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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Post Comments (56)

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

  1. Kylee says:

    How my heart hurts to think of God as the BEST father to Israel; the home movie rolls in my head as He reaches down from heaven and teaches Ephraim how to walk. He raises their arms and makes His people strong & capable, then when they are mistreated & their persecution becomes too much to bear, rescues them by guiding them out of Egypt and leaving them ‘with ropes of love’ (TEARS). They know of God, sure, but they don’t get it — it’s all been by, for, and because of Him. Still they don’t see….so they stray. And as our great God roams the camp, like a lion, His people are too shortsighted to see him, too stubborn to sense his presence. But then, He roars….

    Reconcile us to You, God, with a mighty roar! We are just as stubborn and shortsighted! But it was You and only You all along — Thank You for being our faithful Father, even when we are wandering!

    1. Kylee says:

      *leading not leaving!

  2. Keri McCue says:

    Today’s scriptures are SO GOOD!!! I love verse 3, “Yet it was aI who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that bI healed them.” How many times does God heal me, how many times has he saved me from something and I don’t even know about it? He is constantly working behind the scenes of my life and most of the time I’m not even aware of it.!

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  3. Marci Brekke says:

    Today has been my favorite chapter and reflection. Thank you. And thank you my Father.

  4. Grace Tezzo says:

    My absolute favorite part of today’s study is the reminder of how intimately, consistently, and fiercely the Lord pursues us. He’s in the little and the big. He was there before each of us said the sinners prayer for the first time and he’ll be there when we draw our very last breath. And though it hurts his heart he is willing to let us stumble and fall if it will reconcile our hearts to him. Long story short, he’s perfect and I’m obsessed.

  5. Jess says:

    Can’t help falling more in love with Jesus reading this. <3 Beyond thankful that I am a member of His forever family. Grateful for His grace and forgiveness that does not resemble my earthly family! In the mixed of our brokenness I want to be as Jesus: ever offering love, mercy and another chance

  6. Sarah Nichols says:

    Wow, there is enough love and grace for even me. I am his beloved.

  7. Jena says:

    Jesus cares me for. So deeply that He continues to pursue after me, after my heart no matter what. So much that He’s given me a seat at the table with Him. He’s offered eternal life and a kingdom to live in and reign in. He deeply cares when I wander, He deeply cares when I stray – knowing that what I am seeking for are deep rooted things that He can only help and provide for me. Nothing can separate me from the love of our Father. Nothing. And this is such a great reminder for me today. Thank you.

  8. C Gunckel says:

    Oh my goodness, I so needed to hear this today! The affirmation of God’s love! So thankful I am still in the family!
    Could I ask you all to please pray for my husband. He has some very serious health concerns right now and he is discouraged and depressed and feels there is no answer and that God has forgotten him. He doesn’t understand why such pain and suffering….
    Your prayers are coveted for him, thank you!

    1. Kristin says:

      Praying your husband can feel God’s love surrounding him and realize he is never abandoned or forgotten. :)

    2. Sheryl says:

      Praying for your husband right now.

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