The Redeeming Love of God – Hosea 11:1 – 12:14

GOD’S Compassion for His People

Hosea 11:1 – 12:14

Concern and Compassion took a cruise on an ocean liner.  While they were out looking over the outer railing someone fell overboard.  Concern cried out, “Man overboard”.  Compassion cried out, “Man overboard”, and dived in to rescue the imperiled man.

The above story shows the difference in concern and compassion.  One cries out, but does nothing.  The other cries out gets involved, and commits themselves to the task.  God’s greatest compassion was shown to us by Jesus Christ His Son dying on the cross.  He [Jesus] was committed to t he task of dying for your sins and mine; redeeming us forever unto GOD.

“When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt. As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images. I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them. I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.”  Hosea 11:1-4 (KJV)

God’s love and compassion is demonstrated in His care for Israel despite their deceit and departure from Him (Romans 5:8).

Verse one of this text is mentioned in Matthew 2:15 as a prophetic verse pointing to Jesus Christ coming out of Egypt. The life of Jesus is a kind of parallel of the journeys of the descendants of Abraham – except of course for their doubts, fears, and unbelief, their sin.  Jesus’s life showed them; and us that life can be lived for GOD.

As Israel came out of Egypt, though, they determined to turn away from God and to worship Baal.  It was God who led them by their arms (as a father teaching his child to walk).  It was He who healed them, and delivered them out of the bondage, and slavery of Egypt.

GOD worked in the life of the nation drawing them to Himself through human bondage.  “Cords of a man” while loving them to bring them out to be His own purchased possession.  He would remove the yoke of bondage, and feed them in His grace and mercy (v. 4).

“He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return. And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels. And My people are bent to backsliding from Me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt Him.” vv. 5-7

Despite Israel’s rebellion deceit and fraud toward God He still promises not to completely destroy them; but to restore them.

In these verses we see the results of Israel’s rejection of God’s love.  First, they would go into Assyrian captivity (v. 5).  Those who would flee to Egypt would die there (See 9:6).  The second result was the continued desolation of Israel, and their land (v. 6).  They had rejected God and chosen to seek the foreign gods.  The third and most tragic was their rejection of God’s love led them to a persistent and fixed state of rebellion (v. 7).

Every time a person hardens their heart against God, by rebelling against His authority, His Word the heart only gets harder.  Remember Pharoah of Egypt!  He hardened his heart for the last time, until God hardened it.  Woe to the one whose heart is hardened by God.

“How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim? Mine heart is turned within Me, My repentings are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of Mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city. They shall walk after the LORD: He shall roar like a lion: when He shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west. They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD.”  vv. 8-11

God’s love is persistent and consistent toward His people.

God’s thoughts had somehow been toward destruction.  His heart was/is broken with compassion.   These questions are powerful.  We do not understand the mind of God, so let us not get in a titther over these thoughts.  He could have destroyed Israel, but the thought of it brought compassion, and would cause Israel to stop and think.  They, like the rest of humanity, deserved destruction.  They did not deserve God’s compassion.

God says that His is not like man.  Man’s ways are to destroy all that is against him and his way.  God’s way is to change the heart of man.  In His compassion, grace and mercy He would bring them to Himself, and  put them back in their own land (v. 11).

“Ephraim compasseth Me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints. Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt. The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will He recompense him. He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto Him: he found Him in Bethel, and there He spake with us; even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial. Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.”  Hosea 11:12 – 12:6

GOD calls for a change.  There is nothing new with God.

There is still a spark of faithfulness in Judah.  Israel has gone too far.  They have gone beyond “the point of no return”, but for God’s grace.  When sin is finished, and life is ruined God’s grace continues (Romans 5:20).

The wind (12:1) offers no nourishment, just as surely as there is no spiritual life in worshipping idols.  There is no hope for Israel/Ephraim in Assyria.

Israel practiced deceit and treachery against God.  There is a horrible portrait of Israel in Judas Iscariot betraying Jesus to be crucified.  They would rather live without God than to obey Him.  They would find out the tragedy of life without God.

God remained faithful as He always does.  He never changes (Hebrews 13:8).

Jacob was born rebellious and deceitful.  His name means “Supplanter” or “Deceiver”.  He used deceit and trickery to take that which he wanted from his brother Esau (Genesis 25:24-34).  “Jacob prevailed with God and men only when he yielded himself to God.”  TRAYLOR

God changed Jacob from deceiver; seeking God his own way to Israel meaning “Prince of God”.  The nation of Israel was spoken to by God through the man Israel, formerly Jacob.  As God changed Jacob’s heart to trust the Lord He also would change the heart of the nation.

There are three truths stressed in verse six about being changed:

  1. Turn from sin to God;
  2. God’s expectation is that those who turn to Him live with kindness [mercy] and justice [judgment]. Practicing the qualities of God;
  3. Have a personal relationship and experience with God.

“A merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress. And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin. And I that am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast. I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets. Is there iniquity in Gilead? Surely they are vanity: they sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal; yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the fields. And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep. And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved. Ephraim provoked Him to anger most bitterly: therefore shall He leave his blood upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him.”  vv. 7-14 (KJV)

The nation had reached a point where being a “Kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6) counted as nothing to them.

What happened?  They had gotten so engulfed in being an economically blessed nation they became more concerned with business, rather than a personal relationship with the God of heaven.  A merchant rather then priestly they even practiced deceit with one another in order to grab all they could [“balances of deceit”]. They then added denial to their sins (v. 8).  Their goals of life were corrupt.  They had changed from the incorruptible to that which corrupts.

God says that He will still make them “…To dwell in tabernacles”.  This is a promise of return.  He has spoken so through His prophets.  Their Feasts would be restored, and there would be joy in the land, and they would walk in God’s ways.  The prophets of God always warned of impending judgment, and with the words of judgment they also included words of promise and hope.

Because of his iniquity Jacob fled to Paddan-Aram to escape the wrath of his brother Esau.

Just as surely as Jacob suffered for his sin the nation of Israel would be chastised, and rebuked, and learn of the emptiness of self-seeking, serving ways.

Jacob became a “Slave” of his uncle for a wife, and  he was deceived.  You do reap what you sow.  He served his uncle Laban, then as a shepherd to get the wife he had chosen.

The nation of Israel would go into Assyrian bondage in order to become the people God desired them to be.

Moses was the prophet who delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage.  By this same prophet Israel was fed, protected, and refreshed.  The is a greater Prophet who will deliver all from the bondage of sin when He is believed and followed.  This greater Prophet is Jesus (See Deuteronomy 18:15;  Acts 3:20-23).

-Tim A. Blankenship