God Isn’t Fickle

People of Israel and Judah,
what can I do with you?
Your love for me disappears
more quickly than mist
or dew at sunrise.
That’s why I slaughtered you
with the words
of my prophets.
That’s why my judgments blazed
like the dawning sun.
I’d rather for you to be faithful
and to know me
than to offer sacrifices.
At a place named Adam,
you betrayed me
by breaking our agreement.
Everyone in Gilead is evil;
your hands are stained
with the blood of victims.

You priests are like a gang
of robbers in ambush.
On the road to Shechem
you murder and commit
other horrible crimes.
I have seen a terrible thing
in Israel—
you are unfaithful
and unfit to worship me.
People of Judah,
your time is coming too. (Hosea 6:4-11)

Human love can be very fickle, coming and going over the least offense. Hosea had married a prostitute because God told him to, so his wife spent most of her time elsewhere, with other men. She didn’t love him. Likewise, for God: Israel gave him lip service, but her real passion was for the other gods, the ones she really cared about, since she spent all their time with them.

God listed three places that people had been unfaithful to him: Adam, which was near the Jordan River, Gilead, which was a region near Adam, and Shechem, in central Palestine. The people were guilty of unfaithfulness to God and unfaithfulness to one another. Even the priests, who were supposed to represent God acted like a criminal gang. This was nothing new. Even in the days of Samuel, before Saul became king, the priests had taken advantage of those few people who had come to worship Yahweh. Eli’s sons were not the first and would not be the last to misbehave. But by the time of Hosea, God’s patience was near an end and what he had done to Eli’s sons, with the ark of God captured by the Philistines, he now intended to do to the nation as a whole. Hosea’s wife wound up sold as a slave. He redeemed her from the slave market. Eventually, Israel would become captive, and eventually God would redeem Israel from Babylon. Neither Hosea’s wife nor Israel had done anything to merit redemption. They were both redeemed on account of a love that was not fickle. God’s love for us is not fickle.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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