So be honest. You probably are not enjoying Hosea so much, are you? The truth of the matter is that reading prophetic books that deal with the justice and judgement of God challenge us and are difficult to swallow. We like a God who makes our life beautiful, who blesses us. We like the idea that God will take care of me, while at the same time, letting me live my life any way I choose. “Why does God have to be so harsh? Why can’t he just let us live like we want without all that fire and brimstone stuff?” we ask.
But that is just it. For the most part, justice and judgement is little more than God removing His grace so people get what they actually want. You might say, “I don’t want all the bad stuff to happen to me!” But when a person, or a group of people choose to live their own way and reject God, they are also walking out from under the umbrella of His grace.
Imagine being outside in a storm and you are walking with a huge golf umbrella, and a friend is walking next to you. It’s nice and dry under the umbrella, but your friend turns to you and says, “I don’t really want to be next to you, I’d rather walk my own way.” You respond, “Listen, you can do what you want, but you will get wet.” But your buddy walks away from you anyway, and gets drenched from the storm. Then, later that day you see your friend and he gets furious with you, “I got so wet, it ruined my day, you dweeb!,” he shouts. “I know it stunk, but all you had to do is stay beneath the umbrella with me and things would have been fine. I didn’t get wet at all,” You respond. “It’s your own dang fault, you got what you wanted!”
This is really an image of the entire message of Hosea. God has been telling the people for decades to stay under the umbrella of His grace. Walk close to Him, stay near Him, trust Him. It is a fallen world full of sin, evil, brokenness, suffering, and injustice. It’s as if God were saying, “As long as you stay close to me, I will bless you and walk you through the rain. But if you leave me, you will eventually endure the consequences of your actions.” Read verses 12-14 again. Verse twelve is a call to return to God. Verses 13-14 are so sad, but it is God’s way of saying to them, “You left me for other gods, and quit trusting me to enter treaties with other evil nations. It’s your own dang fault, you are getting what you wanted!”
Every good thing you have on this planet is a gift of God’s grace, meaning that He is covering your life with the umbrella of His love. If you walk away from that, don’t blame Him. You got what you wanted.