By Barnabas Piper
Kids can be brilliant, clever, and hilarious. But they can be equally foolish and thick-headed. It seems they have two primary ways of exhibiting these latter qualities: disobeying in the same ways repeatedly, no matter what parents say, or thinking they can find a new way to get around rules. And, of course, both lead to the same results each time without fail. Parents’ rules don’t change, bend, or have loopholes. So each exhibition of thick-headedness is met with consequences. The only way this changes is if kids begin to learn to obey and submit to their parents’ wishes.
In Hosea 7, Israel is the thick-headed child. Verse after verse regales the reader with the rebellion of one tribe or another. They are stubborn; they think they are clever. They are trying to put one past God and overrun His authority with sheer will—like that ever works. It’s what got them into trouble in the first place.
Even more remarkable, this comes on the heels of redemption upon redemption. Throughout the first part of the book of Hosea, we saw God go to great lengths to show His people how He would rescue them from themselves and their unfaithfulness. And yet, here we are. This should resonate with us. We should recognize our own proclivity to rebel, to ignore, to think too highly of our cleverness. We are like Israel in many ways.
But Israel’s, and our, fickleness and foolishness does not change God. He shows Himself to be a Redeemer still. He says, “I want to redeem them.” Despite rebellion upon disrespect upon idolatry, God wants to redeem His people—even though they do not call on Him. They grasp at any false hope they can find. They use the gifts and abilities God gave them for their own ends instead of for His honor. They reject God completely. Yet still, He wants to redeem.
God does not change. He does not waffle when we waffle. God does not become distant and unavailable when we distance ourselves. He is steady though we are not. He is faithful though we are not. Though we push God away, He does not push us away.
God stands ready to redeem, make whole, and restore. Always. Even when we behave like stubborn children.
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