Even in those dark and sinful times in the lives of Israel, there seemed to be a hint of repentance from them. “Come let us return to the Lord…” They stated that God would heal, bind, revive and raise them up if they would only turn and seek Him.
Hosea speaking for God lamented over the shallow nature of Israel’s repentance. He compared it to the fleeting existence of a cloud and the temporary presence of dew. Decisive actions are more important to Him than mere words.
The prophet continued to enumerate the various shortcomings of the people of Israel. He pointed out the futility of their expected actions. They were compared to an unattended hot oven, a half-baked cake and a silly dove flying aimlessly into danger. In all of their pains and confusion, they had refused to call upon God from the heart.
One reaps what he has sown, whether good or evil. Judgment against Israel would be swift like an eagle’s attack. In addition to their idolatry, they had formed alliances with other nations instead of depending upon God. Their calls for deliverance would be ignored, because of their evil deeds. They would become subject to the godless nation of Assyria, just as their ancestors had been subject to the godless Egyptians many centuries earlier.
Hosea continued his message of doom from the Lord against Israel. He reminded them of their adulterous relationships with the various gods of the land as they had forsaken their God who loved them and had desired their fidelity. God loves His people and is merciful toward them. However, Israel had reached the point of no return because of their wickedness.
The prophet pictured the desolation that would befall Israel. At first, they were pleasing to God like grapes in the wilderness and the firstfruits of a young fig tree. Their punishment after going after the strange gods would cause them to be like barren women unable to give life and nourishment to a child. Even at that late date, Hosea called upon Israel to repent.
Israel had a long history of cruel bondage in Egypt. Because of their rejection of God, they were on the threshold of beginning another bondage in Assyria. They would be without their own king when they became under the control of the Assyrian kingdom. Israel would reap what they had sown.