Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”
After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other. – 1 Kings 12:26-30
Today the title character and his story drop completely into the background to focus entirely on Israel and its idolatry. This slide had begun over 200 years before, under the first Jeroboam, and Hosea reiterates the assurance that “Samaria will be held guilty, for she has rebelled against her God…Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me.”
Perhaps you’ve noticed how Hosea jumps around a lot, feeling a bit chaotic. There are many changes of tense and person – ranging through first, second, and third person, even in consecutive verses. Moods change rapidly as well, from warning to wrath to compassion. Remember the LORD’s purpose: that Israel would not look to other gods, or to Assyria, for salvation, but would return to Him. Hosea seems designed to get their attention.
While the LORD wants Israel to acknowledge its recent history of rebellion, there is a deeper history of the LORD’s goodness that Hosea wants them to remember. “When Israel was a child,” the LORD says, “ I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son… it was I who taught Israel to walk…” And should they turn, he promises: “I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them.”
Our verses for this week are Psalm 37:4-5: Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act.
Hosea 9 through 14. Now let’s read it!
Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.