Hosea 11 (NIV)
When Ephraim was young,
God led them with words of love,
And they will return.
–The Gendai Bible (each chapter summarized in a haiku)
by Rev. Frederick K. Boyle
God’s Love for Israel
“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
“Out of Egypt.” This last line has a double meaning. God remembers His tender love for Israel, when more than 500 years before the time of Hosea He brought them out of Egypt. But this is also a prophecy fulfilled in the life of Jesus. Matthew 2:15 shows how the words “out of Egypt I called My son” were fulfilled when the child Jesus returned from Egypt after escaping there on the eve of Herod’s massacre of the innocents.
2 But the more they were called,
the more they went away from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals
and they burned incense to images.
3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
it was I who healed them.
4 I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
a little child to the cheek,
and I bent down to feed them.
5 “Will they not return to Egypt
and will not Assyria rule over them
because they refuse to repent?
verb (used without object)
1.to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; regret or be conscience-stricken about a past action, attitude, etc. (often followed by of): He repented after his thoughtless act.
2.to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better; be penitent.
6 A sword will flash in their cities;
it will devour their false prophets
and put an end to their plans.
7 My people are determined to turn from me.
Even though they call me God Most High,
I will by no means exalt them.
8 “How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
How can I make you like Zeboyim?
Admah and Zeboiim were two cities near Sodom and Gomorrah that were also destroyed (Deuteronomy 29:23).
My heart is changed within me;
all my compassion is aroused.
9 I will not carry out my fierce anger,
nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man—
the Holy One among you.
I will not come against their cities.
10 They will follow the Lord;
he will roar like a lion.
When he roars,
his children will come trembling from the west.
11 They will come from Egypt,
trembling like sparrows,
from Assyria, fluttering like doves.
Such vivid imagery! Such contrast! God as a roaring lion, his people as trembling sparrows and fluttering doves.
I will settle them in their homes,”
declares the Lord.
12 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
Israel with deceit.
And Judah is unruly against God,
even against the faithful Holy One.
Can you hear God’s broken heart at their/our sin and their/our refusal to repent?
HERE is a “broken heart” song that you probably haven’t heard in a while! The Bee Gees and “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?”