God’s Saving Word: Mercy and Forgiveness
Hosea 11:12—12:14: Today’s reading includes further words of condemnation and judgment. The people’s ancestor Jacob is recalled along with references to God’s rescuing the people from slavery in Egypt.
Israel and Judah Are Condemned
12 The Lord says, “The people of Israel have surrounded me with lies and deceit, and the people of Judah are still rebelling against me, the faithful and holy God.
12 Everything that the people of Israel do from morning to night is useless and destructive. Treachery and acts of violence increase among them. They make treaties with Assyria and do business with Egypt.”
2 The Lord has an accusation to bring against the people of Judah; he is also going to punish Israel for the way her people act. He will pay them back for what they have done. 3 Their ancestor Jacob struggled with his twin brother Esau while the two of them were still in their mother’s womb; when Jacob grew up, he fought against God— 4 he fought against an angel and won. He wept and asked for a blessing. And at Bethel God came to our ancestor Jacob and spoke with him.[a] 5 This was the Lord God Almighty—the Lord is the name by which he is to be worshiped. 6 So now, descendants of Jacob, trust in your God and return to him. Be loyal and just, and wait patiently for your God to act.
Further Words of Judgment
7 The Lord says, “The people of Israel are as dishonest as the Canaanites; they love to cheat their customers with false scales. 8 ‘We are rich,’ they say. ‘We’ve made a fortune. And no one can accuse us of getting rich dishonestly.’ 9 But I, the Lord your God who led you out of Egypt, I will make you live in tents again, as you did when I came to you in the desert.
10 “I spoke to the prophets and gave them many visions, and through the prophets I gave my people warnings. 11 Yet idols are worshiped in Gilead, and those who worship them will die. Bulls are sacrificed in Gilgal, and the altars there will become piles of stone in the open fields.”
12 Our ancestor Jacob had to flee to Mesopotamia, where, in order to get a wife, he worked for another man and took care of his sheep. 13 The Lord sent a prophet to rescue the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt and to take care of them. 14 The people of Israel have made the Lord bitterly angry; they deserve death for their crimes. Their Lord will punish them for the disgrace they have brought on him.
Today’s Key Verse: Hosea 12:10
[The LORD says:] “I spoke to the prophets and gave them many visions, and through the prophets I gave my people warnings.”
How is the behavior of the people described (11:12—12:1)? Reread 12:3-6. What can be learned from the reference to Israel’s ancestor Jacob? According to 12:6, what word of hope is given? (The references to Jacob cited in today’s reading can be found in Genesis 28:12-17; 29:1-20; 32:22-32.)
Almighty God, I trust in you and praise your holy name. I place my hope in you, and I seek to be loyal to your teachings and serve as a beacon of your love and justice. Amen.
And now, join us in praying for the traumatized children of Ukraine who are receiving God’s Word. Sovereign God, the war in Ukraine has resulted in unthinkable suffering that has left deep scars on the hearts of an entire generation of children. Children are struggling to survive with grave injuries to their bodies and deep trauma to their hearts. Thank you, Lord God, that the Ukraine Bible Society is hosting children’s camps in a relatively safe region in Ukraine where children are made to feel safe and loved. There they receive children’s Bibles and “Survival Kit” care packages to help them continue in their walk of faith and healing. Praise to you, Lord God, that the generous support of Bible-A-Month Partners is bringing healing and helping to make life-changing outreach possible for the traumatized children of Ukraine. Amen.
Hosea 13:1-16: The prophet Hosea delivers final words of judgment on Israel.