The Lord’s Love for Israel

Open Your Bible

Hosea 11:1-12, Psalm 103:11-14, Matthew 23:37, John 6:32-40

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 a few years ago, and our three older 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.
Israel called to the Egyptians
even as Israel was leaving them.
They kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the hand,
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…?” God asked His children, while they continued to wander in their idolatry (v.8). Jesus echoed this 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 but should raise them up on the last day” (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 (Colossians 1:14, Romans 5:17, 1 Peter 1:3–4). With Jesus as your Redeemer, you are always in the family. 

(59) Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

  1. Mikayla Bowers says:

    “Even when we’re lost, He never loses us.” ❤️

  2. Heidi Mailand says:

    God’s love is astounding. It is exactly like a Dad who’s child has gone astray, and there is the painful struggle before discipline is dealt because good parents just want to give blessings! Wow, this is a very moving passage.

  3. Allison Sherwood says:

    I love the affirmation at the end, amen!

  4. Jennifer Lumley says:

    So thankful for this reminder today. The very thought that He leads us with love and forgiveness. He always knows who we are and we are His child through this grace and mercy.

  5. Marisol Marrero says:

    Even when we get lost he never loses us. WOW! Thank you for this insight.

  6. Iyanna Wallace says:

    This hit home

  7. Brooke Zeolla says:

    By far my favorite study out of Hosea. So good!!!

  8. Daniela Ramirez says:


  9. Alaysia Skye says:

    Thank you God for never giving up on me. Thank you for allowing me to wake up every morning with a fresh new start to do what I didn’t do yesterday.

  10. Angela Flowers says:

    Such a great reminder today!

  11. Holly says:

    I just love reading Hosea even though it is hard to see myself as Israel, knowing that however many times I try to “earn” being God’s daughter I always fail because of my false idols and sin. Knowing that as I read this book and recognize my false idols as I think, “Yes, I definitely need to give them up” even as I know and He knows I won’t stick to it but He is always waiting for me, always present.

    I love Hosea 11 as it is heartbreaking to read of God’s sadness over Israel’s actions but at the same time His resolve and promise to not abandon them or us because His love for them and us is so deep. It brings home to me once again how deeply I need Jesus. Thank You Father for sacrificing Your only Son so that I can be continually forgiven and accepted into Your house.

  12. Sarah Rose says:

    Thank you God for your faithfulness when I fail you daily. All I have to do is remember, just reflect, and I’m reminded of your faithfulness. So I ask myself- Lord, how can I give you up? How can I hand you over? You are all I desire and I pray my actions would reflect this.

  13. Abigail Berger says:


  14. Debi Larimore says:

    Needed this today

  15. Susie H says:

    Rhonda I agree that it is most important to maintain relationship over being right. It’s a very tangible lesson in trusting God.

  16. Jillian Lee says:

    Thank you!

  17. Margaret W says:

    Maybe what she needs is the same unconditional love that Jesus showed to tax collectors and prostitutes—unconditional love. His Spirit will convict her in His timing. My hardest job as a parent has been learning that I am not the Holy Spirit, and it is only my job to model God’s love to my children.

  18. Margaret W says:

    Maybe she needs to know that you love her REGARDLESS of her choices, just as Jesus loved us “while we were yet sinners.” Maybe your love

  19. Adrienne says:

    I love that though I am an “Israel- caliber” sinner, I am still “always in the family”!

  20. Sky Hilton says:

    I think this shows us, that at the end of all of it, God really does love us. He just tries to get us to make the bets possible choices, and protects us from making bad ones. He’s a great father.

  21. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I love the fact that Jesus will not leave us. It doesn’t matter how far I stray; he will always welcome me back with loving arms.

  22. Traci Gendron says:

    How tragic the words, “but they never knew that I healed them”. It makes me think that I don’t give enough time to God. It is only by his hand that I have gotten through all that I have. And His words, “how can I give you up”. Thank you God for not turning away from me even when I don’t lean towards you. May I be convicted to lean on you, follow your ways, and bury your Word in my heart.

  23. PamC says:

    Amanda, thank you for your words. They, along with today’s Scripture, were incredibly healing for me. When I was a little girl, being my stubborn self, and saying I’d “run away”, my mother would say that she was the one that was going to run away. Of course, I’d immediately repent, start screaming that she couldn’t leave, I’d be good, etc….and I’m not sure I ever recovered….ever felt accepted. I’ve certainly searched for love in crazy places & from stupid things. To know deep in my heart, that I’ll always be loved by God, “always be in the family”. I can’t begin to express the joy, the gratitude.

