God Changes His Mind

or not.

Hosea 1:10-2:1 (NKJV)

“Yet the number of the children of Israel
Shall be as the sand of the sea,
Which cannot be measured or numbered.
And it shall come to pass
In the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There it shall be said to them,
‘You are sons of the living God.’
Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel
Shall be gathered together,
And appoint for themselves one head;
And they shall come up out of the land,
For great will be the day of Jezreel!

Say to your brethren, ‘My people,’
And to your sisters, ‘Mercy is shown.’”

This feels like God is changing his mind. He just said that He doesn’t love them, and they aren’t His people anymore. Now He proclaims their bright future. Is He having second thoughts?

No, He’s making a point. In those days, getting conquered often meant genocidal extermination. But that’s not going to happen, because it would break God’s promise to Israel.

“For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’” — Genesis 32:12 (NKJV)

So, He renews the promise. The covenant stands.

This is a lesson in the foundations of what grace is. Israel has broken the covenant in spades. God would be perfectly justified if he canceled the whole thing.

But He doesn’t. He thwacks Israel pretty hard—getting conquered and carried into exile is no picnic—but that’s an object lesson. His promises are on a different level. Hosea isn’t just being commanded to expose Israel’s unfaithfulness to the LORD; he’s also commanded to model God’s grace towards Israel. Everyone will feel Hosea’s pain. This should open their eyes to the pain they’re causing God.

Hosea will model God’s response to that pain, which isn’t anything like the tantrum we’d throw. This displays the glory of God’s grace almost as much as the cross. Consider about how important this is.

What’s the purpose of the universe? To glorify God.

How does it do that? By displaying His character.

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Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.