Israel “feeds on the wind.” The Hebrew word for wind can also mean “spirit.” God’s nation was not eagerly seeking a true word from heaven but the false directions of idols that would lead them toward worldly greed and violence. They trusted more in the power of Assyria and Egypt than they did in the I-AM.
The Lord had revealed Himself to Jacob, the great patriarch of the Jews, many centuries before Hosea. Though Jacob had grown in grace through the difficulties of His life, his descendants were definitely not increasing in holiness. The Almighty called on them to “return” to Him by the “help” that He Himself would supply.
God had spoken through true prophets from the days of Moses and throughout the centuries that followed. He had warned His children of the consequences of rebellion. They imagined that they could continue in prosperity despite their dishonesty. Like Jacob, they needed to hear the Word of the Lord and to learn through the trials that they were about to experience.
In every age the Lord brings His people through significant testing. He has promised His church that we will have “tribulation” in our lives (John 16:33). The important issue for us is the direction that we turn when we face divinely-ordained tests. Will we let our troubles teach us that the Lord alone is God, returning to Him in humility and gentleness? Will we instead become proud and defiant, insisting on our own way? One choice leads to Christlikeness, the other to fleshly anger.
The Lord will sanctify His beloved bride. Will she recognize her own Husband? What is her reaction to His Word that He speaks through His ambassadors? He always asks His disciples this necessary question: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
When we are at our worst, we sometimes let our difficulties turn us away from the King who died for us and who is entirely committed to our eternal well-being. There is only one good option for us at such key moments of decision: “By the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.”
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord of Hosts, how could Your people have ever have thought that it was wise to treat powerful nations as trusted fathers? How could it have ever seemed right to forsake You, the only true God and Father of Your children? The rulers of the world care very little about our sin, but You are holy. You have spoken through the prophets, and have made it clear to Your loved ones that we must live according to Your Word. Rescue us not only from our enemies, but also from our rebellious nature and from our disgraceful deeds.