July 20 (Daily reading: Hosea 1-7; quotes are from NIV) God gave Hosea a difficult assignment: “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD” (1:2). God used his marriage and the birth of his children to foretell how He would judge Israel because of their unfaithfulness. God told Hosea: “Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods” (3:1). Israel’s guilt was obvious: “There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land” (4:1).
Chapters 1 and 2 present a story of judgment and restoration. God’s judgment was severe: “For you are not my people, and I am not your God” (1:9). Paul quoted Hosea 1:10 to show that God would forgive and restore His people: “In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God’” (Rom. 9:26).
God also said that Israel “went after her lovers, but me she forgot” (2:13). Once again, God’s grace would be revealed: “I will make the Valley of Achor (trouble) a door of hope” (2:15). God described what would happen when Israel returned to Him. “‘In that day I will respond,’ declares the LORD … ‘I will plant her for myself in the land’” (Hos. 2:21, 23). Paul quoted Hosea 2:23 to show God’s heart: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” (Rom. 9:25). Paul quoted Hosea “to make the riches of his glory known” (Rom. 9:23).
Hear the invitation to each of us: “Come, let us return to the LORD … he will heal us … he will bind up our wounds … he will revive us … he will restore us, that we may live in his presence” (Hos. 6:1-2).
– Al Gary