Hosea 5:15 (HCSB)
15 I will depart and return to My place until they recognize their guilt and seek My face; they will search for Me in their distress.
More warnings and outlining of punishment that comes from disobedience and refusing to worship God. Let’s highlight a few things from this passage:
- Hosea 4:15 – God warns Israel, if they are “promiscuous”, to not to spread their guilt to Judah. Two things here:
- Our guilt can spread to others. We do not live in a bubble, isolated and sterile in the world. When we sin it impacts others. When we bring our sin to others, share it with them, rub it on them, and teach them to do the same, we spread guilt to them as well.
- God is not concerned solely with Israel, He is concerned with all people. It can be easy to make ourselves the center of God’s universe, or the simply the center of the universe, but that just is not the case. This does not mean that God doesn’t love us perfectly and fully, He absolutely does, but He can handle doing that for more than just ourselves! Praise God that He is big and loving enough to love us all perfectly and fully.
- Hosea 5:4 – “Their actions do not allow them to return to their God.” Wow, is that literal? Has Israel, it’s people, or at least it’s priests and royalty, done something, committed the sin, that permanently separates them from God? Perhaps this is so, perhaps the “unpardonable sin” had been committed by Israel. Or, perhaps this is more representative of the state of their relationship with God at that point, and how their idolatry prevented them from knowing and seeking God. And perhaps it speaks to a severe break in their relationship with God which would result in punishment, even if they were to turn back to God and seek Him. Certainly it is possible to never surrender to Christ, and suffer a fate of being apart from Him eternally, but we must also recognize that God wants all people to be saved, and as long as we have life, we have the opportunity to turn to Him whole heartedly.
- Hosea 5:15 – If God is “returning to His place,” that means He wasn’t there, He was somewhere else, presumably among His people. Obviously God is everywhere, but the symbolism here is interesting. It suggests that God was actively among His people, but due to their idolatry, their promiscuity, He is going to withdraw from their presence. Aren’t these foreshadows of our eternal fates? We are either with God, or without Him? And when Israel had God among them, things were pretty good, and we have read plenty about how bad things will be after He departs. Yet it is His departure that is what will cause them to seek Him again. Isn’t this true for us still today? Isn’t it in the toughest, most trying times, that we call out and search fervently for God? And do not miss what God says: He will withdraw “until they recognize their guilt and seek His face.” Perhaps this dovetails with Hosea 5:4… God is not staying away forever, v15 seems to suggest He will return when Israel repents and seeks Him again. What a glorious God!
Lord, thank You for not giving up on us, even though we are a stinking mess. I continually turn from You, seek after my own gods, yet You always take me back, You are always there. Help us to endure our punishment, and to truly repent, and avoid the same traps and sin that lead us away from You. Amen.