I Knew You in the Wilderness
Open Your Bible
Hosea 13:1-16, Acts 4:11-12, 1 Corinthians 15:54-56
Text: Hosea 13:1-16, Acts 4:11-12, 1 Corinthians 15:54-56
I mean. They should know better.
These people we’re reading about—the ones who “continue to sin” and kiss golden calves (Hosea 13:2)—are God’s people. The Chosen Ones. The ones He brought out of slavery in Egypt and provided for in crazy, miraculous ways. The ones He has been calling to Himself for whole chapters and books of the Bible, year after year, generation after generation.
Still, thirteen chapters into the book of Hosea, no clanging cymbal or shockingly graphic simile is enough to shake Israel out of their sin and cause them to turn and repent.
God gave Israel food and water in the wilderness, but just as soon as they were satisfied, they forgot why they needed Him in the first place (Hosea 13:6). God is angry with Israel. Shoot, by this point, I’m angry with Israel.
But Ephraim isn’t the only chaff swirling around on the threshing floor (v. 3).
That’s me, too, Lord. Isn’t it?
And so, our frustration with the Chosen People for being so maddeningly unfaithful to their Helper, turns inward. Their “He’ll be here when we need Him” attitude—putting God in a box on a shelf in case of emergency—sounds disquietingly familiar.
Even waist deep into the book of Hosea, we may find we’re still not giving God the place He deserves in our lives—not up high on some shelf in a box, but on our door frames and at our tables and on our tongues (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). We belong in relationship with Him.
We may also realize that, like Ephraim, we sometimes talk about God’s grace like it’s a get-out-of-jail-free card (Romans 6:15). We can think of His anger as some kind of scare tactic, where we keep our heads down and toe the line. That might have worked for another generation, but it doesn’t really intimidate us anymore.
But God still knows us, even as we wander in the wilderness of our sin. He wants our hearts back. So He reminds us, “you know no God but Me, and no Savior exists besides Me” (Hosea 13:4). Amen?
We are broken, but He is faithful. We are rebellious, but He pursues. We stray. We become prideful and forget who He is. But our change doesn’t change Him. He still wants us back. And He comes for us. Oh, that we would always be amazed by His all-sufficient grace.
We are more unfaithful than we ever dared believe, but the God of Israel—and of our hearts—is far more faithful than we ever dared hope. Let’s go before our holy God today to thank Him for not giving up on us, even in our darkest moments.