Hosea 11-14
(Bridge to Redemption)
September 16th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Click here for a print- friendly version

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

What are you waiting for? Return to your God!
    Commit yourself in love, in justice!
Wait for your God,
    and donít give up on himóever

- Hosea 12:6 (MSG)

Summary of Chapters

These chapters close out the book of Hosea with a discussion concerning the love of God and a prophecy for salvation. In chapter 11, the LORD describes his deep love for Israel. He taught the people and gently led them, but they turned from him. It is with a heavy heart that the LORD allows Israel to be taken over by its enemies. They deserve the consequences but he does not like to see them suffer.

In chapter 12 the LORD recounts a long history of Jacobís (all of Israelís) aggressive nature. As described in Genesis, Jacob began life grabbing his brotherís heel on the way out of the womb, wrestled with an angel all night at Bethel, and expanded his father-in-laws herd of sheep so he could win the wife of his desire and his share of the flock, as recounted in the book of Genesis.

Although he had his faults, Jacob constantly sought God and removed all of the false idols from his house. But the characteristic of aggressiveness became unrestrained among his descendants, the people of Israel. Many of these folks had developed greedy tendencies and believed they could get away with sin because they were wealthy, They had wrongly assumed that the wealth was a sign of the LORD's blessing and approval. The LORD had saved one generation of Jacobís descendants from Egypt by sending Moses, but there was not going to be any savior coming this time.

Chapter 13 records a final statement regarding the sins of Israel. Because of their wickedness the nation would disappear like a morning mist or a puff of smoke. But In chapter 14, the author gives a sermon of hope to Israel Ė a bridge to redemption if they repent and recognize that no other power on earth can save them. If they did this, then the LORD would forgive them and make them blessed again. The author concludes with a final statement on the future paths that are available to all people. He says he will heal them and allow them to set root again and blossom, but in the final verse of Hosea he reiterates that he will always allow for free will:

    Who is wise? He will realize these things.
        Who is discerning? He will understand them.
    The ways of the LORD are right;
       the righteous walk in them.
        but the rebellious stumble in them.

    - Hosea 14:9 (NIV)

Reflection and Application

If God were human, then the beginning of chapter 11 would be a sign of a broken heart. He cared for and taught the people of Israel, but they showered their praise on false idols (referred to as the Baals). The behavior of these people is a reminder to us to show our gratitude to God and to other people for what they have done for us. Let us be prompt and sincere in our acts of appreciation and reciprocity.

When we review the entirety of Hosea we can see the crisscrossing themes of justice and salvation. The authors of the commentary for this section in the Life Application Study Bible remind us of the importance of balancing our own characteristics of love and justice:

    The two principles that Hosea called his nation to live by, love and justice, are at the very foundation of God's character. They are essential to his followers, but they are not easy to keep in balance....Love without justice, because it is not aiming at a higher standard, leaves people in their sin. Justice without love, because it has no heart, drives people away from God. To specialize in one at the expense of the other is to distort our witness. Today's church, just like Hosea's nation, must live by both principles.

In chapter 13, God addresses the ultimate redemption:

    I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

    - Hosea 13:14 (KJV)

Who would pay this ransom? His own son would, with his life. The apostle Paul quotes this passage from Hosea and one from Isaiah 25:8 when he concludes his lesson on resurrection in chapter 15 of his first letter to the Corinthians 1 Corinthians 15 (see verses 54-55).

Paul then reminds us that this concept is important so that we know that our work is not in vain. Therefore, let us walk across the bridge offered to us and go to God with our confessions. He will judge our sin, but forgive us and call us to remain faithful and serve him by following his instructions.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What was thickest fog that you have ever encountered?
    2. Jacob was born grasping the heel of his twin brother from the womb. Whose heel have you been grabbing in life?
    3. How do we know when we have a wise and discerning heart? What will be the signs?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven we know that you judge us and are ready to forgive us. Help us to fear you but not be afraid to approach you in praise and confession..

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Newborn Babies

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Joel 1-3 (Itís Not Too Late!)

    Comments and Questions
    Please add your thoughts to our Comments page or send your comments and questions to the author at ted@listeningforGod.org or share your comments or question via the Listening for God Twitter account

    Click to follow Listening for God(@listeningforgod)