Hosea

Day 18: I Knew You in the Wilderness

Hosea 13:1-16, Acts 4:11-12, 1 Corinthians 15:54-56

I’ve never been a fan of the blockbuster “Bourne” movies. To me, they feel like the same story over and over again. It reminds me of the book of Hosea.

One of the biggest problems the protagonist Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon, has is memory loss. He wakes up, suddenly a guy who can’t remember his name, where he lives, or where he works. He doesn’t even know how he got to where he is. His problem, the inability to remember, is what Hosea 13 is about. Just like with Jason Bourne, God’s people keep forgetting who they are, where they are, and how they got there.

In today’s reading, the prophet Hosea recounts to Israel how God remembered them in the desert, what He did to set them free, and how He forgave them in their rebellious idolatry. Forgetfulness leading to idolatry is what happened to them while they were in the desert. Though God had remembered Israel, they forgot Him, His rescue, and His promise.

Israel had been in bondage as slaves to Egypt’s cruel Pharaoh for hundreds of years. They labored day and night, building Pharaoh’s breathtaking city, with no hope of freedom. Their enslavement is a sad but rich picture of the evil “pharaoh” we call sin. Sin makes us work as hard as we can, promising us glory from the fruit of our hands. But it never delivers. Obedience to the commands of sin keeps us in bondage.

Ultimately, it took the death of the firstborn sons of Egypt to break Pharaoh’s hardened heart and convince him to finally set Israel free. This sacrifice points to the death of Jesus, the firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15), who died so that men and women who are dead in sin can be freed from their cruel taskmaster and raised to new life.

Hosea reminds us that, just as fast as Israel praised God for His deliverance, they forgot Him. They forgot His character, love, faithfulness, and goodness, and their forgetfulness led them to idolatry. They exchanged trust in God’s faithfulness for belief in lie that He was unfaithful to them. We are tempted to make the same exchange.

Forget not God and His goodness. When we forget our God, we begin to worship powerless idols like the golden calf. In our day it looks more like money, lust, control, success, power, and comfort. The list is endless, but the result is the same. The only thing these impotent idols guarantee us is emptiness – splinters of their broken promises.

Don’t forget. Remember God’s provision: Jesus, the manna of God. He sustains us in the barren wilderness of our lives. Remember Jesus’ work. Remember your faithful Friend.

Written By Jevon Washington