Day 9

The Lord’s Love for Israel

from the Hosea reading plan

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

BY Amanda Bible Williams

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. 

Post Comments (59)

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

  1. Melody Bates says:

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!!

  6. Emily McGrath says:

    Amen!! ❤️

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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