Day 12

Wanderers Among the Nations

from the Hosea reading plan


Hosea 9:1-17, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Psalm 51:1-12

BY Amanda Bible Williams

Text: Hosea 9:1-17, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Psalm 51:1-12

My favorite room in our house is the dining room. True, it may be because we eat food there (and I do love food), but it’s more than that. It’s because of the way it makes me feel. I can’t put words to it exactly, but I knew it the first time I set foot in that room: it was home.

The intangible quality of feeling “at home” is as hard to replicate as it is to describe, but it is nonetheless deeply real—so real that we spend our lives trying to find it, create it, hang on to it. That’s why I can’t bear to change the color of our green paint-over-panel dining room walls. I want it to always feel the way it did the day I stood in the doorway and cried because I knew I was home.

Hosea chapter 9 is about home, but not the warm, fuzzy feeling I get when I walk into my green dining room at the end of a long day. Israel had forfeited all opportunities for true joy in their lives, in their families, and in their homes. Their blatant and persistent sin meant they were no longer welcome in God’s presence, not until they returned with repentant hearts.

But Israel was not interested in repentance. Instead, they settled into their sin, becoming at home in their shame. Listen to the sadness in the Lord’s description of their turning away from Him and unto their false loves:

I discovered Israel
like grapes in the wilderness.
I saw your fathers
like the first fruit of the fig tree in its first season.
But they went to Baal-peor,
consecrated themselves to Shame,
and became detestable,
like the thing they loved.
– Hosea 9:10

God’s people were called to be holy—set apart for Him alone. But they instead set themselves apart for Shame, the very opposite of their holy, just, and loving Father. What choice did He have but to kick them out of His house?

I will drive them from My house
because of their evil, wicked actions.
I will no longer love them…
– Hosea 9:15

And that’s where the story would end without the gospel—with me, you, and Israel, sitting on the curb next to a heap of our idols, none of them able to save us or give us a forever home. There we would stay, bound to our shame and humiliation.

Shame is not the same as repentance, nor is humiliation the same as humility. It is not enough to be aware of our sin, wallowing in our brokenness. We must (and we may!) repent and return to our holy, gracious God.

Praise the Lord, He loves even the wanderers. He seeks us out and beckons us home by the perfect sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. The Holy One invites us to exchange our worship of impotent idols for worship of Him, the only living God. He washes us of our guilt, breaks our chains of sin and shame, and binds us to Himself. Thanks be to God, we “who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah” (Ephesians 2:13).

In Christ, we are at home.

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40 thoughts on "Wanderers Among the Nations"

  1. Betsy P. says:

    Throughout Hosea 9, I keep seeing the same picture over and over again: Israel has knowingly turned away from God, and sought security + happiness in earthly things…and yet, they will never find satisfaction or contentment in them. In fact, they will find the opposite. Verse 3 states that they will return to Egypt–the source of their former captivity, and that their sacrifices “will be like mourners’ bread to them; all who eat of it shall be defiled; for their bread shall be for their hunger only.” (v.4). Later in verses 16-17 we see the same thing: “their root is dried up, they shall be no fruit. Even though they give birth, I will put their beloved children to death. My God will reject them because they have not listened to him; they shall be wanderers among the nations.” Israel was searching for security in the very nations in which they would become captive wanderers, people without a “home” as Amanda has said. What a devastating disappointment and realization it would be for them.

    How often do I pursue things of this world, thinking that they will provide what I need or desire, when all they do is bring pain, loss, and brokenness? Oh, that my heart will see the goodness of the LORD and see earthly enticements for what they truly are: cheap, false substitutions that will never fill me.

  2. Hannah Somers says:

    “Praise the Lord, He loves even the wanderers.” I love that line because to me “wanderers” implies movement and it is a reminder to me to constantly strive to better my life. To have a better relationship with God, to better my health and fitness, to better my career, to better my relationships, and to continue on the path to self-love.

  3. Lizzieb85 says:

    Verses in Hosea 9:11-12, 14, 16 really caught my attention today. God threatens & promises childlessness & dead children for their blatant rejection & disregard for God. Anyone have a miscarriage or lost a child? I had a miscarriage. It is gut wrenching. It changed me. I wrestled with God SO much during that time. I started to believe this is why I lost my baby. I was being punished (I believe the enemy had a hand in that). I remember sitting in a Denny’s with my husband. It was the month my baby would have turned a year old (Christmas time). I was still childless. And bitterness & anger were my “home” as Amanda talks about in her devo. I told my husband, I didnt even want to want to reconcile & repent. I was comfortable & I knew repentance like David in Psalm 51 would hurt- to give up my “righteous” anger (as I thought it was) & present myself as contrite to God would be SO hard. My sin was a result of my miscarriage, NOT the other way around. Eventually God ministered to my heart, & I did read through Psalm 51 as if I was the one who wrote it. I repented & was washed clean! It felt better than all that bitterness. I was still childless, but had hope. Now I hear my twin boys playing in their crib, ready for the day. I thank God every single day for their very existence- even when they are biting each other & thrashing on the floor in a tantrum.

    God promised His people He would take away their children as punishment for their wretched rejection of Him- but it isn’t always a punishment. Sometimes it’s just an opportunity to wrestle with God, for whatever reason. Remember all the barren women in the Bible that God blessed? My miscarriage was SO hard, but I am a changed woman- hopefully for the better! I definitely think I am a better & more grateful mom because I lost my first.

