Hosea 11-14

It's easy to read these prophetic passages and come away feeling that God is double-minded. In one chapter he says "my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my burning anger," (11:8-9) and then in the next chapter he says "they shall fall by the sword, their little ones shall be dashed to pieces." (13:16)

However, God is not double-minded and there are a few things to remember while reading passages like this.
  • God is sovereign. His power, judgments, and will are absolute. He can choose to punish or show mercy to whomever he pleases. If he chooses to discipline in order to draw his people back to him, he is completely justified and right to do so. If he chooses to be patient and show mercy, he is equally justified and right.
  • In this case, I believe the execution of God's "burning anger" I referred to above is God telling the people they deserve to be completely wiped out because of their behavior. He doesn't do that. Instead he hands them over to the Assyrians. They experience horrible defeat and many unspeakable acts committed against them, but as a nation they are preserved and promised forgiveness if they turn back to God.
In Matthew 2:15, Matthew points out that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus traveling to Egypt was a fulfillment of Hosea 11:1. Paul quotes Hosea 13:14 in 1 Corinthians 15:55.

1 Corinthians 15:55 (ESV)
"O Death, where is your victory?
O Death, where is your sting?"

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