STEADFAST LOVE

Opening Prayer

Coming to your Word today, Father, thank you for this gift that enables me to know who you are and of your great plan of redemption.

Read HOSEA 11:1–11

God’s Love for Israel

11 “When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.
But the more they were called,
    the more they went away from me.[a]
They sacrificed to the Baals
    and they burned incense to images.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
    taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
    it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
    with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
    a little child to the cheek,
    and I bent down to feed them.

“Will they not return to Egypt
    and will not Assyria rule over them
    because they refuse to repent?
A sword will flash in their cities;
    it will devour their false prophets
    and put an end to their plans.
My people are determined to turn from me.
    Even though they call me God Most High,
    I will by no means exalt them.

“How can I give you up, Ephraim?
    How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
    How can I make you like Zeboyim?
My heart is changed within me;
    all my compassion is aroused.
I will not carry out my fierce anger,
    nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man—
    the Holy One among you.
    I will not come against their cities.
10 They will follow the Lord;
    he will roar like a lion.
When he roars,
    his children will come trembling from the west.
11 They will come from Egypt,
    trembling like sparrows,
    from Assyria, fluttering like doves.
I will settle them in their homes,”
    declares the Lord.

Read full chapter

Footnotes

  1. Hosea 11:2 Septuagint; Hebrew them

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Meditate

Wonder anew at God’s grace and mercy today as you ask God to help you see yourself as he sees you.

Think Further

In this chapter we are exposed to a God of tenderness, judgment, and grace. As the historical interactions between God and Israel are given a brief overview, it is as if we are being given a picture of the inner working of God’s reasoning. We are reminded how close God is. From calling Israel out of Egypt, to healing them; then, using the language of a parent to a toddler, by helping them to walk and lifting them up to embrace them. God is invested in Hosea’s listeners—but they have been less invested in God, honoring with their lips but not their lives.

Dishonoring God can be an easy path to drift down. It is unlikely that we had such a destination in mind, but the pressures of life and the voices of the crowd can eat away at our faith commitment. God has been involved in our lives before we were even born. As we grew up, God was there. There would have been times in our lives when we were called or taken care of and we did not even know it. This is how it is with God: wherever we go, there God is. Just as Israel’s sin needed judgment, so too did ours. The best response is at the altar of repentance: it is there that we find grace and mercy.

God’s heart is clear in verse 8, where three times we read, ‘How can I ….’ This is the love of a parent who has given so much, has been broken in the process, but still wants to give more. This is fulfilled in Jesus, the true Son who was called out of Egypt.1 It is in Jesus that we see the pain that our sin has caused, yet he demonstrates to us his incredible love.

Apply

Allow God to minister that great love to your heart, restoring an image of deep wonder. How can you help others see the way that God sees them?

Closing prayer

Lord God, may your grace and mercy so overflow in me that others will be drawn to you.

Last Updated on February 26, 2024 by kingstar

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