Hosea 13:15 (HCSB)
15 Although he flourishes among his brothers, an east wind will come, a wind from the Lord rising up from the desert. His water source will fail, and his spring will run dry. The wind will plunder the treasury of every precious item.
This brief passage again outlines the coming judgment upon Israel. This is a stark and brutal picture of the future of Israel. It is a stark and brutal picture of war, and a reminder of what can happen when we separate ourselves from God.
The passage starts with a reminder of the prosperity of Ephraim. But this quickly fades as a wind from God will rise and end Ephraim’s prosperity. What is interesting is the word translated “wind” in Hosea 13:15 is the Hebrew word “ruah”. This happens to be the same word used in Genesis 1:2 that is translated as “Spirit”, referring to the Holy Spirit. I would not claim that the wind here is literally the Spirit of God, but we should not overlook the fact that, as Hosea 13:15 states, this is a “wind from the Lord”. The fate of Israel here should not be chalked up to bad luck, or unlucky events, or even circumstance. This is judgment by God, not random blind events.
The second, and final, verse of the passage is tough, it’s brutal, it’s not what we want to see, but it is what we must recognize lest we follow the same path. This is a prophecy of Assyria’s war on Israel, and what we read here are the brutalities of war. And again, this is not a capricious act on the part of God, it’s not the reaction of a bully who did not get his way. This was all avoidable had Israel sought after God. But instead they “rebelled against God”, and judgment comes.
The message here should not be, “Follow me or else.” God is not interested in obedience for the sake of escaping punishment. Instead the message is, “God is long-suffering, and He is always chasing and calling us, but we cannot rebel against Him forever and escape judgment. God is loving, merciful, and gracious, but He is also just, and will not permit evil forever.”
Lord, thank You for being perfect, and for defeating death, and for the promise that evil will be crushed and done away with. This is what we should hang on to! I pray that You would guide me so that I do not seek evil, so that I do not rebel, but that I turn from my sin, saved and renewed by You, and glorify and honor You forever. Amen.