I was just reading through Hosea and came across something that made my eyes water at the first glance of this paragraph. Hosea chapters 1-10 and into 11, God is simply telling Israel how angry he is at them and how much they have fallen from him. Hosea 4:1-2 is God’s lawsuit against them saying: “There is no faithfulness, no kindness, no knowledge of God in your land. You curse and lie and kill and steal and commit adultery. There is violence everywhere, with one murder after another.”
This nation that God has loved since the beginning is turning against him and literally making idols to worship and calling God’s prophets insane. They seem to have forgotten their deliverance from slavery and bringing them to the promise land; however, we all know the incredibly bad attitudes the entire time. And yet, God was faithful and continued to bless them.
In chapter 9, Hosea announces Israel’s punishment saying that God will not allow their children to be born. They will either never be conceived or die in the womb, and if they do make it past birth, he will take them away. God will also cause Israel’s enemies to rise against them and defeat them which will eventually lead to the exile of 10 tribes by the Assyrians.
As I began reading Hosea, I couldn’t help but notice that God’s anger was not getting resolved very soon. Chapter after chapter, the Israelites continue to sin against God and God’s anger continues to rise. Once I hit chapter 10, I was afraid that this whole book was entirely about the wrath and anger of God and I began to wonder when would God show his love? All I’ve read is anger and where is God’s love that we all know so well?
As soon as that thought crossed my mind, this paragraph opened my eyes to the depth of God’s loving grace; this is the main point of this whole post. Hosea 11:8-9 “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. No, 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.”
No matter how evil we become, God will never stop loving us. The more we turn from him, the more he hurts. Although, through our stupidity, we may make him want to simply send fire down and consume us immediately, he doesn’t. His heart overflows with compassion. This, by no means, means that we will not suffer the consequences of our wrong-doing, as Israel will find out, but it does mean that our sentence is far less than we deserve. I urge you to read this story for yourself to fully grasp to severity of Israel’s sin.
This is definitely something I needed to hear and I hope it helps you as well.