I Want To Redeem Them!
Woe to them, for they fled from Me; destruction to them, for they rebelled against Me! Though I want to redeem ⌊them⌋, they speak lies against Me.
Hosea 7:13 (HCSB)
One word from God’s mouth sets the tone for this entire section: woe.
God is dismayed and hurt at what he sees as he views his people Israel. They have strayed from me…they have rebelled against me. God had done all he would do. His heart was right toward his people: I want to redeem them.
But redemption calls for a people to turn back to God in repentance, to renew their knowledge of and relationship with God. Instead of returning to the Lord, they have strayed farther and farther away.
God’s people give no indication they want redemption. They go so far as to speak lies against God. Apparently, they claim one thing about the Lord as they go to worship him and an entirely different thing as they go to the high places to worship the Baals.
They pledge covenant faithfulness in worship but break every commandment and every covenant expectation once they leave God’s worship place. Eventually, they visit only the Baal places of worship, claiming they can worship both Baal and God there.
They proclaim trust in the Lord to save them from their enemies as he had in the past, but then they go running to Egypt and Assyria, their greatest enemies, for help against the smaller neighbouring enemies.
They do not cry to Me from their heart, but they wail upon their beds; they gash and distress and assemble themselves [in mourning] for grain and new wine; they rebel against Me.
Hosea 7:14 (AMP)
In time of need, especially in the time of the judges (Judg. 10:10), Israel cried out to God for help. Now Israel chose to wail upon their beds. “Wail” is a term of lamentation and mourning.
We hear it as sleepless people with tearful eyes lamenting their fate and hoping for relief. A quite different meaning apparently rang in Israelite ears. Beds were part of the Canaanite worship ritual for Baal. Garrett appears to be on the right track as he writes:
“This line refers to ritual wailing for the deceased Baal as part of fertility rites. Details of the rituals of the cults are lost to us, but they certainly included both prostitution at the shrines and ceremonial lamentation”.
Though I disciplined and strengthened their arms, Yet they devise evil against Me;
Hosea 7:15 (NKJV)
The Lord knew his history with his people. There were no people until he led them out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, and through the wilderness. They learned all they knew from God.
- But they forgot.
- They fled.
- They rebelled.
- They lied.
- It got so bad that they plot evil against me – again placed in a strong contrast clause.
Israel’s relationship with God has come too much more than simply forgetting and wandering away. It is outright rebellion and evil plotting to defeat God and win victory for Baal.
They return, but not to the most High: they are like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.
Hosea 7:16 (KJV)
God concludes his lament over his people. The people of Israel return, but they do not repent. They turn, but not in the right direction. They return to their false worship and arrogant actions. They return upward to the high places rather than upward to the Most High.
Thus they are like a bow unprepared for the battle that their actions and attitudes have made inevitable. Instead of facing God’s blessings, they face the result of their own cursing.
Rather than celebrating their deliverance from Egypt in the annual Passover festival, they will find themselves again the object of ridicule and mocking in Egypt, having retraced the exodus journey in the opposite direction. Having failed to meet God’s desires, his people will go back to stage one – slavery in Egypt.
Sinful humans often expect God to return to them because they go through simple religious exercises and repeat words of repentance and pleas for help. But God desires much more from his people before he turns from his decision to harvest them like a person would thresh wheat.
We are to be progressively transformed into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, not conformed to this world.
Heavenly Father, you have shown us what you desire in our lives. We raise your desires up as the goal of our lives. May we not disappoint You. I pray Lord that we would worship You, only You. I pray we would not turn our backs on you and worship Baal. Redeem us Father and help us to get Egypt out of our hearts. Help us to be true to you. Help us know you more and more each day.
I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen.
Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Amazed
Holman Old Testament Commentary