GOD, THE BROKENHEARTED FATHER
God reminisces about his relationship with Israel, and Hosea relays his words.
To God, Israel is his much-loved son. God called him out of Egypt, teaching him how to walk. But as God sought out his son, his son walked away from him. But God can’t give up on his people and let them go. His heart is too invested; he cares too deeply. He decrees that because he’s God and not a man, he is not going to act in anger and destroy his people. Eventually they will come from the nations where they’ve been scattered and follow him.
God’s people have a reputation just like the other nations—they kiss idols and offer human sacrifices. They must bear their guilt.
Hosea appeals to God’s people to come back to him—to ask him to forgive them of their sins, to turn from their idols and their dependence on other nations. God promises that if they will do that, he will turn from his anger, heal their wounds and freely give them his love.
The King’s Heart
God had raised his son. Like a parent, he taught Israel the rules by which his family would operate. Like providing Cheerios for a toddler, God delivered his people’s food every morning, covering the ground with manna. Like a protective parent, he took them by the hand and guided them through the wilderness with a pillar of cloud and fire. Like a tender caregiver, he made sure that their clothes didn’t wear out. Like an inviting father, he showed them how to build his house and how to spend time with him there. As his family, he had given them a calendar of days they could memorialize together. And as his children, he had given them land, an inheritance.
God didn’t just consider Israel a group of people who followed him—they were his family. God says, “To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them” (Hosea 11:4).
But the son he loved was rejecting him—choosing the painful path. It is sheer anguish. “How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? . . . 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” (Hosea 11:8-9).
God couldn’t turn his back on his son. He had to discipline him, but he would eventually restore him.
Hosea’s name means “salvation.” Every time the Israelites heard the prophet’s name, they knew what God was offering them—salvation.
Copyright © 2014 by Walk Thru the Bible Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved.