God’s Word of Mercy and Forgiveness
Hosea 3:1—4:10: Hosea is told to love his unfaithful wife, and his love for her is to demonstrate the LORD’s continuing love for unfaithful Israel. Accusations against Israel and its priests are cited.
Hosea and the Unfaithful Woman
1The Lord said to me, “Go again and show your love for a woman who is committing adultery with a lover. You must love her just as I still love the people of Israel, even though they turn to other gods and like to take offerings of raisins to idols.”
2So I paid fifteen pieces of silver and seven bushels of barley to buy her. 3I told her that for a long time she would have to wait for me without being a prostitute or committing adultery; and during this time I would wait for her. 4In just this way the people of Israel will have to live for a long time without kings or leaders, without sacrifices or sacred stone pillars, without idols or images to use for divination. 5But the time will come when the people of Israel will once again turn to the Lord their God and to a descendant of David their king. Then they will fear the Lord and will receive his good gifts.
The Lord‘s Accusation against Israel
1The Lord has an accusation to bring against the people who live in this land. Listen, Israel, to what he says: “There is no faithfulness or love in the land, and the people do not acknowledge me as God. 2They make promises and break them; they lie, murder, steal, and commit adultery. Crimes increase, and there is one murder after another. 3And so the land will dry up, and everything that lives on it will die. All the animals and birds, and even the fish, will die.”
The Lord Accuses the Priests
4The Lord says, “Let no one accuse the people or reprimand them—my complaint is against you priests. 5Night and day you blunder on, and the prophets do no better than you. I am going to destroy Israel, your mother. 6My people are doomed because they do not acknowledge me. You priests have refused to acknowledge me and have rejected my teaching, and so I reject you and will not acknowledge your sons as my priests.
7“The more of you priests there are, the more you sin against me, and so I will turn your honor into disgrace. 8You grow rich from the sins of my people, and so you want them to sin more and more. 9You will suffer the same punishment as the people! I will punish you and make you pay for the evil you do. 10You will eat your share of the sacrifices, but still be hungry. You will worship the fertility gods, but still have no children, because you have turned away from me to follow other gods.”
Today’s Key Verse: Hosea 3:5
The time will come when the people of Israel will once again turn to the LORD their God and to a descendant of David their king. Then they will fear the LORD and will receive his good gifts.
Reread 3:1-5. What words of hope are offered? What promise is given? What accusations are cited in 4:1-10? What punishments will be meted out? What does today’s reading teach you about God?
God of truth, you alone are my God and I worship you. Help me not to be led astray by false teachings, and guide me in the way of your truth. Amen.
Hosea 4:11—5:15: The LORD condemns pagan worship.