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Hosea 11 (Israel and All of Us)

The tone from God changes, starting in this chapter; and hope blooms on the horizon.


In verse 1, the Lord reflects on when "Israel was young", how much He loved him. He describes how He called him (Israel) out of Egypt. He calls Israel His son.

It's interesting that He refers to young Israel as the nation He brought out of Egypt. Their formation started much earlier with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and his sons. And there were hundreds of years in Egypt. But in God's economy, that nation that developed inside Egypt became Israel. And God loved him.

A very interesting connection to this verse is that we see the fulfillment of it it in Matthew 2:15, when Joseph and Mary return from exile in Egypt and bring Jesus after the death of Herod. So, as He did with so many things, Jesus went first and led the way for us to come back to the Father through Him. Hallelujah!

In verse 2 the Lord describes that the more they called to them, the more they went away and sacrificed to idols. I wasn't clear who the second "they" was, but the Ryrie footnote concludes that He is talking about the prophets He sent. Which makes that verse much more clear.

In verses 3 and 4, the Lord laments that it was He who raised them, teaching them to walk, holding them in His arms, healing them. Led them and loved them. Raised them, lifted their yoke and fed them. And they did not recognize that it was He.

Heartbreaking to hear God's heart break.

And to recognize myself in the ungrateful, selfish, and blind beneficiary of God's abundant love.

Verse 5-7 describe many of the same dire consequences that we've read in recent chapter, such as being taken by Assyrian, destroyed in war, and how they ignore the calls of the prophets to turn to Him. However, the tone is different. Dire words; but from hurt this time- not anger.

This change in tone becomes more prominent in verses 8 and 9.

  • How can I give you up?
  • How can I surrender you?
  • How can I wipe you out completely as I have other places?
  • My heart is turned over within me?
  • My compassions are kindled.
  • I will not execute my fierce anger.
  • I will not destroy Ephraim again.

For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.

Hosea 11:9b

What changed to change God's tone?

It was not Israel, Ephraim, Judah, the prophets, the people, the priests, or any other human or group.

It was God and His character that shone through. Despite ample evidence, He will not wipe out the one He raised and loved. They will still suffer consequences because they are only getting worse in their prosperity, but He will not wipe them out. He will have compassion and save a remnant.

Verses 10 and 11 provide the hope. Dazed and battered; but alive, they will return.

  • They will walk after the Lord.
  • He will roar like a lion.
  • His sons will come trembling from the west.
  • They will come trembling like birds from Egypt and Assyria (captivity)
  • I will settle them in their houses, declares the Lord

They say the U.S. isn't in the end time prophesies; but I can see the U.S. being part of the "west" from which they return to the land of Israel. If, indeed, the new Israel from 1948 is being referred to here.

MacArthur sort of confirms this by confirming that both Assyria and Babylonian captivity were from the east- so this is an End Time prophesy, not this time of dispersion.

I feel like this should be the chapter break. The next few verses more closely align with the next chapter, in which the prophet returns to his charges against the people and calls for a change in behavior.

But for a few verses we see a hurt parent who isn't mad, just disappointed when He reflects on all He has done and looks to a distant future when His prodigals will get to return home and worship Him in truth and in spirit.

I will include the last few verses of chapter 11 in my chapter 12 review. For now, I want to end with the hope for the day we're all at the feast provided by our forgiving and loving father, despite our most wretched prodigal choices.


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