    1. Jena says:

      Wow. What an amazing testimony and perspective you give to this. Amen and Thank you!

    2. Jess says:

      Thanks for posting Lizzie. I’m still grieving and processing two miscarriages over this past year, which came after four years of infertility. I’m still working through getting to a Psalm 51 place, but I confess that as I move forward with another round of treatments, these verses seized my heart with fear tonight that God has been punishing me through miscarriage, and will do so again. Lord, please wash away my guilt, and please cleanse my mind from the lies of the enemy that distract and distort!

  4. Linda says:

    The garden was home for Adam and Eve. In the garden they share an intimate fellowship with God. There was no shame, for there was nothing to hide from Him. Until that one fateful day when Eve listened to the serpent. Eve forgot all about God’s abundant and faithful provisions for her and Adam and focused on the one thing she could not have.
    A looking turned into a taking. The taking turned into an eating. The eating turned into a giving.
    And just as quick as their teeth sunk into that first bite of the forbidden, shame was present. Home didn’t feel quite the same anymore.
    Fellowship was broken, and the game of hide and seek began. They hid and did not seek to walk with God in their home.
    God found them, confronted them, and Adam and Eve played the blame game.
    The results of this one bite was catastrophic to them, to all. They had to leave the only home they had known, their daily life would now be hard work and the intimacy between them and God would never be the same…
    But God could not stop His love for them. He provided for their needs, promised to be with them (even outside the garden) and shared Hope that one day they would have a new place to call Home!
    Hope came when Jesus came to earth. God dwelled among us for a short while here on earth, growing and living and experiencing all the things we do. He taught us perfectly how to live and serve and obey and trust the God we love. And through Jesus’ death and resurrection, He removed any barriers to fellowship with the Father. To those who believe in the power of His name, we become God’s children sharing that sweet intimacy once again.
    Today’s reading and verses brought me back to the beginning, reminding me that one small “bite” of the world can lead me somewhere where I really don’t want to go.
    The consequences will mount up and be so severe…
    Lord, will you bind my wandering heart to yours? I do not want to leave you, the One I love.

    1. Churchmouse says:

      Beautiful reminder and review of our beginning. Thank you. You blessed me

      1. Martha says:

        Thank you Linda. You blessed me too.

  5. McKayla says:

    “Praise the Lord, he loves even the wanderers.” I love that ❤️

  6. Maria says:

    Hosea 9:1 tugs at my heart…the portion which states “You have loved the wages of a prostitute.” The spirit prompted me to ask myself what wages of sin am I enjoying? Perhaps, we enjoy certain tv shows for entertainment or music. Whatever it is, we need to release it & choose Christ.

    1. Stacey Cochran says:

      I was prompted about this last night. I was in bed trying to go to sleep and song lyrics kept running through my head, which is a normal way for me to go to sleep. And I’m ashamed to say that they were not God-pleasing. And the Holy Spirit convicted me of it because it wasn’t what I needed to be thinking on. So, I started this morning on my commute to work with not listening to anything that doesn’t bring honor to God. This is tough for me because I don’t really like a lot of talk radio in the morning or commercials, which is why I ended up flipping through stations. This morning, during the commercials, I would turn the radio down and pray. I think my day is going to go so much better! But I agree, we need to release our wages of sin that we are enjoying and choose Christ.

      1. Joanna says:

        K-Love! They have awesome Christian music! I’ve been listening since January and its wonderful.

      2. Mercy Me says:

        Stacey, faith based music has had such a big impact on my life, I wanted to share with you a band that I start my day with and many times end the evening listening to them. Casting Crowns. Radio Station Joy 106.1 you can listen to on the Internet and has great contemporary music along with words of encouragement. Amazon Prime has a Christian music channel and you can get music for free under Prime membership.

  7. Churchmouse says:

    The pleasures of sin are fleeting. Humiliation and shame can linger. But when I come to the Cross, when I repent and return, all sin, humiliation and shame are gone. The burdens are lifted. There is such sweet release. I am indeed made new. I was once far away. Now I am “brought near by the blood.” His life given up to bring me home. I am slain by the magnitude of His love.

    1. Cindy says:

      Words…. Beautiful words….. Thank you…

  8. Jennifer R says:

    Psalm 51 nicely sums up our condition, doesn’t it? Our sin is always before us & God would be completely justified in casting us away from His presence forever. And yet, if we seek Him He will cleanse us & blot out all our sins. Blot out! Erase! As if they never happened! Allow us to start over with a pure, clean slate. He will redeem our brokenness, bring us into His presence, give us His Spirit, restore our joy, & sustain us. So grateful for His grace & mercy this morning! Grateful that He doesn’t leave us “sitting on the curb next to a heap of our idols . . . bound to our shame and humiliation.” (Thanks for that powerful image, Amanda!) Grateful that in Christ we have a forever home!

    1. Nancy says:

      I also love that imagery! And the words of Psalm 51-the last few verses I learned to sing many years ago & always bring me back to humble reliance on the grace of our Savior.

    2. She Reads Truth says:

      Yes, yes, yes! Thankful for this reminder, Jennifer!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

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