Hosea 12 has the prophet remembering how the people have rebelled against God. He tells the history of Jacob and others who have failed to stay in God’s favor. Sin always gets in the way. Jacob finally comes to the place where he understands that God has beaten him, and all he could do was hang on to God and plead for a blessing. Hosea tells God’s people they need to return in the same way. “Return to your God, observe kindness and justice, and wait for your God continually”. we can never even return to the Lord without His help. This shows how weak we are and how much we really depend on Him.
Hosea continues to remind the people that God is God and always has been. “I have been the Lord your God since the land of Egypt; I will make you live in tents again”. Hosea prophesied during a time of great prosperity, but spiritual and moral decline was all around Israel. When things are good financially, it’s hard for people to believe that their society is in trouble. But God cannot ignore that decline which is sin – a choice we make to live against God’s laws and commands. When we do, punishment must come. Sin always carries a significant price.
“By a prophet the Lord brought Israel from Egypt, And by a prophet he was kept”. God has used prophets to speak truth to people for generations. Hosea is carrying that message now. He is dealing with idols and pagan altars and all sorts of bad behavior amongst God’s people. God uses prophets to deliver truth and provide guidance, but people must choose to follow and walk in obedience to that truth. That wasn’t the case here during Hosea’s time, nor is it in our world today.
Because sin gets in the way, God has to act. “So his Lord will leave his bloodguilt on him and bring back his reproach to him”. God is in the restoration business, He wants to forgive our sins and heal our land, but we have to give Him something wo work with. God sent prophets to Israel to restore them, but they refused to listen and rejected His word. When that happens, judgement comes and the guilt remains. God can’t just ignore our sin. There is a price, which Christ paid on the Cross, but for that to become ours we must confess, repent and believe. That’s how we remove the reproach of our sin and receive the blessing of a Savior!