Typically when I read something similar to Hosea 5, I have an inclination to classify God’s actions under “Old Testament God.” While I’ve heard countless times that God’s character is constant and never changing (James 1:17 is one of many examples), it’s very difficult to not delineate some form of variation from a God that shows His wrath and a God that is full of mercy. Often times I see “OT God” as vengeful and full of wrath and “NT God” as merciful and full of grace. However, not only is this delineation false, it causes a huge misunderstanding of the goodness of God’s character.
The entire passage of Hosea 5 discusses the curse and wrath the Israelites have brought upon themselves by being unfaithful to God. Hosea essentially is reciting a poetic call of wrath upon the Israelites from God. As I read through these verses, I find it difficult to understand how God, the one who sent Jesus - the one that loves all (John 3:16-17), can be so full of wrath. However, a huge piece of understand the OT is understanding the context in which it was written. While it is commonly much easier to see application and understanding based on NT passages (like Paul’s letters or the Gospels), so too is the OT immensely important for understanding God’s true character.
Earlier in the OT, in chapters 19 through 24 of Exodus, God makes a covenant (promise) on Mt. Sinai with Moses, often referred to as the Mosaic Covenant or the Old Covenant (common name in the NT). In Exodus 19, God makes clear the importance of the Israelites obedience, and the Israelites agree to be faithful to their promise. Later in the OT, in Deuteronomy 28, the details of the blessings and curses associated with this covenant are explained. It’s important to know that the Israelites were in full understanding and agreement with the entire covenant/promise they made with God.
So what can you take from this? I find it incredibly helpful to see God’s faithfulness (despite the difference in form it seems to sometimes take) throughout scripture. While we don’t live under the Mosaic Covenant (because of Jesus and His sacrifice) God is still faithful to His promises in our lives. As you reflect on today’s passage focus on promises God has made to you (either in scripture or things He may have spoken over you). As you pray, ask God to share with you a promise He has for you to live in today. Listen to see what He may have to give to you, and then step boldly into that today. He’s faithful, so listen and trust what He has is good.
- Logan Johnson