  24. Rhonda J says:

    I just heard something really good on the radio just now because some of your prayer requests with wayward children were weighing on my mind this morning. But they said “Instead of trying to FIX your children/child, Walk with your children/child. I know we want them to be in a relationship with the Lord like we ourselves have. But remember, we are all on different faith walks, or even in rebellious times of our lives (I truly believe the 20’s is the “go your own way” decade. (most likely we have all walked these times!). I say love them through their sin. You don’t have to agree with their choices, and you can have respectful dialogue, most likely they know how you feel! But love them anyway, love them through their sin. Don’t scorn them and make them feel unloved. I believe the verse that says raise them up in God’s word, and they will come back to it. Teach and live by God’s Grace, lean in, and love. We are not perfect as parents, as humans, we all are going to fail But we are forever in God’s family.
    Also, the podcast was so good again. It really is such a great way to go a step deeper into the book of Hosea! Be sure to listen!

  25. Missi Clay says:

    Thank you for the reminder. No matter what chaos enters my life, no matter how I feel about my unfaithfulness; I am His child.

  26. Dorothy says:

    I may stray, we all may stray, but as Amanda pointed out, there is one thing we can always count on “…even when we’re lost, He never loses us.” I’m so happy to know the Lord is always there for me, to know I’m always in the family, the family of Christ. I can be disown by humans but God, Christ and the Holy Spirit will never disown me what a wonderful and glorious feeling that is. Praise be to God and Christ!! PRAISE THEM loud!!!!
    Have a wonderful day sisters.

  27. Cindy Hanna says:

    Looking back over the years, I can see specific examples of God’s providing everything I needed. His tender leaning down to feed my heart and teach me his love. He is the only one who provides lasting relief from my fears and insecurities. He is enough. I am loved.

  28. Melody Bates says:

    Thank you Amanda for a wonderful devotional. My heart needed this today.

  29. Cindy Hanna says:

    If you haven’t yet listened to this week’s podcast, try to carve out some time. So good. Especially the reading of this verse. 4 “I led them with cords of kindness,
    with the bands of love,
    and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
    and I bent down to them and fed them. – Hosea 11:4.

  30. Carla Powers says:

    What really stood out to me in today’s reading was how God’s heart breaks over us when we are not faithful to Him! I could feel His desperation for repentance and faithfulness in His words. Lord, help us to realize the full impact of our sin and selfishness. And thank you for the incomprehensible way that you continue to love us and show us mercy when we fall short! I am amazed by His love!

  31. Victoria E says:

    Kristen and Kathy, Amen!!! The words from the devotional definitely resonated with me today “ we are Israel caliber sinners”. Before this year I struggled to understand Israel, blind to my own sins that matched theirs in egregiousness if not in form. this year I struggled to understand how God could continue to love me despite wanting my own way, doubting Him at times, and becoming distracted by things of this world. And now I am so thankful for God’s love, and I am starting to recognize that voice that says to me “maybe you should just avoid God since you can’t get anything right for more than a day” as the enemy using discouragement to keep me away from my loving Father! I rebuke that voice and if any of you dear sisters ever feel like that too I rebuke that spirit of defeat and discouragement for in Jesus we are more than victors !! After such a rousing realization I would also like to humbly ask for continued prayer for myself and the baby, we have moved to scans every month now that I am with the regular OB and though I know our God is faithful the waiting for the next scan is hard while the baby is still too little for me to feel him. Please pray for health for him and increasing faith that God may continue to be glorified through this. Thank you!

  32. Sharon, Jersey Girl says:

    I have a little note in my Bible next to Hosea 11:4. It’s dated 9/22/18 and says, “please draw Nicholas and Jonathan to You, with Your cords of love.” These are my two adult sons that were raised in the faith – in a ministry home, accepted Christ when they were very young and now live apart from Him. I will never stop praying, never stop hoping, never stop waiting expectantly because I know my God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that I ask or think! (Ephesians 3:20) I praise God that He does not want to “give up” His own” and His sympathy is stirred. That’s the kind of God we serve – a wonderful, merciful savior!!

  33. Emily McGrath says:

    Amen!! ❤️

  34. Lexi B says:

    Hi Jillian,

    I’ve been in your shoes- mine was broken trust. God said that the friendship would be restored and my relationship with my sister would be restored and in my mind I thought it would never be. I am a fix it person- I wanted to fix what was wrong. God asked me to wait too…and well now, that friendship is being restored and my sister and I have a wonderful relationship now and we talk daily . It is definetly worth the wait if God is asking you to wait. When you grow weary, run back to Him to sustain you while you wait. Talk to Him about your portion and trust Him in the wait. He’ll come through. I will pray for clarity while you wait on God and that you don’t grow weary in the waiting.

