Hosea 11 is a story of God’s divine compassion on his people despite their repetitive forsaking of him. God, though he is just and therefore punishes them by exile, also finds compassion on them and is able to restore them to their land. Many great values can be taken from Hosea 11. First, the importance of being faithful to the Lord is exemplified as the Israelites are seen forsaking God and therefore being punished (11:1-7). Second, the Lord’s mercy is shown through his heart softening toward his people (11:8-9). Third, the Lord’s faithfulness to his people is also revealed as he brings them back to their home land after exile (11:10-11). These values of the importance of our faithfulness, the Lord’s mercy, and the Lord’s faithfulness are a great illustration of the life of believers today.
Hosea 11 first shows how important it is for the people of God to be faithful to God. If they are not faithful, punishment will indeed come to them (11:5-7). Not only should impending punishment be a reason to be faithful, but also the reminder that God has cared for his people as his own child (11:1) and raised them (3-4). It is for these reasons that the people of God should continue to be faithful to him. Yet the people, whether it is Israel in Hosea 11 or believers in the present, fail to be faithful. While their failure does bring consequences, it also leaves room for God’s mercy.
Because consequences come for faithlessness, God’s mercy is able to be shown in a greater light. Hosea 11 shows God’s heart growing warm and his compassion increasing toward his people (11:8-9). Even though he had punished his people for their sins, he found compassion upon them because of his divine nature. The people of Israel were not wiped out and forgotten because God had compassion upon them in Hosea 11. While we might experiences consequences today, we are not wiped out or put to death, as the people of Israel were also not entirely wiped out. This mercy that the Lord shows his people is also a reason they should continue to be faithful to him. The people do not experience God’s fierce anger because of his divine mercy. Instead, they experience his compassion and his faithfulness.
The Lord’s mercy and his faithfulness go together. God’s faithfulness to his people is shown in Hosea 11 in verses 10-11 as he brings his people back to their home after exile. He remains faithful to his people through the exile and eventually returns them to their land. Despite their lack of faithfulness, the Lord is still faithful to them. In the same way, the Lord is continually faithful to believers today. While it might not be as drastic as bringing us back from exile, it manifests in other ways. The Lord’s faithfulness to his people is yet another reason for his people to also continue to be faithful to him.
Hosea 11 demonstrates the importance of faithfulness to God as well as God’s mercy and faithfulness to his people. It is important for the people of God to remain faithful to the Lord, not just because he calls them his children or because he cares for them, but also because he is merciful and faithful to them. These values found in Hosea 11 of the importance of being faithful to God, God’s mercy, and also God’s faithfulness all tie together, not just for the people of Israel, but also for the people of God today.