Despite the "days of punishment" (9:7), God will keep His promises to Israel and blessings will come when judgment is complete. God must discipline, but because of His endless love, in the day of Israel's "return" (14:1-3), He will ultimately save and restore them:
I will heal their waywardness
...and love them freely,
...for my anger has turned away from them.
This is the fifth and final cycle of judgment followed by salvation found in Hosea. Now that you have finished reading, can you name the previous ones?
God is a God of justice, but these words of Isaiah the prophet say it all about God's heart of love for His people:
The Lord longs to be gracious to you,And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.For the Lord is a God of justice;How blessed are all those who long for Him. (Isaiah 30:18)
REFLECTION and APPLICATION
Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
Whoever is discerning, let him know them.
For the ways of the Lord are right,
And the righteous will walk in them,
But transgressors will stumble in them.
Hosea's warning is not just for Israel and Judah, but it is for us as well. He closes with an appeal to listen and learn from Israel's mistakes. The only way we can have success in life is to follow the Lord's way. We can walk or we can stumble, but the choice is completely ours.
Which will it be for you?
Lord, thank You that You long to be gracious to us, love us, and want to see us walk uprightly. We want to be wise and discerning. We want to understand the message of this book and apply it to our lives. Help us to walk in Your ways rather than stumble down the path of life. Help us to make good choices along the way. We ask this in the name of the One who always walked according to Your way in order to be an example for us all. Amen.