Day 16

The Lord’s Love for Israel

from the Hosea reading plan


Hosea 11:1-12, John 6:32-40, Matthew 23:37

BY Amanda Bible Williams

Text: Hosea 11:1-12, John 6:32-40, Matthew 23:37

The books had gathered dust in the corner of the room for too long, and I was finally putting them in their rightful place on the hallway shelf. I brushed off each one, shaking out the pages as dust particles danced in the sunlight. That’s how I found it—a torn strip of paper sticking out of the top of an old paperback. The words were written in crayon, in my handwriting: Mama, we’re always in the family, right?

As soon as I saw it I remembered. It was about two years ago, and all three of our children had become adorably addicted to affirmation. When they got into trouble, or sometimes just because, they would ask the question again. I’d written it down so I’d remember.

“Mama, we’re always in the family, right?” Yes, of course, we’d say. You will always, always be part of this family.

They haven’t asked the question lately, now that I think of it. I hope this means they’re learning what it means to be a beloved child.

We’ve come a long way in the book of Hosea. We’ve seen Israel struggle to believe that God is who He says He is. We’ve seen them struggle to repent and obey. And while the whole book makes us ache with recognition of our own sin, these verses at the start of chapter 11 have to be among the most heartbreaking.

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called My son.
The more they called them,
the more they departed from Me.
They kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them in My arms,
but they never knew that I healed them.
– Hosea 11:1-3

God had been with Israel from the beginning—loving them, providing for them, healing them, leading them “with ropes of love” (v. 4). He was faithfully their Father, but they had forgotten what it meant to be His beloved children.

It’s not hard to imagine ourselves in Israel’s shoes. Those shoes are where we live. We forget. We are unfaithful. We ignore the hand who heals us. But our sin is not the headline here. The headline is God’s faithfulness.

“How can I give you up?” He asked His children, while they continued to wander in their idolatry (Hosea 11:8). Jesus echoed God the Father’s heart in the Gospel of John: “Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out… This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me” (John 6:37, 39).

God’s people scatter in their sin, yet Christ will lose none—not a single one. I am not the exception to that rule. Neither are you.

It’s true that we are Israel-caliber sinners. We get lost, wandering through the wilderness of our idolatry. But even when we’re lost, He never loses us. The Lion of Judah will roar as necessary, and His children will return to Him, trembling (Hosea 11:10). Trembling, but at home.

Child of the Father, receive this affirmation today from God’s Word. The One who was with you in the beginning, who has raised you up as His beloved child, will not forsake you now. The sacrifice of His Son has covered your sin, secured your standing, and sealed your hope (Col. 1:14, Rom. 5:17, 1 Pet. 1:3-4).

With Jesus as your Redeemer, you are always in the family.

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56 thoughts on "The Lord’s Love for Israel"

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  2. Katrina says:

    Is it weird I never felt God leave me even in my wickedness. Like I’ve always know the great lengths God has gone

  3. Susan says:

    This is one of my favorite studies!

  4. I’ve become so aware of the size of Jesus’s death. The pain and the torture He went through and how He kept getting up so there was no sin left to pay. So we didn’t have to. That quite honestly leaves me breathless and so remorseful for my Father. He is just that. A Father that is so powerfully protective of his children He would do anything and everything to protect us. Like a lion in the wild protecting his family, that’s what our God is to us. His love is fiercely protective and unconditionally abundant. How lucky are we to rest into that?

  5. Abigail says:

    This was something I really needed to hear tonight. With school just recently starting I’m still struggling to find God time between school, homework, school activities, and everything else in my life. Reading this helped me realize how much God works behind the scenes for us, so that we may find him when we need it most. Thank you God for ALWAYS being there for me, working and loving me so incredibly much, and for being my firm foundation I can always trust and lean on.

  6. Esther says:

    I’ve never read Hosea before, so this plan has been so insightful. Chapter 11 moved me to tears and I could really feel God’s compassion, mercy and love in those verses. We are truly blessed to have such a faithful, loving Father. Last night I was at a bible study about Revelation and we got into pre-destine talk. These verses in Hosea and John are so reasurring that God’s got me. He won’t cast me away. I’m in the family. Thank you Amanda.

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