God doesn’t beat around the bush. He is like a parent toward a child — in this case, the child is Israel. God loves His people, yet He has to discipline them. Like any loving parent, it breaks His heart to have to do it. Seriously, it’s not like He didn’t keep warning them! In these last 4 chapters of Hosea, God reminds them where they came from through the story of their ancestor, Jacob. Let’s dig in….
Hosea 11 – The Lord’s Love for Israel
“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and I called my son out of Egypt.
2 But the more I called to him,
the farther he moved from me,
offering sacrifices to the images of Baal
and burning incense to idols.
3 I myself taught Israel how to walk,
leading him along by the hand.
But he doesn’t know or even care
that it was I who took care of him.
4 I led Israel along
with my ropes of kindness and love.
I lifted the yoke from his neck,
and I myself stooped to feed him.
5 “But since my people refuse to return to me,
they will return to Egypt
and will be forced to serve Assyria.
6 War will swirl through their cities;
their enemies will crash through their gates.
They will destroy them,
trapping them in their own evil plans.
7 For my people are determined to desert me.
They call me the Most High,
but they don’t truly honor me.
8 “Oh, how can I give you up, Israel?
How can I let you go?
How can I destroy you like Admah
or demolish you like Zeboiim?
My heart is torn within me,
and my compassion overflows.
9 No, I will not unleash my fierce anger.
I will not completely destroy Israel,
for I am God and not a mere mortal.
I am the Holy One living among you,
and I will not come to destroy.
10 For someday the people will follow me.
I, the Lord, will roar like a lion.
And when I roar,
my people will return trembling from the west.
11 Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt.
Trembling like doves, they will return from Assyria.
And I will bring them home again,”
says the Lord.
Charges against Israel and Judah
12 Israel surrounds me with lies and deceit,Hosea 11 NLT
but Judah still obeys God
and is faithful to the Holy One.
The people of Israel feed on the wind;
they chase after the east wind all day long.
They pile up lies and violence;
they are making an alliance with Assyria
while sending olive oil to buy support from Egypt.
2 Now the Lord is bringing charges against Judah.
He is about to punish Jacob for all his deceitful ways,
and pay him back for all he has done.
3 Even in the womb,
Jacob struggled with his brother;
when he became a man,
he even fought with God.
4 Yes, he wrestled with the angel and won.
He wept and pleaded for a blessing from him.
There at Bethel he met God face to face,
and God spoke to him—
5 the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies,
the Lord is his name!
6 So now, come back to your God.
Act with love and justice,
and always depend on him.
7 But no, the people are like crafty merchants
selling from dishonest scales—
they love to cheat.
8 Israel boasts, “I am rich!
I’ve made a fortune all by myself!
No one has caught me cheating!
My record is spotless!”
9 “But I am the Lord your God,
who rescued you from slavery in Egypt.
And I will make you live in tents again,
as you do each year at the Festival of Shelters.
10 I sent my prophets to warn you
with many visions and parables.”
11 But the people of Gilead are worthlessHosea 12 NLT
because of their idol worship.
And in Gilgal, too, they sacrifice bulls;
their altars are lined up like the heaps of stone
along the edges of a plowed field.
12 Jacob fled to the land of Aram,
and there he earned a wife by tending sheep.
13 Then by a prophet
the Lord brought Jacob’s descendants out of Egypt;
and by that prophet
they were protected.
14 But the people of Israel
have bitterly provoked the Lord,
so their Lord will now sentence them to death
in payment for their sins.
Hosea 13 – The Lord’s Anger against Israel
When the tribe of Ephraim spoke,
the people shook with fear,
for that tribe was important in Israel.
But the people of Ephraim sinned by worshiping Baal
and thus sealed their destruction.
2 Now they continue to sin by making silver idols,
images shaped skillfully with human hands.
“Sacrifice to these,” they cry,
“and kiss the calf idols!”
3 Therefore, they will disappear like the morning mist,
like dew in the morning sun,
like chaff blown by the wind,
like smoke from a chimney.
4 “I have been the Lord your God
ever since I brought you out of Egypt.