  35. Mari V says:

    I am. We are. With Jesus as our Redeemer WE are all in the family and someday (hopefully soon) We will meet our Jesus face-to-face and I will meet all of you my beautiful SRT sisters.

  36. Ruth Long says:

    I love this. “We are always in the Family.”

  37. hope says:

    Today’s reading is so rich and beautiful. I will be meditating on this for a very long time. I don’t think the concept of God’s everlasting love has ever hit me this deeply before. Thank you.

  38. Maura says:

    Amen and Amen Amanda Bible Williams, what an Amazing devotion this morning. Loved the scripture and how it shows the redeeming love of God, and the faithful love even as He is about to punish His love for Israel stops His wrath. Such such love He has Clarene and Kristen, thank you for sharing. We all every single one of us has sinned. But God, He loves us as the story of the shepherd, He longs to draw us, each lost lamb and carry us in His arms to His heart, even when we were in sin Jesus, God, in His mercy died for us. Kristen, I kept hearing part of a song this morning as I was reading the scriptue and devotion and then you mentioned a song. The one I was thinking of is He Knows My Name by Francesca Battestelli. Listen to it if you have time. I especially love this part of it, “He calls me Chosen, Free, Forgiven, Wanted, Child of the King”. This reminder in music, so beautiful. Sing the song He gives you. This world, somtimes loses us in the lie of judgement and sometimes even as Christians we hold it out, instead of holding out the miracle of Jesus, His unfailing, healing, miraculous LOVE. How GREAT He is and the Word, with such treasure that Jesus will not lose one of the ones the Father has given him. I really loved Hosea 11:3-4 this morning. The mercy and love of our God, so very good, I picture God bending down to give them food. Sisters, know you are loved, each one, right where you are, whatever is in front of you our God is Amazing and full of grace and Love. May we echo and shine His love and light. Praying for miracles that bring glory to our King of Kings.

  39. Jill Lee says:

    Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty. There is NONE like You.

  40. Julie Hurst says:

    May we mirror this compassion as we go about our lives today!

  41. Ariel R says:

    I felt that today’s reading was so sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. I don’t think I’d ever fully comprehended the egregiousness of the Israelites sacrificing to the gold calf WHILE God was delivering them from Egypt. Yikes. (Hosea 11:1-2). How sweet that God continued to provide for them & love them like a child.

  42. Aimee DiCicco-Ruhl says:

    Thank you Lord Jesus!

  43. Kaci Mathews says:

    I struggle with the same thing. My sins haunt me, I read that psalm a lot trying to get my head and my heart to understand the mercy of the Lord.

  44. Sissy M says:


  45. Phoebe says:

    Psalm 103:12 “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Wow. The east and the west will never meet. Their distance isn’t even measurable! Yet how often do I live with my transgressions close, still allowing them to have a hold on me? I’m not even sure I know how to live in the tender compassion of the LORD, where such freedom occurs. God, show me how to take off my unwillingness to be gathered under Your wings.

  46. Jillian Lee says:

    Prayer request : I’ve been asking God to restore a relationship that has been utterly broken by sin and I’ve felt like he’s said “wait” but I’ve definitely grown tired of the waiting and wondering if that’s even what I’m supposed to do or if I’m just supposed to move on.

  47. Laura says:

    This was so, so good and I will be rereading it several times I’m sure in the next weeks to come. It is so applicable to our family’s current situation, where our wayward daughter has essentially “left” the family, and it is so heartbreaking. But my mother’s heart wants her to know so badly that she is always part of the family. She can choose to leave and follow her own way, but we are here, wanting her to return, praying daily for her to return. Repentance and turning back are necessary, however. This is the part she doesn’t like. This is the part she doesn’t want to do. She wants us to accept her waywardness, her sin, her own way and be okay with it. She wants all the benefits of being part of the family, but she also wants to do her own thing, live her life in a way that is against God and His ways. It’s difficult. As a mom, I want her back. But I want her to turn towards God MORE. And so I wait on the Lord, for Him to woo her back, for Him to break through her stubborn heart. Thank you Shes, for praying for her. I am humbled by your prayers.

  48. Melanie says:

    Some days you feel like something is just for you. With so much going on I needed to hear I am loved. I am wanted. I am chosen. I am healed. Most sadly I don’t feel like this. But I will continue to lift my eyes to the One who loves me. I continue to wait (not patiently) for my healing. The pain and sleeplessness gets wearing on me. Praying for my sisters.

