Friday, January 9: Hosea 11:1-12

This is an interesting passage, because it isn’t what you think it is. You might expect that it is a prophecy that predicts the coming of the Messiah. Isn’t that why it was chosen for today? Isn’t this the text that is quoted in the main text Matthew 2:13-23 that explains why Joseph and Mary had to flee to Egypt when Herod wanted to kill the boy?

It turns out, the answer is no. If you read this passage from Hosea, all by itself, you would never think it was talking about the coming Messiah. So, what is it about? This text is a sad poem, written by a loving Father who is lamenting over how disobedient his children are.

Let me paraphrase. “I love that kid, Israel. Even though he keeps turning away from me, I love him. I rescued him from slavery in Egypt. Then he turned away from me. I rescued him from the brutal Assyrians. Then he turned away from me. I will continue to rescue him, even though he continues to turn away from me. No matter how many times he goes to “Egypt” I will rescue him. That’s what Dads do.”

I realize that is a really, really loose translation, but that’s how I understand this passage. When God says Egypt in this text, that is code for our sinfulness and rebellion against God that leads to our own pain, slavery, and destruction. So, when God says, “Out of Egypt I brought my son” it means that God rescues his children.

Go back and read the Matthew text with that in mind. Matthew is explaining the purpose for the life of this boy named Jesus that he is about to tell. Jesus is here so that God can continue this story of a loving father rescuing his children from sin, slavery, and self-destruction.

Why does God love us, when we continually turn away from God? That’s what parents do. That’s amazing grace. Praise God, because I know I need it. What about you?

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