Israel’s Defeat Because of Sin
Open Your Bible
Hosea 9:1-17, Hosea 10:1-15, Psalm 25:16-18, Luke 23:30
My husband’s hobby is gardening, or, as I affectionately describe it, “puttering around in the yard.” Despite my good-natured ribbing, I greatly appreciate the lush results of his diligence. Now, after a few years of consistent care, our backyard flower beds have transformed from nondescript piles of lumpy, orange clay into a hidden oasis where wisteria vines dance across the fence. Hydrangea and peony blooms greet us throughout the summer months, and butterfly bushes, heavy with blossoms, host monarchs that flit about.
It’s a lovely, peaceful site and one that hinges on a single element more than any other for its survival: water. We’re fortunate to live in a part of Virginia that receives decent amounts of rain. Yet even so, summer temperatures can scorch our plants to such a degree that my husband spends 30 minutes watering on any day without significant rainfall.
Rain sustains life and allows for regenerative growth; it may be one of the reasons Hosea references it in 10:12, writing, “until He comes and sends righteousness on you like the rain.” It’s an allusion rife with meaning. Chapters 9 and 10, which lead to this pronouncement, make the dire situation clear—Israel’s behavior has been such that “they have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Gibeah. He will remember their iniquity; He will punish their sins” (Hosea 9:9). Hosea says, “Their hearts are devious; now they must bear their guilt” (Hosea 10:2).
And yet, there is hope; just as rain ushers in the promise of life in the midst of a dry and arid drought, so does Christ’s righteousness restore us to new life in and through Him. Without it, we perish, as Hosea 9:16 says, “their roots are withered; they cannot bear fruit.”
Israel had not only sinned, they had cultivated their sinful ways as a farmer cares for his crops; now Hosea calls them to instead “sow righteousness for yourselves and reap faithful love; break up your unplowed ground” (10:12). To sow takes purposeful effort, but the imperative is clear: “It is time to seek the LORD” (v.12). The psalmist echoes this humble posture of the heart, saying, “Consider my affliction and trouble, and forgive all my sins” (Psalm 25:18). Doing so will allow the merciful, redemptive rain of His righteousness to fall on us. And, like a garden in desperate need of sustenance, we will live.