I led them with cords of compassion,
with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one,
who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.
Hosea, like all the prophets, was sent to remind much more than he was sent to predict. In today’s verse, Hosea reminds Israel of how God has already proven himself to them in their history. He tells Israel that God found them, toiling like brute beasts in Pharaoh’s slavery and that he stooped down to loosen the yoke, set them free, and provide for all their needs. The tragedy in this verse is that Hosea has to remind Israel of this at all, for Israel has learned all the wrong lesson’s from God’s favor to them and is edging closer and closer to judgement for it. Yet despite the looming judgement, Hosea (like all the prophets) warns that their coming baptism in fire (like their baptism in the Red Sea) will finally issue in life, not death. It is the great mystery of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection for our sins, imaged on a national scale centuries before his Incarnation. We, living centuries after the Incarnation, see the same pattern being played out as we too grow fat on God’s blessings but not on his Spirit and forget the Lord who bought us. Today, do as the apostles urge and “Save yourself from this corrupt generation” so that the Culture of Life may issue from the Culture of Death. There is still time and God may yet do wonders in our land.