Hosea 5, 2 Kings 17:19-20, Jeremiah 2:27
Hosea 5 is a chapter with a twofold meaning. At first, reading it through perhaps makes you tremble. After all, we can see ourselves in Israel. Their disobedience, idolatry, pride, and choosing man over God. God’s wrath is evident in this chapter as He pours His words into the text.
God knows that Israel’s pride of earthly blessings and accomplishments has hardened their hearts towards seeking him. Interestingly, although God has blessed them with these things, Israel turns to other kings for guidance and protection. The people have decided that turning to sinful man is easier than repenting and returning to their Lord.
“Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. A spirit of prostitution is in their heart; they do not acknowledge the Lord.” (Hosea 5:4 NIV)
God decrees that He will be present in their secret and public judgements (Hosea 5:12, 14), that Israel will stumble in its wickedness (Hosea 5:5), and that He will forsake them (Hosea 5:6). Reading these verses makes me cringe a little. They seem so harsh, so bare.
Until you read the end. “Then I will return to my lair until they have borne their guilt and seek my face – in their misery they will earnestly seek me.” (Hosea 5:15 NIV)
If you’re thinking, “That doesn’t seem much better,” read it with the spirit of love. A spirit that is wounded. Think about if Israel was someone you cared so deeply for that you could never let go, that you would do anything for, but they continually turn away from you. Think of Hosea and his wife.
God knows that Israel will turn to him again, but they will do so in unhappiness. In need. So often in the Bible, they will only seek His face and love when they are at rock bottom and, like a wise parent with an unruly child, He lets them fall to that point first. (2 Kings 17:19-20 NLT)
Would He love to see them have it all and praise Him for it? Yes. To be blessed abundantly, beyond their wildest dreams, and still turn to Him for their needs and worship? Absolutely. Does this happen with them? Does Israel ever stay with God when they’re on top of the world? (Jeremiah 2:27 NLT)
So God waits. He watches us with sadness, with righteous anger, with tender grief for all we must go through again. When we return to Him broken and hands out, He holds us close. He starts over again, patiently teaching us about His love and our need to obey and be humbled.
“And now, O Lord, thou art our father, and we are clay: and thou art our maker, and we all are the works of thy hands.” (Isaiah 64:8)