In much of the book of Hosea, God appears to be extremely angry with the people of Israel. God appears to be an angry Father who is ready to open up a can of whooping on his children. Take a look at the following
sub-headings from my bible: Chapter 2: Israel Punished and Restored, Chapter 4: The Charge Against Israel, Chapter 5: Judgment Against Israel, Chapters 6&7: Israel Unrepentant, Chapter 8: Israel to Reap the Whirlwind, Chapters 9 &
10: Punishment for Israel, Chapter 11: God’s Love for Israel, Chapter 12 Israel’s Sin, Chapter 13: The Lord’s Anger Against Israel, and Chapter 14: Repentance to Bring Blessing. If you were to simply thumb through the pages of this prophetic text, you might come to the same conclusion as the great awakening preacher Jonathan Edwards
famously who preached “We are Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God.” While I agree that God does get angry, I contend that anger is not the essence of who God is. 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. Love is the essence of who God is, not anger. Many of us have embedded theologies or ways of thinking about God that come from our own experiences with our family of origin, culture, and religious background. While the Old Testament is filled with plenty of examples of God’s wrath, it is also filled with acts of grace/love. For example, shortly after Adam and Eve sin in Genesis Chapter 3, they hide their nakedness by covering their bodies with fig legs. Can you say OUCH!!! Who wants to wear fig leaf underwear, it is guaranteed to chaff and irritate. In an act of grace God makes comfortable clothes for them from animal skin. God also evicts them from the Garden. You see God is both just and loving. While some of the chapters in Hosea focus on the anger of God and the punishment of Israel, chapters 3, 11, and 14 focus on the love of God for God’s people.
Scripture in Context
In the first chapter, Hosea was told by the Most High God to marry an adulterous woman and have children of unfaithfulness. Hosea was obedient to God and he married Gomer as a prophetic symbolic
action. This prophetic symbolic action paints a clear picture of nature of the relationship that the Triune God had with Israel. God had been a faithful husband and father to Israel but Israel had been unfaithful to God.
In chapter two Hosea threatens to strip his wife naked, expose her in the day, and kill her with thirst. Once again, the point is to make the audience understand how God feels through the prophetic symbolic action of Hosea. This in no way justifies the abuse of women. In chapter 3, God tells Hosea to reconcile with his wife, even though she had done nothing to deserve reconciliation. Hosea did as God commanded. This prophetic symbolic act demonstrates how God extends grace to the people of Israel. Even though the people did not deserve reconciliation, God would reconcile with them.
In Chapter 11, Israel/Ephraim is personified as a child, and we see the true essence of God has a loving father. God talks about Israel just as a parent would who has been heart broken by a wayward child. God reminisces about
the good times that they enjoyed together up until Israel learned to walk. The point here is that Israel learned to walk, and then walked away from God. Even though Israel walks away from God, God pursues Israel. While God is angry, God’s love is greater than God’s anger. The God who is love pursues Israel. God then decides that he will make Israel a great nation again if they repent from their sins. So what were their sins? Their sins were idolatry, failure to care for the most vulnerable members of their society, and unholy alliances with foreign governments. Therefore, God wanted them to give up their worship of idol gods, care for the least, the last, and the lost, and give up their dependence on foreign military power and foreign trade.
What is the grace of God?
How does God pursue us?
Share a time with the group when you turned your back on God but
God pursued you.
Share a time when other people turned their backs on you, but God
remained faithful to you.
Write down things that may be idols in your life?
Make a sacrificial offering to the Lord this month.
Read Romans 12:9-13
Pray each day
Devote 15 minutes to silent meditation