14 “Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.
15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
16 “In that day,” declares the Lord,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master.’
17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
no longer will their names be invoked.
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them
with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
and the creatures that move along the ground.
Bow and sword and battle
I will abolish from the land,
so that all may lie down in safety.
19 I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
20 I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the Lord.
21 “In that day I will respond,”
declares the Lord—
“I will respond to the skies,
and they will respond to the earth;
22 and the earth will respond to the grain,
the new wine and the olive oil,
and they will respond to Jezreel.
23 I will plant her for myself in the land;
I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’
I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’;
and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”
(Hosea 2:14-23 NIV)
As we have noted previously, the Lord called Hosea to marry and have children, with the knowledge that his wife would later be unfaithful to him. Hosea’s marriage would be a living example of the Lord’s relationship with the northern kingdom of Israel. God was faithful to His covenant commitment to Israel, but Israel chose to be unfaithful to Him by choosing to worship other gods of the region, including Baal.
In our last time together, chapter 2 outlined the consequences of Israel chasing after other lovers (other gods). She would end up destitute and alone.
As we look into the second half of chapter 2 today, we see God not giving up on His betrothed. When the Lord sees that Israel has repented of her sins, He does not reject her but rather allures her (woos her) (v. 14). The phrase “speak tenderly to her” could also be translated “speak to her heart”, signifying that the Lord cares deeply for Israel, just as a husband cares deeply for his wife and speaks gently to her in order to win her heart back.
The Lord knows that Israel knows of her sin, and that she is guarding her heart against the likely rejection that she will face if she comes back to the Lord. Instead, the Lord speaks tenderly to Israel, assuring her that He loves her and wants her back in fellowship with Him.
The Lord also promises to restore all the things that Israel sought from her other lovers – her provisions of oil, food, clothing, etc. Israel will know that these provisions come from the Lord, not Baal.
The Lord also promises peace (v. 18) to Israel – something they had not known for a very long time.
Last but not least, the Lord paints a wonderful word picture that shows the future restored relationship between Himself and Israel. No longer does the Lord alienate Himself from Israel. He now calls them “You are My people”, and they respond, “You are my God.”
As we learned in the beginning, the book of Hosea is not just a tabloid scandal – it’s a love letter that invites wayward Israel to repent, return, and be reconciled with her husband.
The Lord is saying, “Come home.”
And God’s offer extends to us as well.