God’s Saving Word: Mercy and Forgiveness
Hosea 9:15—10:15: In yesterday’s reading, the earlier verses in chapter 9 describe how the people have turned away from God and have been unfaithful to him, and Hosea warns that the time for punishment has come. In today’s reading, Hosea continues to describe the consequences of the people’s sinfulness, and the LORD pronounces judgment on the people.
The Lord’s Judgment on Israel
15 The Lord says, “All their evildoing began in Gilgal. It was there that I began to hate them. And because of the evil they have done, I will drive them out of my land. I will not love them any more; all their leaders have rebelled against me. 16 The people of Israel are like a plant whose roots have dried up and which bears no fruit. They will have no children, but even if they did, I would kill the children so dear to them.”
The Prophet Speaks about Israel
17 The God I serve will reject his people, because they have not listened to him. They will become wanderers among the nations.
10 The people of Israel were like a grapevine that was full of grapes. The more prosperous they were, the more altars they built. The more productive their land was, the more beautiful they made the sacred stone pillars they worship. 2 The people whose hearts are deceitful must now suffer for their sins. God will break down their altars and destroy their sacred pillars.
3 These people will soon be saying, “We have no king because we did not fear the Lord. But what could a king do for us anyway?” 4 They utter empty words and make false promises and useless treaties. Justice has become injustice, growing like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
5 The people who live in the city of Samaria will be afraid and will mourn the loss of the gold bull[a] at Bethaven.[b] They and the priests who serve the idol will weep over it. They will wail when it is stripped of its golden splendor. 6 The idol will be carried off to Assyria as tribute to the great emperor. The people of Israel will be disgraced and put to shame because of the advice they followed. 7 Their king will be carried off, like a chip of wood on water. 8 The hilltop shrines of Aven,[c] where the people of Israel worship idols, will be destroyed. Thorns and weeds will grow up over their altars. The people will call out to the mountains, “Hide us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”
The Lord Pronounces Judgment on Israel
9 The Lord says, “The people of Israel have not stopped sinning against me since the time of their sin at Gibeah.[d] So at Gibeah war will catch up with them. 10 I will attack[e] this sinful people and punish them. Nations will join together against them, and they will be punished for their many sins.
11 “Israel was once like a well-trained young cow, ready and willing to thresh grain. But I decided to put a yoke[f] on her beautiful neck and to harness her for harder work. I made Judah pull the plow and Israel pull the harrow. 12 I said, ‘Plow new ground for yourselves, plant righteousness, and reap the blessings that your devotion to me will produce. It is time for you to turn to me, your Lord, and I will come and pour out blessings upon you.’ 13 But instead you planted evil and reaped its harvest. You have eaten the fruit produced by your lies.
“Because you trusted in your chariots[g] and in the large number of your soldiers, 14 war will come to your people, and all your fortresses will be destroyed. It will be like the day when King Shalman destroyed the city of Betharbel in battle, and mothers and their children were crushed to death. 15 That is what will happen to you, people of Bethel, because of the terrible evil that you have done. As soon as the battle begins, the king of Israel will die.”
Today’s Key Verse: Hosea 10:12b
“It is time for you to turn to me, your LORD, and I will come and pour out blessings upon you.”
Reread 10:11-15. The metaphor of a well-trained young cow is used to emphasize the people’s responsibility to be devoted to the LORD. If they had remained faithful, what would they have received? In what did the people place their trust? What will be the consequences of their unfaithfulness? According to verse 10:12, what do the people need to do to receive God’s blessings?
Holy God, open my heart and mind to hear your voice and listen to you. Teach me to be obedient to your Word and keep me close in the safety of your love. Amen.
Hosea 11:1-11: God’s love for the people is expressed.