You must acknowledge no God but me,
for there is no other savior.
5 I took care of you in the wilderness,
in that dry and thirsty land.
6 But when you had eaten and were satisfied,
you became proud and forgot me.
7 So now I will attack you like a lion,
like a leopard that lurks along the road.
8 Like a bear whose cubs have been taken away,
I will tear out your heart.
I will devour you like a hungry lioness
and mangle you like a wild animal.
9 “You are about to be destroyed, O Israel—
yes, by me, your only helper.
10 Now where is your king?
Let him save you!
Where are all the leaders of the land,
the king and the officials you demanded of me?
11 In my anger I gave you kings,
and in my fury I took them away.
12 “Ephraim’s guilt has been collected,
and his sin has been stored up for punishment.
13 Pain has come to the people
like the pain of childbirth,
but they are like a child
who resists being born.
The moment of birth has arrived,
but they stay in the womb!
14 “Should I ransom them from the grave?Hosea 13 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
Should I redeem them from death?
O death, bring on your terrors!
O grave, bring on your plagues!
For I will not take pity on them.
15 Ephraim was the most fruitful of all his brothers,
but the east wind—a blast from the Lord—
will arise in the desert.
All their flowing springs will run dry,
and all their wells will disappear.
Every precious thing they own
will be plundered and carried away.
16 The people of Samaria
must bear the consequences of their guilt
because they rebelled against their God.
They will be killed by an invading army,
their little ones dashed to death against the ground,
their pregnant women ripped open by swords.”
Hosea 14 – Healing for the Repentant
Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
for your sins have brought you down.
2 Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord.
Say to him,
“Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us,
so that we may offer you our praises.
3 Assyria cannot save us,
nor can our warhorses.
Never again will we say to the idols we have made,
‘You are our gods.’
No, in you alone
do the orphans find mercy.”
4 The Lord says,
“Then I will heal you of your faithlessness;
my love will know no bounds,
for my anger will be gone forever.
5 I will be to Israel
like a refreshing dew from heaven.
Israel will blossom like the lily;
it will send roots deep into the soil
like the cedars in Lebanon.
6 Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees,
as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon.
7 My people will again live under my shade.
They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines.
They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.
8 “O Israel, stay away from idols!
I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you.
I am like a tree that is always green;
all your fruit comes from me.”
9 Let those who are wise understand these things.Hosea 14 NLT
Let those with discernment listen carefully.
The paths of the Lord are true and right,
and righteous people live by walking in them.
But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.
There’s no doubt that God, though He loves us, He has to be fair and judge us when we sin. Just like He did to Israel, He’s warning us over and over again. As Hosea wrote in 12:6… “Come back to your God”.
Return to God
Chapter 14 looks to the last days, the end times, in which we are living in right now. He’s looking at a future time when all of Israel repents and God restores His people. It’s going to take the Rapture of the Christians and the Messianic Believers, as well as the start of the Great Tribulation to finally get the Jewish non-believers to confess their sins. We see that happening in the Book of Revelation.
The steps toward restoration is to not just realize that you’ve sinned, but to ADMIT it to God. Don’t worry, He’ll forgive you no matter how bad you think you’ve sinned. It’s not like He doesn’t already know what you’ve done. He sees and knows EVERYTHING! Furthermore, He loves you anyway! However, He wants you to acknowledge that you’re a sinner.
A Christian is not a sinless person, but someone who sins less and less each day. In verse 13:4, He says it all, “You must acknowledge no other God but Me, for there is no other Savior.” That’s the TRUTH! A church can’t save you, Mary can’t save you, the pope can’t save you, religious rituals can’t save you. ONLY JESUS!
Jesus Told Us…
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”John 14:1-6 NLT
- Jesus is in Heaven preparing a place for all of His born-again Believers.
- When it’s all ready, Father God will give Him the signal to come down to our sky and call us up. (That’s the Rapture)
- Then, He reiterates that He is THE Way, THE Truth and THE Life. No can go to the Father, in Heaven, except THROUGH HIM.
So, what does it take?
How can you get a guaranteed a one-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven?
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.