The Compassion of God (Hosea 11:8-9) - Radical

The Compassion of God (Hosea 11:8-9)

“How can I give you up, oh, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, oh, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboyim? My heart recoils within me. My compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my burning anger. I will not again destroy Ephraim, for I am God and not a man, the holy one in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.”
-Hosea 11:8–9

This chapter is one of the most beautiful pictures of God’s love I would say in all of the Bible. It starts from the very beginning in Hosea chapter 11 verse one when God speaks of his people Israel like a child whom he loves. “Out of Egypt,” he says, “I called my son.” A whole picture here, just like we’ve seen in Hosea, a picture of God’s love for his people like a husband’s love for his wife, and specifically in Hosea, an unfaithful wife.

God has been incredibly compassionate with us despite our sin and the wrath we deserve.

But here the imagery shifts from the love of a father for his son. Just the imagery throughout this chapter specifically talks about just how God raised up his people as his child. I taught them to walk, took them by the arms, and wrapped them in chords of kindness and bands of love. It’s such a powerful picture. And so this is God speaking to his people who were totally defying him, who were turning from him to all kinds of idols and in all kinds of immorality. And yet God says, “I love you.” Listen to the language here in Hosea 11:8, “My heart recoils within me. My compassion grows warm and tender.” Is this not awesome that the holy God of the universe sees sinful people in Hosea chapter 11 and instead of wrath, he feels mercy?

Now, obviously, they deserved judgment and would experience consequences for their sin. It’s what Hosea is saying. But God will preserve them. God will save them from what they ultimately deserve. And this is the Gospel, you and I deserve judgment. You and I deserve eternal wrath before a holy God. And yet, in his mercy, his heart has recoiled within him. His compassion has grown warm and tender, and he has chosen to send his son to die on a cross to pay the price for our sins, to endure the just judgment, the holy wrath that we deserve in our place so that you and I might know God as our loving father. Oh God, I am freshly in awe of your compassionate love right now. God, thank you, thank you, thank you for your compassion toward me, for not coming in wrath toward me, when I deserve that, when I deserve that.

When every single one of us has deserved that you shown mercy. You’ve sent your son to die on a cross for our sins to endure the wrath as we deserve. Jesus, we praise your name for what you did on the cross for us. It never gets old. We will praise you every day for all of eternity, for your love, and for the privilege, we have right now of being in relationship with you, oh God, as our father through faith in Jesus. Thank you for not executing your burning anger toward us, which we rightly and justly deserve. God, thank you for your recoiling heart, for loving me, for loving us. God, we pray that you would help us to show, share, proclaim this love to others, that others might know your love, others who right now are under your wrath, that you desire. Second Peter makes clear you desire their repentance. You so love the world that you sent your son.

God, please, please help us to proclaim that today, to share that with somebody today close to us. God, we pray for the spread of this good news far from us among the Turkoman in Afghanistan, over two million of them who are in their sin right now apart from not just faith in Jesus, knowledge of Jesus. They don’t know of the love that you have shown in Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. Nobody’s told him the truth about who Jesus is and what Jesus has done. God, we pray that you would change that for the Turk of Afghanistan, cause laborers to go to the Turkoman and cause the Gospel to spread. To the Turkoman, we pray. God, we praise you for your love for us. We love, exalt, worship, glorify your name, and we pray that you would help us. Help us to lead others into a relationship with you as your children through Jesus, the one who has endured the wrath we deserve. In his name, we pray. Amen.

Throughout the fall, we are following the McLean Bible Church Reading Plan. You can access the reading plan here.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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