Summary: Up to this point in the book the emphasis has been primarily upon Israel’s disobedience for which judgement must fall. However, from this point on the emphasis is on God’s love for Israel, in spite of her disobedience for which judgement must fall. In the
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
To demonstrate God’s love a certain medieval monk announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on “The Love of God.” As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lighted a candle and carried it to the crucifix. First of all, he illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the chancel. There was nothing else to say. (Source unknown)
Up to this point in the book the emphasis has been primarily upon Israel’s disobedience for which judgement must fall. However, from this point on the emphasis is on God’s love for Israel, in spite of her disobedience for which judgement must fall. In the sovereignty of God everything that befell Israel was intended to instruct her and bring her back to God. In order to illustrate the Lord’s relentless love, Hosea delves into the past, present and future history of redemption:
1. The past: the love of the Father met by ingratitude (vv. 1-4). - This eleventh chapter begins with another brief probe into Israel’s past to discover the defects in response to God’s love that had led her into apostasy. Israel turned a deaf ear to God’s prophets, choosing rather to sacrifice to Baal and burn incense to idols (v. 2). A comparison is made of the Lord’s love for Israel to the farmer who adjusts the yoke of the oxen so they can be feed (v. 4).
2. The present: the ingratitude of Israel met by punishment (vv. 5-7). - A warning that the fatherly care exhibited to them in the past could not be counted on in the present because of the peoples disobedience to the Lord. Israel by rejection of the father had chosen the kingship of Assyria, a cruel tyrant (v. 5).
3 The future: The compassion of the Father brings restoration (vv. 8-11). To a nation that is as deserving of annihilation as were the wicked cities of Admah and Zeboliim God says “I will not execute My fierce anger” (v. 9).
It is easy to define God in terms of my own expectations and in so doing make Him slightly larger than myself. I should seek to become like Him rather than attempting to make Him fit my image.