Today’s passage, Hosea 11:1-12, contains one of the most tender descriptions of the father heart of God that you will find in the Bible. Hosea 11 describes how God was like a loving father to His child Israel (also called Ephraim) (v1), how He taught Israel how to walk, carried Israel by the arms, took care of Israel’s needs without Israel even knowing (v3). With cords of kindness and ties of love, this loving Father led Israel (v4), helped Israel when Israel was in trouble and humbly fed Israel (v4).
Yet Israel was rebellious toward this Father. As verse 2 says, “the more I called Israel, the further they went from me.” As verse 7 says, “My people are determined to turn from Me.” Wayward Israel seemed destined to keep following anyone other than their Heavenly Father. They would sacrifice to the idol Baal (v2), burn incense to idols (v2), want to go back to the people and things that had enslaved them like Egypt (v5) and be ruled over by cruel masters rule like Assyria (v5).
In His wrath, the Father could have easily disowned and devastated His child Israel. Yet in His great compassion, the Father could not do it. As verses 8-9 say,
Hosea 11:8-9 (NIV) 8 “How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. 9 I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man– the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath.
In His great compassion, the Father was committed to restoring Israel so that “they will follow the Lord” (v10) and He will give them peace in their homes (v11). That’s the way a healthy, blessed relationship with God works: we follow Him, and He takes care of us.
Hosea 11 is also a picture of the Gospel. In this chapter we see how:
1. our Heavenly Father loved us with a love like no other:
2. we kept rebelling against Him, stirring up His wrath;
3. instead of disowning and devastating us, the Father in compassion sacrificed Himself and welcomed us back;
4. as a result we have a peaceful relationship with God where we follow Him and He takes care of us.
You have an amazing Heavenly Father who loves you, has great compassion on you, and never quits on you.
God, thank You for being such a loving Father to me and to every person. Thank You for treating me with great compassion from the very beginning of my existence and throughout my life, even when I was so rebellious toward You. Thank You for never giving up on me. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!