A short book, but a beautiful one in the portrait it paints of God.
Hosea 3:1 “Love her (your wife) as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods”
Hosea 11 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. It was I who taught Ephraim (Jacob/Israel) to walk, taking them by the arms, but they did not realize it was I who healed them…I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them…”
Next to this passage in Hosea 11, I had written from years ago the word “Abba,” which I was always told best translated to “Daddy,” an affectionate term for a father. It’s true–this passage is showing us our daddy and his loving care for us. Most of Hosea talks about Israel’s sin and the way they’ve strayed from the LORD, but that makes these short passages about God’s love for a sinful people even more powerful! I’m not trying to ignore God’s disappointment with the unfaithfulness of Israel, because without that disappointment the love would mean so much less. But the love is what stands out as significant, the love is what stands out as the key to who the Lord is.
I’ve always known Hosea to be a book about a prophet who marries a prostitute and sticks by her side despite her unfaithfulness, showing how God stays by his people despite their unfaithfulness. It is about this, but it’s also about God’s role as parent to a disobedient child. Hmm. Maybe more meaningful now as a wife and (almost) mother than it was years ago when I last read the book.