Through Hosea YHWH lamented the apostasy of Israel as a father mourns for a wayward child. A Son who upheld all God desired out of Israel, and who embodied Israel’s story, would one day come for Israel. We all do well to follow Him and embody His life and practice.
When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. The more the prophets called them, the more they went from them: they sacrificed unto the Baalim, and burned incense to graven images. Yet I taught Ephraim to walk; I took them on my arms; but they knew not that I healed them. I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love; and I was to them as they that lift up the yoke on their jaws; and I laid food before them.
They shall not return into the land of Egypt; but the Assyrian shall be their king, because they refused to return to me. And the sword shall fall upon their cities, and shall consume their bars, and devour them, because of their own counsels. And my people are bent on backsliding from me: though they call them to him that is on high, none at all will exalt him.
How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I cast thee off, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboiim? My heart is turned within me, my compassions are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee; and I will not come in wrath.
They shall walk after YHWH, who will roar like a lion; for he will roar, and the children shall come trembling from the west. They shall come trembling as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria; and I will make them to dwell in their houses, saith YHWH.
Ephraim compasseth me about with falsehood, and the house of Israel with deceit; but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the Holy One. Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he continually multiplieth lies and desolation; and they make a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried into Egypt.
YHWH hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him. In the womb he took his brother by the heel; and in his manhood he had power with God: yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him at Beth-el, and there he spake with us, even YHWH, the God of hosts; YHWH is his memorial name. Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep kindness and justice, and wait for thy God continually.
He is a trafficker, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress. And Ephraim said, Surely I am become rich, I have found me wealth: in all my labors they shall find in me no iniquity that were sin.
But I am YHWH thy God from the land of Egypt; I will yet again make thee to dwell in tents, as in the days of the solemn feast.
I have also spoken unto the prophets, and I have multiplied visions; and by the ministry of the prophets have I used similitudes.
Is Gilead iniquity? they are altogether false; in Gilgal they sacrifice bullocks; yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the field.
And Jacob fled into the field of Aram, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep. And by a prophet YHWH brought Israel up out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved. Ephraim hath provoked to anger most bitterly: therefore shall his blood be left upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him (Hosea 11:1-12:14).