When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.Hosea 11:1(NASB)
The meaning of Hosea is 'Salvation', and in the book of Hosea we read the amazing history of a faithful, prophet of God, who is instructed to marry a prostitute.. but she continues her harlotry throughout their marriage.
The shocking nature of Hosea's marriage is difficult for us to comprehend. And yet this is what happened in the life of this godly man, and is recorded for our learning.
Throughout the book we see a sharply defined parallel between.. a) Hosea and his unfaithful wife, Gomer and b) the Lord God of our salvation, and the apostate nation of Israel.
For most of the book we read about the heart-breaking, life-story of a man... married to a wanton woman, who repeatedly betrays him with many lovers, and which paints a graphic picture of Israel's unfaithfulness to the Lord, and her ongoing idolatry .. which included the sins of the peoples and the wickedness of the priests.
In the final verses of the book we discover the depth of God's love for Israel, who are urged to repent of their sins and finally to benefit from God's gracious blessings and everlasting faithfulness - just as Gomer finally repented of her adultery and unfaithfulness. Nevertheless, we continue to be astonished about Israel's long-term ingratitude towards their Saviour, and are ashamed to recognise some similar failings in our own lives, when we have left our first love, or wandered far from the God of our salvation.
One can almost feel the intense pain that God felt, as we read.. When Israel was a youth I loved him - and out of Egypt I called My son. It was love for the little nation of Israel that caused God to take Abraham out of his pagan country, in Chaldea, and it was by grace that God promised to make him into a great nation - through whom all the families of the earth would be blessed.
It was out of love that God chose Israel to become His peculiar people and a chosen nation, and it was God's love that protected them from the enemies that encompassed them, and provided for them in the wilderness, and in the promised land of Canaan.
It was out of love that God determined that Israel would be the people by which the Scriptures would be written and through whom the promised Messiah would be born. And love for His chosen nation caused God to reveal, to Pharaoh himself, that Israel were His special people, His adopted son and His chosen heritage!
The more God cared for Israel, the greater was their apostasy, and yet in His anger and wrath, the Lord remembered mercy, and we discover that the day is coming when God's people will be ultimately restored.
There is no hint that this Old Testament verse refers to anything other than Israel's deliverance from Egypt - When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son. Israel were delivered from Egypt at the time of the first Passover supper, when the first-born of unbelieving Egypt were slaughtered by the angel of death. But Matthew, was prompted.. by the Holy Spirit, to apply this same verse to the Lord Jesus Christ, Whose parents fled into Egypt for a season, to escape the slaughter of those innocent babies, when the wicked king Herod heard of His birth. And so we read of the Lord Jesus - out of Egypt I called My Son.
God's promise to ultimately restore Israel as His chosen people, through Hosea's prophecy, still stands - but it will happen at God's time and in God's way. Although Israel rejected their Messiah and crucified their King, it was love that caused the Father to send His only begotten Son into the world, to redeem mankind from their sin.. and it was love that caused the Lord Jesus to set aside His heavenly glory, and be born into the fallen human race, so that He could shed His own shed blood - which alone is has the power to forgive the sins of ALL who will call on the name of the Lord, for salvation.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the amazing story of Hosea, whose life became such a beautiful picture of Your love for Israel and such an amazing comfort for all Your children. Thank You that You are a faithful God and that in Your mercy You have done all that is necessary for me to be forgiven of my sins - past, present and future - by faith in Christ. Thank You that by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone, I am eternally Yours. And thank You, that nothing can separate me from Your love, and that nothing can pluck me out of Your hands. Keep me faithful to my calling, in Jesus name I pray. AMEN.