God’s Word of Mercy and Forgiveness
Hosea 13:1-16: Today’s reading includes final words of judgment because of the people’s sinfulness. The people are reminded of being delivered from bondage in Egypt but have turned away from God. The chapter concludes with the declaration of harsh punishments.
Final Judgment on Israel
1In the past, when the tribe of Ephraim spoke, the other tribes of Israel were afraid; they looked up to Ephraim. But the people sinned by worshiping Baal, and for this they will die. 2They still keep on sinning by making metal images to worship—idols of silver, designed by human minds, made by human hands. And then they say, “Offer sacrifices to them!” How can anyone kiss those idols—idols in the shape of bulls! 3And so these people will disappear like morning mist, like the dew that vanishes early in the day. They will be like chaff which the wind blows from the threshing place, like smoke from a chimney.
4The Lord says, “I am the Lord your God, who led you out of Egypt. You have no God but me. I alone am your savior. 5 I took care of you in a dry, desert land. 6But when you entered the good land, you became full and satisfied, and then you grew proud and forgot me. 7So I will attack you like a lion. Like a leopard I will lie in wait along your path. 8I will attack you like a bear that has lost her cubs, and I will tear you open. Like a lion I will devour you on the spot, and will tear you to pieces like a wild animal.
9“I will destroy you, people of Israel! Then who can help you? 10 You asked for a king and for leaders, but how can they save the nation? 11 In my anger I have given you kings, and in my fury I have taken them away.
12“Israel’s sin and guilt are on record, and the records are safely stored away. 13Israel has a chance to live, but is too foolish to take it—like a child about to be born, who refuses to come out of the womb. 14 I will not save this people from the world of the dead or rescue them from the power of death. Bring on your plagues, death! Bring on your destruction, world of the dead! I will no longer have pity for this people. 15Even though Israel flourishes like weeds, I will send a hot east wind from the desert, and it will dry up their springs and wells. It will take away everything of value. 16Samaria must be punished for rebelling against me. Her people will die in war; babies will be dashed to the ground, and pregnant women will be ripped open.”
Today’s Key Verse: Hosea 13:4
The LORD says, “I am the LORD your God, who led you out of Egypt. You have no God but me. I alone am your savior.”
What did the people forget about God after they had been led out of Egypt and had entered a new land? What will God now do? What verses reflect God’s anger? What are your thoughts as you read these verses? Reread verse 13. Why is Israel described as being too foolish to take its chance to live? Have you ever experienced a time when you turned down an opportunity even though it would have been something beneficial?
Kind and merciful God, you alone are my Savior. You have rescued me from bondage to sin and death. May my words and deeds this day reflect my love for you. I thank and praise you for the blessing of your grace. Amen.
Hosea 14:1-9: Hosea urges the people to return to the LORD.