Taken to the Woodshed

in love.

Hosea 2:9-13 (NKJV)

“Therefore I will return and take away

My grain in its time
And My new wine in its season,
And will take back My wool and My linen,
Given to cover her nakedness.
Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers,
And no one shall deliver her from My hand.
I will also cause all her mirth to cease,
Her feast days,
Her New Moons,
Her Sabbaths—
All her appointed feasts.

“And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees,
Of which she has said,
‘These are my wages that my lovers have given me.’
So I will make them a forest,
And the beasts of the field shall eat them.
I will punish her
For the days of the Baals to which she burned incense.
She decked herself with her earrings and jewelry,
And went after her lovers;
But Me she forgot,” says the LORD.

These things sound awful, but not that awful. They’re just disciplining punishments—embarrassments, festivals canceled, vineyards ruined. Something’s holding back God’s wrath.

Read the passage again. God’s hurt and pique are clearly on display. You can feel the hurt feelings, but you can also feel the love. Israel always seems to want to learn lessons the hard way, so God takes them to the woodshed.

Like the loving father that He is, He’s punishing them but not disowning them.

You can feel the Christ in this passage too. This infinitely patient and loving God, who disciplines Israel but never gives up, is the kind of God who would sacrifice Himself to save His people.

The whole Old Testament points to Christ, though obliquely. It doesn’t make simple announcements of what’s coming. That wouldn’t teach. Instead, the Old Testament teaches the concepts needed to understand God’s incredibly creative plan of salvation. Those foundational principles are:
1) God created everything and is all powerful,
2) God created us in His image,
3) We trashed that image when we fell into sin, and
4) God loves His little image bearers anyway; so He doesn’t quit on us.

While the Old Testament makes all four points, points three and four take the most time to teach. We hate point three, so God explains it, over and over, using differing object lessons.

Point four is just, plain complicated. In Hosea God displays the next step in this glorious set-up for the New Testament—He wants to save us. It’s a lesson on God’s love, which is beyond our comprehension.

You can’t explain that kind of love; you have to show it to people.

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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.