“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.” Jacob, to whom God gave the name “Israel,” was one man, but Hosea wrote about the exodus of an entire people group, the descendants of Jacob. In the days of Moses God led His subjugated nation out of captivity. The Lord loved Israel and referred to him as His son. Yet Israel sinned against God.
“The more they were called, the more they went away.” How did they rebel against their Maker? They worshiped other gods, “burning offerings to idols.” God had taught His “son” how “to walk,” yet as time went on, Israel simply would not listen to his Father. Eventually the Lord determined that Assyria would “be their king,” because they “refused to return to Me.”
We should not imagine that God had lost all affection for His wandering elect. “How can I give you up?” When the Lord considered abandoning His beloved people He said, “My heart recoils within Me.” Because of His commitment to His own purposes, the Lord concluded that He would not execute His “burning anger” against His chosen people.
Israel would experience pain, but if the Lord seemed to roar against them, it was only so that His children would “come trembling” again to Him. What was His plan for Israel? “I will return them to their homes, declares the Lord.”
Hosea 11:1 is cited in Matthew 2:15 regarding Jesus, who was brought out of Egypt by divine revelation. We have now come to understand more about the meaning of this verse which tells us about the workings of God’s steadfast love. God’s eternal Son was the Substitute for His sinful people, Israel, and not just for the Jews but for all who would call upon His Name. The Savior rescued us out of our inescapable bondage through His own life and death. We are now sons and daughters of God through our Brother and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, You have been patient with us, though we have often rebelled against You. Thank You for the gift of Your only-begotten Son. He never disobeyed Your commandments. He walked with You in perfect faithfulness. In Him we have been granted the benefits of Your covenant mercies.