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. 

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.