The Lion's Roar

Opening Prayer

Begin by confessing your sins and asking God for forgiveness.

Read Hosea 11:1–11

“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
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?
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?
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.
I will settle them in their homes,”
declares the Lord.

Reflect

How do you respond to people who reject you? How does God respond?

All the love and care that the best human father has when he’s holding his son’s hands, teaching him to walk (3,4), that’s what God’s love for us is like—that’s how God felt about Israel and feels about us. When did you last let that sink in?

Yet like the Israelites, we have all gone astray. God will not be mocked—the persistent intentional rejection of his love (2,7) must be either turned around or it must be punished (5,6). Hosea’s prophecy of judgment in verse 5 is exactly what happened in 522 B.C.—the Assyrian empire destroyed the kingdom of Israel and carried the people off into exile as slaves. The lesson? It’s joy or judgment with God. What can be done for such sinful hearts?

Hosea is full of allusions to a future event called “the Day of the Lord” when the descendant of David will restore the people to their God. That day has come in Christ. What was his lion’s roar
that brought his children home trembling in repentance (10)? The words of Jesus to his eternal Father as he died on the cross for our sin: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). That is the holy God’s response to human sin. He displays his grace in Hosea’s love for an adulterous wife, and he writes it across the skies of history in the blood of his Son. That’s how God brings his children home.

Apply

Receive God’s grace—let him love you.

Closing prayer

Lover of my soul, I rest in You. Hide me in Your shelter as I revel in Your love today.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider