The Man Who Never Stopped Loving

God will make Israel a better place again

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God will make Israel a better place again

v10 In the future, the number of the people of Israel will be like the sand that is next to the sea. You cannot measure the sand or count it. Now God says to Israel, ‘You are not my people’. But the day will come when he will say to them, ‘You are the children of the living God’! v11 The people of Judah and the people of Israel will unite again. They will choose for themselves a single leader. Their nation will grow and do well in their land. The day of Jezreel will be a great day.

Chapter 2

v1 Then you will tell your brothers, ‘You are my people’. And you will tell your sisters, ‘He has shown *mercy to you’.

In chapter 1 verse 10, the message changes to a message of hope. At this time, there were about 600 000 people in Israel and Judah. But the message is about the promises that God gave to Abraham (see Genesis 13:16; 15:5; 22:17). Israel and Judah will unite again in the future. A new leader will bring his people together. God wants to bring back Israel in a way that makes it a part of Judah. The words of the promise in verse 10 are like Genesis 32:12. The word ‘future’ can mean thousands of years in the future. Jeremiah 33:22 says the same thing. Only Hosea uses the words ‘children of the living God’ in the *Old Testament. Hosea is careful to use the word ‘leader’ (verse 11). He does not use the word ‘king’ as this was a time when Israel had war. The kings also did not obey God. The *Hebrew word for ‘unite’ can also mean a plant that comes up from the ground. It would be like a *resurrection. Jezreel, a valley, is another way of using the word Israel. The words ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ refer to the people of Israel. They include people from Judah. This time in the future will be a great time of *blessing for everyone.

The *Lord speaks to the people of Israel

v2 My children, argue with your mother.

Argue! This is because she is not my wife,

And I am not her husband.

Tell her to stop living like a *prostitute.

Tell her to take away from between her breasts the men that she loved.

v3 If she does not do this, I will take away all her clothes.

She will be naked like the day that she was born.

I will make her like a land that has no water. I will make her like a dry desert.

She will die because she will have no water.

v4 I will not love her children.

They are the children of a woman of *adultery.

v5 Their mother has not been loyal to her husband.

She should be ashamed of the way that her children were born.

She said, ‘I will go to the men whom I love.

They give me food and water,

Wool and cloth,

oil from trees and wine’.

v6 So I (the *Lord) will put something in the way of her (Israel’s) road.

I will use plants that hurt.

I will build a wall so that Israel cannot find her way.

v7 She will run after the men that she loves.

But she will not catch them.

She will look for them.

But she will not catch them.

Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my first husband (God).

Life was better for me when I was with him.

Life was better then than it is now’.

v8 Israel was not willing to believe that I (the *Lord) was the one who gave her grain, wine and oil.

I was the one who gave her plenty of silver and gold.

She used this silver and gold when she wanted to *worship at Baal.

v9 So I will take back my grain at the harvest.

I will take back my new wine when it is ready.

I will take back my wool and cloth.

This was what she was going to use to cover her naked body.

v10 Now I will take away her clothes.

This is why I will take away her clothes. Many men loved her. They will all see her as she is.

No one will be able to take her from my power.

v11 I (God) will stop the special times that she enjoys herself.

I will stop her holidays.

I will stop the times when she enjoys new moons.

v12 I will destroy her *grapes and her fruit trees.

She said that the men who loved her paid her with these things.

But I will destroy her gardens.

They will become like a wild forest.

Wild animals will come and eat from those plants.

v13 I will punish her for the times that she burnt *incense to Baal.

Also because she put on *jewellery.

This is why she put it on. She wanted to run after the men who loved her.

But she forgot me.

The *Lord has said this.

In this chapter, Hosea is saying things in a special way. He says that God is like a judge. This judge is going to decide things about Israel. He will decide them in a ‘court’. First, he asks his children to argue with their mother. Which children are these? The ones that understand what God wants. Their mother, Israel, is the part of Israel that does not follow God. And so God is going to make a *judgement against the children and the mother.

‘She is not my wife’ (verse 2) is perhaps a legal way of saying something. God says that he does not want to be Israel’s husband any more. Their marriage is now over. But God does not want to end the marriage. He wants his wife to return to him. He wants his wife to change the way she behaves. But God is a judge too and will make Israel pay for her *sins. This is because they have not been true to him. He has the legal power to do this.

When Israel was born, she needed God. But when she grew up, she *worshipped false gods (verses 4-5). The men she loved were the Baals (*idols). This was as bad as a woman who is not true to her husband. God decides to punish her. He will make sure that she cannot go where she wants. Walls and other things will stop her. Then she will want to return to God.

Verse 7 She will *repent and the marriage will not end. But this idea of *repenting does not last for long. Hosea will quickly bring the people back to the idea of *judgement. Israel forgot that God gave her everything. God gave her the grain, wine and *oil. She thought that Baal gave her the silver and gold. But it was God who gave her real riches. So for the second time, God becomes like a *judge. He will take away her riches. There will be no grain and no wine. Israel will have no clothes. This happened after 748 BC. There was war between Assyria and Israel and things became difficult.

God was angry because Israel’s holidays became days of Baal (verse 11). God wanted people to rest on the *Sabbath. But this, too, became a holiday for eating (see Amos 8:5). Hosea comes back to the idea of a *prostitute. Hosea perhaps means that this is like the time in Exodus 32:2. This was when the people of Israel *worshipped the young cow in the desert. Aaron made this young cow out of gold.

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