Hosea promises complete forgiveness for Israel’s betrayal of their Lord. Even though forgiveness was promised, the consequences of their disobedience will still be carried out. Their enemies will defeat them. They will be taken off as prisoners into a foreign land, and the land they inhabit will be given over to their enemies. There will be forgiveness, and God will restore the Israelites as promised, but the blessings of obedience have been forfeited. There will be no mercy. That is, what has been promised as a consequence of their sin will be carried out. As we know, Israel was taken captive, and the ten northern tribes that occupied Israel with their capital at Samaria were either scattered or taken captive. This happened in 721 BC. Yet, the southern Kingdom, the line from the house of David, was shown mercy. Hosea 1:7 speaks directly to this. It says, But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.”

It is well known that the Northern Kingdom of Israel had 20 kings after Solomon. None of these kings were considered “good.” I did hear a teacher who did his doctoral dissertation on Jehu argue that Jehu was the least bad of the Northern Kings, but even he could not be called a “good” team by biblical standards. If you ask the question, “How many good kings did Judah have?” The internet will tell you, “From the end of King Solomon’s rule, there were thirty-nine good and evil Kings that reigned over Judah and Israel combined. Of the thirty-nine, there were only eight good Kings, and they all reigned in Judah.” Hezekiah was the last of the good kings of Judah, and most scholars attribute the southern kingdom’s longevity to him. 2 Kings 18:3-6 tell us that Hezekiah “Did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. He removed the high places and broke the pillars, and cut down the Asherah. He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. For he held fast to the Lord.” It took another 150 years before God withdrew his protective mercy on the house of Judah.

God took care of Judah’s enemy. What did God require? Just what Micah said, “Love Justice, do mercy, and walk humbly with God.” Guenther puts it this way, “Judah’s deliverance will occur through an act of God (Hos. 1:7). No human or military might will serve as God’s weapon to defeat the foe. God will not even draw on the cavalry or chariot corps. There will be no misinterpreting the hand of God in Judah’s rescue. Hosea is probably predicting the miraculous deliverance which Jerusalem (Judah) experienced from the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings 18–19). The Lord sent his angel to decimate the Assyrian army besieging the city and occupying the land. That act was a tangible expression of the Lord’s restorative love.”[1] God does not need me! I’ve always balked at preachers that try to put the responsibility for evangelism, world missions, or any other valuable Christian endeavor upon the backs of their members. God is holy, eternal, almighty, and totally self-sufficient. He does not need any created being. All of creation is dependent on the life that God alone sustains. God, on the other hand, is not dependent on anything or anyone. He suffers no lack, knows no limitation, and experiences no deficiency with no qualification or exception. If He needed anything to stay alive or to feel complete, then He would not be God. No, God does not need you or me. But amazingly, He “wants” and “Loves” us! Love God, and He will take care of the rest.

[1] Guenther, Allen R. 1998. Hosea, Amos. Believers Church Bible Commentary. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press.