Hosea 9:17 (HCSB)
17 My God will reject them because they have not listened to Him; they will become wanderers among the nations.
This passage is a little different, not necessarily in the tone of it, and the topic of Israel’s sin and rejection of God, but in the speaker, or more specifically, the response of Hosea to God.
Hosea 9:10-13 sees God continue the condemnation of Israel. Starting out with a sort of reminiscing of how the relationship between God and Israel was originally: refreshing, appealing, exciting. The examples of grapes in the wilderness, and unexpected find, and the first fruits of the fig trees, convey this. But before we even get out of v10 we see the failure of Israel through its pursuit of Baal.
God then goes on to pronounce a very specific and seemingly harsh penalty of the death of the children of Israel, or lack of conception. This is all in the context of the sin of Israel though, a choice they have made. “But they went to Baal-peor, consecrated themselves to Shame.” Israel was not a passive by-stander feeling the effects of another’s sin… they are the prime actor, the ones bringing punishment on themselves through purposeful sin. And that sin brings the distance from God: “woe to them when I depart from them.” They will no longer enjoy His protection, and it is their offspring that will suffer the brunt of this punishment.
Then we see what appears to be Hosea’s response to God. And we should suspect it is Hosea’s response because of the switch in perspective. In Hosea 9:14 we see that the writer seems to be writing as one speaking to God, no longer God Himself speaking. And we might assume that this perspective continues through Hosea 9:17, where again the reference to God is as someone other than the writer. Although, Hosea 9:15-16 seem to be a bit odd if they are the words of Hosea, as they seem to be God’s words, but it could be that Hosea was simply repeating the attitude of God. Even if they are not Hosea’s words, and in fact God’s words again, it makes little difference, as the point is that Hosea apparently feels moved enough to respond to God in a sense of outrage and a support for the judgement of God of Israel’s sin. There is an indignation of sin that perhaps we all should have! In the end we see Hosea reiterating the premise that God will reject Israel due to Israel’s rejection of Him.
Lord, it is hard at times to see what we should be thankful for in the midst of pain and punishment. But I do thank You for those very things, not for them literally, but because they are symbolic of Your love for us and are tools to turn us from our sin. I pray for clarity of Your will, and to share Your passion for man as well as Your disdain for sin. Amen.