Throughout the book of Hosea we find God wrestling with the decision to depart from Israel (the northern kingdom).
Prophecies of judgment are consistently followed by promises of forgiveness:
- Judgment – 1:2-9 | Forgiveness – 1:10-2:1
- Judgment – 2:2-13 | Forgiveness – 2:14-3:5
- Judgment – 4:1-5:14 | Forgiveness – 5:15-6:3
- Judgment – 6:4-11:7 | Forgiveness – 11:8-11
- Judgment – 11:12-13:16 | Forgiveness – 14:1-9
God loved Israel and His heart broke to see them fall into apostasy. He’d done everything He could do to win them over, yet they refused to love Him in return. Now He was left with no option but to remove His presence from them so they could experience the harsh reality of life apart from God’s provision.
If you think about it, this kind of thing happens all the time in romantic relationships. One person has a disproportionate love for the other and does everything he can do to win the other’s affection. When nothing seems to work, out of desperation and heartbreak, the lover removes himself from the relationship.
Suddenly the loved one realizes how much she truly cares about her lover. The old saying is true: you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
Here are some of the lessons learned from Hosea:
- The person you marry has the power to make your life on earth either heaven or hell.
- When you feel the pain of unreturned love, your heart aches because of what you’ve lost.
- When God feels the pain of unreturned love, His heart aches — not because of what He’s lost — but because of what His people have lost.
- Divine judgment is only used as a last resort — when all other options have been exhausted.
- Even God’s discipline is an act of LOVE, designed to bring people back into the blessings of the covenant relationship (see also Prov 3:11-12 & Heb 12:4-12).
- It’s better to remain faithful in the first place, than to have to learn the hard way.