-God’s love for His children is demonstrated beautifully in this chapter. As the chapter begins His kind acts are portrayed. He nurtured and cared for them when they were young and in slavery. He rescued them out of danger and annihilation (Hosea 11:1). He taught them, led them, and took them into His arms (Hosea 11:3,4). But the more He bent down to heal and fed them, the more they rebelled and refused His graces (Hosea 11:4). They followed after the false gods of the Baals and burned incense to idols. *Application* The children of Israel needed a more grateful heart. Instead of thanksgiving in the realization that their LORD was their healer, they abandoned the God of the universe and went their own way. We do this as well when we forget God’s abundant blessings and teachings in our lives. He is the giver of all good and perfect gifts (James 1:16-17). Let us remember to be a grateful and humble people in the sight of our God at all times.
-Because of their refusal to return to God they will be carried off to Assyria (Hosea 11:5). *Application* Lean times will come into any believers’ lives when they stray from the path and continue in rebellion and unfaithfulness. This is for our benefit and an act of love on the part of our Sovereign. It is His correction for our disobedience and we should straighten up and repent when we realize what we’ve done wrong.
-Because of their bad counsel they will be consumed (Hosea 11:6). *Application* Listening to the wrong advice can get us into all kinds of trouble. Be careful who you let influence you. You can easily be consumed by the wrong counsel and end up worse off than you started. We all need answers to problems and situations we face in life. God’s counsel from His Word is the perfect place to inquire when we have questions (Psalm 119:105). With His Holy Spirit’s illumination, we can find the right kind of help in our time of need (James 1:5-6). Study the Scriptures and receive the wisdom of the LORD. Neglect it and you will perish with your lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).
-They worship God with their mouth only (Hosea 11:7). He is not exalted; they are bent on turning from Him. *Application* God is well informed as to who is the real deal and who is the hypocrite. He doesn’t want our lip service, but action (James 1:23-25). Be a doer. Our actions reflect what we truly believe in our heart. Check your motives and be sincere. You cannot fool the LORD. He knows all things.
-God’s heart is turned over within Him and His compassions are kindled (Hosea 11:8) as He remembers His great love for them once more. His mercy is unfailing despite the lies and deceit of Ephraim and Israel (Hosea 11:12). He will not utterly destroy again because He is God and far above man’s ways (Hosea 11:9). He is faithful even when treated wrongly by His people (Hosea 11:12). He is holy in their midst (Hosea 11:9). *Application* Through it all God maintains His presence with His people and is patient beyond all comprehension. We must recognize what kind of LORD we have. He overlooks our sin through the blood of Jesus Christ and forgives our iniquity even when we don’t deserve it. This kindness must never be taken for granted. Live your life with complete gratitude in love because of our great and awesome Savior. He is the One who heals!
-*Interpretative Issue* Some translations pair Judah with Ephraim and Israel in the unfaithful and sinful acts against God (NASB, NIV). Other translations conclude that Judah is on God’s side in a complete antithesis of the rebellious northern kingdom (KJV, NKJ, ESV, CSB). From my study I concur with the later view that God is preserving Judah as a faithful ally who still walks (literally in the Hebrew “roams”) with God. The key for me was the preposition “with” here.
Verse to Memorize: Hosea 11:9