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Israel: The Unfaithful Bride

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Israel: The Unfaithful Bride
Israel: The Unfaithful Bride
DEVOTION – ISRAEL: THE UNFAITHFUL BRIDE

March 1, 2018 | Hosea 1:1–2:1

In 1993, scientists began to work with Eugene Pauly—or “E.P.” as the medical literature referred to him. Suffering from viral encephalitis, Pauly had lain in a life-threatening coma for ten days. Though he survived, Pauly lost memory from the previous three decades of his life as well as the ability to form new memories. Scientists discovered, however, that Pauly was capable of learning by habit what he was unable to learn by conscious study. Repetitive practice led to growth.

The Minor Prophets seem to have understood this. The content of these twelve books—combined into a single scroll and read as a literary unit as early as 200 B.C.—is directed less at the mind and more at the heart. The power of oracles lies in their emotional language that conveys the heart of God.

Return, O Israel, and God will return to you. This is the recurring message of these twelve prophets, who testified for the Lord during three important periods of ancient Israel’s history: the Assyrian period, which ended with the fall of Samaria (and the northern kingdom of Israel) in 722 B.C.; the Babylonian period, which ended with the fall of Jerusalem (and the southern kingdom of Judah) in 586 B.C.; and the period after the exile in Babylon, in which Malachi was the final prophet to speak for God before a period of 400 years of silence. These prophets are not reluctant to declare God’s judgment for sin, but they’re also full of reassurances of God’s merciful love for sinners.

Our key verse today is taken from Exodus: God has come to His enslaved people in Egypt and declared His intentions to “betroth” them to Himself. Sadly, as we learn so vividly at the opening of Hosea, Israel had been an unfaithful bride.

APPLY THE WORD

In His holy jealousy, God tells Israel that she will have no love (vv. 6, 8). Then He rescinds His fury and promises His favor (vv. 10, 11). Is God a divine flip-flopper? No! Throughout the Minor Prophets, we will see the nature of God’s relenting love, which He declared to Israel in Egypt (Ex. 34:6). He is compassionate, gracious, and slow to anger.

Today in the Word is a production of Moody Global Ministries

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