  49. SarahJoy says:

    “As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.”


    Thank you, God

  50. Elaine Morgan says:

    I am always in the family! I love it!!

  51. Angie says:

    Thank you Kristen for your heartfelt prayer example and Clarence for your post.
    May God be the center and glorified in our hearts, minds, and lives today. Amen.

  52. Kathy says:

    I cannot begin to express how many ways these words have reached into the very core and fiber of my being. I am in awe of God’s faithfulness and mercy to me. “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.” Heavenly Father, Papa God, I have no words. Forgive my sins. There’s a lot of them. You have been with me from the beginning. You made me Your beloved child. You will not forsake me. Thank You for what Jesus did. Thank You that my “sins are covered, that I am secure in my standing, and sealed in Your hope.” In Your Name I pray, Amen.

  53. Kelly says:

    Thank you, Amanda. I am a child of God. The One who is mighty to save and who is faithful to His promises.

    Praying that the Holy Spirit will convict our wayward children, hardened parents, and lost friends. May we be ready to give an answer for the hope within us, pointing them to the One who has faithful love toward those who fear him and who will remove their transgressions because of His Fatherly compassion on those who fear him.

  54. SEARCHING says:

    Praying daily for the requests/needs/concerns shared here.
    TRACI GENDRON – praying for you, your son and your husband
    MARI V – praising the Lord that you are healing and able to return to work with your pink cast
    LAURA – praying for your daughter and your friend
    ELAINE MORGAN – praying for Stacy and David
    MELANIE – praying for your father in law, being in the hospital for the past 12 days probably seem like a lifetime to him
    SHERRI – praying as you seek God’s wisdom and His path for you
    K SWENSON – continuing to pray for you
    RENEE K – praying for your daughter

    May we all Seek the Lord while he may be found (Isaiah 55:6)

  55. Clarene Radford says:

    @Kristen…Amen, Amen and Amen. The same thing happened to me on yesterday, started again this morning. Reading this devotional is God’s Word to me, that I am forgiven, chosen, and I have been given into Christ care. ..trembling but at home. Even when I unknowingly and lustfully willing to go my own way, I get entangled in His cords of love wrapped around me, pulling me back in, back home…into His Kingdom on earth as It Is in Heaven. We are secured in His love.

    Abba Father, help us to stop fighting you and those you send to us. Please not let them be offended of our defensiveness against your message and help. Many of us are lost and blind wrapped up in our own way. But in You Daddy we are not. You so, so love us dearly. Oh mighty God as we make choices that are not of Your Will and best for us, please trip us up and set out your love cords that entangles us, pulling us from the ropes, sins and burdens of this life that tries to ensnare us. May Your Spirit, set a holy blaze and burn off the traps that so easily entangles us, and may we run Your race, in Your Strength with the peace You give us. We thank you God for Your Blood which washes us from sin and for Your Mercies Lord which are new everyday. Lord we repent. Lord we receive your mercies, grace and love, in Jesus Name, Amen.

  56. Mary Ann Graves says:

    I too needed to hear/ read this today. God’s s timing is always right.

  57. Carol Rimmer says:

    Amen. God hears our hearts and wants us to always draw near to Him – and He will draw near to us.
    The gates of hell will not prevail (Matthew 16:18)

  58. Carol Rimmer says:

    This is wonderful. It’s what I need today. God is faithful to us.

  59. Kristen says:

    Just yesterday, my mind was being tormented over my words and actions. I asked God to let me know if I’m even His. Then, I read this!
    I am humbled. I don’t even deserve Him to answer me, How merciful He is! Yesterday, I also just read a post talking about the Scripture that says: His mercies are new every day. Great is Your faithfulness. It’s around 2 in the morning, and I am seeing this. To see this is merciful!!
    God, this is amazing that You have mercy on me and that You let me read this. Thank You, God. Please forgive me. There are so many sins. I am so sorry. Please change me and help me to walk in ways that are pleasing to You. Amen! You are Beautiful. Wonderful, Powerful, and Holy. You are my Savior and my Hope! I love You. Praise You and thank You!

    I have been asking God to have mercy and save those that aren’t. I’ve been thinking about the Scripture above. I’m asking Him to rescue them from the devil and give them to Jesus. Jesus said that He will never lose any the Father gives Him! How comforting, trustworthy, and assuring! We sang a sing that talks about how every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The song also said that: “still the greatest treasure remains for those that gladly choose You know.” I’m praying that people would be drawn, repent, and bow now, be saved, and give God glory, honor, and praise tvat He is due. Amen!