"Love and Judgment, God's Dilemma (Hosea)" April 13, 2013
Hosea 7:11, 12; 10:11-13; Matthew 11:28-30; Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24, Hosea 14
This week would have been a good week to tour the American Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. The annual Holocaust day of remembrance in Israel is April 8th, a solemn day in which restaurants, cafes and theaters shut down. Radio and TV stations air documentaries about the Holocaust as well as interviews with survivors and somber music. Commemorations were held in this country as well.
At the appointed time Monday, a two-minute siren was sounded throughout Israel to honor victims. People stopped what they were doing and bowed their head in remembrance. Even if they were traveling in a car, they stopped, got out of their car and stood quietly in tribute to the six million Jews systematically murdered by German Nazis and their collaborators during World War II.1
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry participated in a wreath laying ceremony in Israel where he traveled to work on breaking down mistrust between Palestinians and Israelis.2
The American Holocaust Museum not only remembers the victims but also pays tribute to the brave men and women who risked their lives to free their fellow human beings from Nazi oppression. "Oskar Schindler's actions to protect Jews during the Holocaust have earned him a special place among honored rescuers. His transformation from Nazi war profiteer to protector of Jews is the subject of several documentaries, the best-selling novel Schindler's List (1982) by Thomas Keneally, and an Academy award-winning film."3
Earlier in history, Prophet Hosea was called by God to rescue the Jewish nation from itself. As God's appointed prophet Hosea was asked to declare God's impending judgment on Israel's Northern Kingdom. The children of Israel had been living in one of the most prosperous times yet had fallen into unprecedented immorality.
In the first three chapters of his prophetic book, Hosea uses a husband-wife metaphor to show God's love for his erring children. In this week's study Hosea compares God's love for Israel to a parent's unconditional love for a misbehaving child.
Like a prodigal son, Israel chose to turn a deaf ear to God's Prophet and instead turned to other countries, Baal, and other idols they erected on every hill and valley. People were more interested in themselves than in God's direction for their lives. Families were structurally and morally dysfunctional. Even the priests and religious leaders were corrupt. The people had abandoned God and God's laws.
God suffers when people are unfaithful. God does not condone sin. As our lesson points out, God will never cease to love and consequently seeks to win back those who have forsaken God.
If you, like Israel, have become more interested in self than in God's direction for your life, let Hosea's story reassure you that God's love, mercy and forgiveness is always available.
1. Yahoo News
2. World News
Additional Resource: USHMM