They have gone deep in depravity
As in the days of Gibeah;
He will remember their iniquity,
He will punish their sins.
I will heal their apostasy,
I will love them freely,
For My anger has turned away from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
He will blossom like the lily,
And he will take root like the cedars of Lebanon.
As Hosea draws to a close the prophet condemns Israel for great wickedness. The depth of their depravity is can not be missed in the comparison of Israel’s depravity to that of the “days of Gibeah, one of Israel’s darkest moments. It was at Gibeah (Judges 19) that the tribe of Benjamin was committed an act even worse than the crimes of Sodom. For these crimes the tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out. Hosea was indeed giving Israel a stern warning and the most unfavorable possible comparison. God also promised that this iniquity would not be forgotten; nor would He fail to deal with it. But what is also amazing is that even in the deep depravity of Israel there is still hope. As Hosea closes his warning to Israel he does so with the promise of grace and redemption. God indeed punishes the sins of Israel but He also rescues them from their darkest sin to bring them to abundance and strength.
I think that many times we seem to think that God can either be a God of grace or a God of wrath in response to our darkness and sin. Yet the Bible seems clear that God’s holiness and mercy are such that these two things are not mutually exclusive. Our sins will not go unaddressed and God will deal with us accordingly when we choose wickedness and deep depravity – as any good father would. What blows my mind is that the end of the God’s wrath is most unexpected. It is grace. Even in God’s wrath against our sin the aim is to bring us back to Him and to give us the hope of a future filled with the strength, security, and abundance that only He can bring. Even in our greatest darkness God can still bring us to the Light. His love and grace have no limit and even our worst deeds can be used by Him to bring us to places of great hope and peace.
Lord God you are awesome indeed; holy and pure so that sin and darkness cannot stand in your presence; just and righteous so that you bring all things to account; loving and merciful so that even in our worst deeds you can bring us to the good of the knowledge of you. Our worst is nothing in comparison to the unsurpassing greatness of your love for us. Thank you that your love provided a way that we might be spared your wrath and that your grace is abundantly and overwhelmingly poured upon us through the great gift of your Son.