall I redeem them from the power of the grave?  Shall I redeem them from death?”  Yet, there’s some question about the grammatical basis for that interpretation, which is why most English translations (apart from NASB) have it like the NKJV.  Contextually, there’s really no problem with a quick jump to a promise of mercy – that sort of quick back & forth has been rather common in the book of Hosea.  And, considering the way Paul uses a translated version of this verse in 1 Corinthians 15:54-55, it would seem he saw this as merciful & victorious, rather than foreboding.
  2. No matter how bad His people sinned against Him, God is more powerful than their sin.  No matter how much they had incurred a death sentence against themselves, God is bigger than death.  All they needed to do was to turn to Him in faith, and live.
    1. This is the promise we have in Jesus! 
  3. It’s a brief look into God’s mercy, but Chapter 13 concludes with a reiteration of the certain judgment that faced the nation.  Vs. 15…

15 Though he is fruitful among his brethren, An east wind shall come; The wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness. Then his spring shall become dry, And his fountain shall be dried up. He shall plunder the treasury of every desirable prize. 16 Samaria is held guilty, For she has rebelled against her God. They shall fall by the sword, Their infants shall be dashed in pieces, And their women with child ripped open.

  1. Just as vss. 7-8 told of a violent destruction of the nation, it’s reemphasized here again in vss. 15-16.  Israel may have been “fruitful” and prosperous at the time, but it wouldn’t last.  The wrath-filled wind of God would soon blow, and the kingdom would be decimated.
  2. Is it a big difference from the promises of God’s victory over death?  Sure…and for good reason.  Vss. 15-16 is what Israel (and we) deserves.  Vs. 14 is what we receive in Christ.  Vss. 15-16 is justice; vs. 14 is grace.

That’s a lot of judgment!  But that’s not how the book of prophecy ends.  It concludes with an appeal to repentance and a promise of restoration.

Hosea 14 – Israel will remember God
1 O Israel, return to the LORD your God, For you have stumbled because of your iniquity; 2 Take words with you, And return to the LORD. …

  1. Here’s the plea: turn around – come back!  This is what repentance is: a turning – a change.  Remember from 12:6, repentance is a dedication of our lives unto God, and that’s what Hosea once more implores Israel to do.  Basically saying, “Come back from the sinful place you’re in!  The only thing your sin is accomplishing is your downfall.  Come back to the Lord – the door is wide open!”
    1. That same invitation is open to anyone stuck & stumbling in sin.  Return to the Lord!  Come back to the One who called you by His grace.
  2. How to do it?  Hosea gives them a prayer…

…Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously, For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips. 3 Assyria shall not save us, We will not ride on horses, Nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, ‘You are our gods.’ For in You the fatherless finds mercy.”

  1. Summarize the requests.  “Forgive us our sin.”  The first thing we need is forgiveness.  Our sin stand between us & God, and must first be resolved before we can move on to anything else.  Thankfully, the promise is clear that if we confess our sin through Jesus Christ, God is faithful to forgive us & to cleanse us. (1 Jn 1:9)  He will take away our iniquity & receive us in His grace and love.
  2. “We will praise You.”  This is the “sacrifices of our lips.”  Their hearts would turn toward the Lord in praise & devotion.  Through their songs & prayers, they would proclaim the praises of God.
    1. Repentant people are people ready to praise God.  Sure, there is godly sorrow for the moment, but when forgiveness is granted, praise erupts!
  3. “We will trust You.”  For so long, Israel had depended upon themselves, but no longer.  They were to declare their trust in God – the one who had always provided for them.
    1. Repentant people are people who trust God.  After all, He is our only hope for forgiveness.  If we can trust Him for that, we can trust Him for everything else!
  4. “We will worship You.” Not only had Israel trusted themselves for decades, they worshipped every god but God for as long (or longer).  Now their worship was to solely be in the their true God, their covenant-keeping God – the God they knew by His memorial name.
    1. Repentant people are worshipful people.  It’s not just our lips that praise God, it’s our lives.  Everything that we are is dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ, living for His glory.
  5. “You are good.”  God is the merciful God, giving His love and compassion to the orphan…and we’re it.  We had orphaned ourselves away from God in our sin, and He still extended His merciful compassion to us.  God gives His forgiveness to the rebellious.  He is good.
    1. Repentant people know, trust, and declare the goodness of God.  We are amazed at His nature, ever-astounded by His grace.
  6. That’s a great model for prayer!  When you pray, ask for forgiveness, then declare your praise, trust, and worship of God, while you acknowledge His goodness.  (You’ll never be at a loss for words!)
  7. This is a prayer that God answers.  Vs. 4…

4 “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from him.

