“But I have been the Lord your God
ever since you came out of Egypt.
You shall acknowledge no God but me,
no Savior except me.
5 I cared for you in the wilderness,
in the land of burning heat.
6 When I fed them, they were satisfied;
when they were satisfied, they became proud;
then they forgot me.
7 So I will be like a lion to them,
like a leopard I will lurk by the path.
8 Like a bear robbed of her cubs,
I will attack them and rip them open;
like a lion I will devour them—
a wild animal will tear them apart. (Hosea 13:4-8)
- Vss. 4-6 — God is the God of the Exodus
- Vss. 4- 6 God the savior contrasted with God the devourer (vss. 7-8)
- God becomes Israel’s Lord in the Exodus –> salvation makes God our God?
- Uncomfortable analogy… Israel becomes satisfied / fed and then becomes prey (by their own choice)
- “Savior” is not a New Testament term only — occurs here and 35 other times in the Old Testament
Images of judgment, of violence in the Old Testament make us uncomfortable (well, some of us!). We explain them away. We want Jesus meek and mild, God who loves and nothing else. We tend to explain away or even rationalize (they misunderstood what God wanted, for instance). I am not wise enough nor smart enough to understand the things in the Bible (Old and New Testament) that disturb me.
Here, however, what I see is that God cannot, will not be apathetic. God is many things – passive or uninterested God is not. This seemingly harsh contrast reminds us that God is not a vending machine, responding to what we give of love and faith and hope but sitting passive otherwise. God is active, alive, and interested in what we do collectively and individually.
What God cannot do is ignore us. So Hosea shares this disturbing message of God as savior or predator. Because God cannot do nothing… our actions, choices, responses make a difference to God. They do today.
Saving God, today may I respond to and see you as Savior, Deliverer, Provider. May I not be proud but humble, may I not forget you this day. I know you will not forget me! May I avoid the great sin of thinking there are things in my life about which you do not care, issues toward which you are indifferent. Most of all I see this in Jesus, our Savior and our Lord. Amen.