God’s Word of Mercy and Forgiveness
Hosea 11:12—12:14: Hosea recounts Israel’s early history and urges the people to return to God. He also declares that the people will be punished because of the disgrace they have brought on the Lord.
Israel and Judah Are Condemned
12The 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.
1Everything 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.”
2The 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. 5This was the Lord God Almighty—the Lord is the name by which he is to be worshiped. 6So 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
7The 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. 11Yet 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. 14The 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 12:6b
Trust in your God and return to him. Be loyal and just, and wait patiently for your God to act.
In what ways have the people been dishonest and unjust? Throughout Israel’s history, what has been the role of the prophets (verse 10)? Are there prophetic voices among us today?
Righteous God, you send prophets among us to speak your voice. Teach us to heed your warnings and hear your call to return to you and follow your ways. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Hosea 13:1-16: More words of judgment are declared.