Daily Devotional Hosea 13:1–16
The largest bear species in the world is the polar bear. Male polar bears can weigh up to 1,500 pounds and stand up to 9 feet 10 inches tall! While ancient Israel did not have any polar bears, they did have a respect and fear of a bear’s power. There is a proverb in the book of Amos where the prophet says, “It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear” (5:19). That is similar to our proverb “Out of the frying pan and into the fire.”
It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
In Hosea 13, God pronounces a judgment against the northern kingdom of Israel. Israel had engaged in idol worship and even offered human sacrifices, something God detested. They had done this although God had delivered them from slavery to Egypt and warned them to “acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me” (v. 4). They forgot their dependence on God and became proud.
Because of their rebellion, God declares that He will come as a judge. He uses three animal metaphors to describe His anger toward Israel. He will be like a lion, a leopard, and climactically like a “bear robbed of her cubs” (v. 8). No one wants to get between a bear and its cubs! The image is clear, fierce judgment is coming.
Part of God’s judgment is to give Israel what they wanted, the kind of leadership they asked for (v. 10). God knows this will only lead to ruin. God is heartbroken over the sin of His people. This passage reminds us of the seriousness of sin. God is not to be trifled with. He desires our allegiance.
>> In modern culture, we tend to focus on God as love. We see Him as our friend. But it’s good to remember that we serve a powerful, almighty God who will judge and punish sin. Understanding this attribute of God makes us even more thankful for our salvation.
Pray with Us
The image of a bear robbed of her cubs sobers us, reminding us that this is the wrath we justly deserve for our sin. Yet with Your own blood You shield us from Your anger. We thank and worship You, our compassionate God!