  1. God will heal.  He will bring them back from the edge of apostasy.  He will restore them as His people, bringing them back into His covenant graces.
  2. God will love.  It would be enough for God simply to turn from His wrath, but He promises so much more than that.  He will freely love His people!  Those who were once His enemies, He will embrace as His family.
  3. God will forgive.  Instead of pouring out His anger upon those who deserve it, God turns it away.  He releases them from their debt against Him, allowing them to be fully restored back to their relationship.
  4. All of this is what God does with us through Christ!  Praise the Lord!
  5. There’s one more promise: God will bless.  Vs. 5…

5 I will be like the dew to Israel; He shall grow like the lily, And lengthen his roots like Lebanon. 6 His branches shall spread; His beauty shall be like an olive tree, And his fragrance like Lebanon. 7 Those who dwell under his shadow shall return; They shall be revived like grain, And grow like a vine. Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

  1. God promised to strengthen the nation.  Though the kingdom had shrunk dramatically (to the point of being non-existent), it would grow once again.  It would experience blessing and vitality in their miraculous restoration.  (We have to acknowledge it as a miracle, for how else would this be possible?)
  2. Not only would the kingdom be restored, but so would their reputation.  They would be a blessing to the other nations of the world.  They will “dwell under his shadow” – a certain picture of the Millennial Kingdom to come.

8 “Ephraim shall say, ‘What have I to do anymore with idols?’ I have heard and observed him. I am like a green cypress tree; Your fruit is found in Me.”

  1. Finally, after all that time, Israel will be done with idols.  Their only provision is found in the Lord God, and they will (at long last) acknowledge Him as such.
  2. The only sad part is how long it will take!  Even today, Israel does not yet truly follow the Lord God in faith, because they reject Jesus as Messiah.  It could even be said that many in Israel still are idolaters, for they worship a God of their own making, from the traditions passed through the centuries. 
    1. Don’t wait too long!  Make the decision now to be done with sin.

9 Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right; The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them.

  1. The conclusion.  Pay attention!  Know the Lord – walk in His ways.

Conclusion:
The promises of God towards His people were so wonderful!  All they needed to do was turn to Him in true repentance & faith.  They needed to remember their God. 

Of course, that’s exactly what they did not do.  They had forgotten the Lord, having turned away from Him.  Despite all of His gracious provision for them through the centuries – His personal intervention on their behalf – they shut their eyes to the things God had done, and chose to go their own way in sin & idolatry.  They had acted every bit of the unfaithful spouse, just as Gomer had done to her husband Hosea.

Was God right to judge them?  Absolutely – no question about it.  All of the many prophecies of the coming Assyrian invasion were well-deserved, as are all expressions of God’s divine justice.  But what makes Hosea’s prophecies so wonderful is that this wasn’t all the Lord God promised.  God didn’t only promise judgment; He promised mercy – He promised restoration – He promised healing.  That is what the Israelites will experience when they finally turn to God in true remembrance and faith.

Beloved, this is what we experience through Jesus right now!  We don’t wait for the eventual outpouring of God’s mercies; we live in them!  Every single thing spoken to Israel in judgment is something we ourselves deserve, but it is something that Jesus already endured for us.  Now we live in the blessings of those who actually know the Lord.  Right now, we have God’s mercy, His restoration, and His healing.  Praise God!

Perhaps the question is whether or not we’re walking in those mercies.  Like Israel, we also have personally seen the provision of the Lord God on our behalf.  Every single born-again believer in Jesus Christ has had a person experience with the Living God.  You know God is God…do you walk as if you do?  Do you walk as if you remember Jesus, or if you’ve forgotten Him?

All of us have days we act as if we don’t know Him.  There are moments that pop up in our lives where we shut our eyes to the cross of Christ & shut our ears to the pleading of the Holy Spirit.  Be careful those days don’t become the norm.  Where God makes you aware of those things, confess them to Him, turning back to the Lord in true repentance.  He’s made His forgiveness freely available through Jesus – all we need to do is ask.

May every day be a day where we strive to remember the Lord!  May we be the wise & prudent ones warned by Hosea to walk in the ways of our Lord, ever-mindful of the grace of Jesus.

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