As I read through my chronological Bible stopping to meditate on the questions which God has asked, I am noticing a common theme in the time after Solomon and leading up to the Babylonian Captivity. This theme is so consistent that one cannot miss it and certainly God has a purpose in the repetition. The last few questions I have come to and the group of questions I will consider here, all deal with God asking questions only of His people as a whole. There are no questions to individuals and none to foreign nations in this group.
The questions are found in Hosea 8:5, 9:5, 10:9, 11:5, 11:8, 12:11, 13:10, 13:14, 14:8-9, and Micah 1:5. With two notable exceptions, all the questions relate to Israel’s failure to be faithful to Him. God asks them how long they will refuse to be pure; how can they come to worship Him while they are engaged in idolatry. He also asks them to remember that because of their unfaithfulness, war came as He had promised. He went on to ask if they remembered that their refusal to repent brought a foreign conqueror just as He had promised. He asked and answered His own question with an emphatic, “Yes”; His people were indeed wicked. He reminded them that they wrongly asked for a king and now the king was entirely incapable of rescuing them in their time of need. He asked them to realize that wisdom is found in being faithful to Him. He led them to respond that being unfaithful to Him leads only to trouble. God asks for only one thing from us and that is everything. His desire is for us to be absolutely and totally faithful to Him and to Him alone. Failure to do so is worse than foolish. It invites, no it guarantees, trouble, even destruction.
The exceptions are found in Hosea 11:8 and 13:14.
In chapter 11, God asks Judah how could He give them up to destruction; how could He destroy them as He had destroyed other nations. He answers His own questions with some very beautiful words. If His response does not move you to awe and gratitude, I have no idea what will. Hosea 11:8, “My heart is turned over within Me, All My compassions are kindled.”
His heart is turned over within Him because of His deep love for His people (you, if you have placed your faith in Jesus). It is not uncommon to hear of wrath being “kindled”. Here you read of God’s compassion being “kindled”. What an awesome statement of God’s long-suffering love in the face of our unfaithfulness. His heart is turned over within Him and His compassion is kindled for us! May He be forever praised!
The other exception is found in chapter 13. Verse 14 is an oasis in the desert. It is a small glimmer of hope found in the midst of God’s warnings and chastisements. The promises of judgment stop abruptly and re-start in the last phrase of verse 14 just as abruptly. Hosea 13:14, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?” (NIV) Through these questions, God is reminding His people that even though they have been absolutely unfaithful, He remains faithful. He stands ready and able and desiring to save. Paul quotes this verse in 1 Corinthians 15, the great New Testament passage on victory over death. Death and the grave are not problems for God. No matter how bad it looked for Judah, no matter how bad it looks for you, God stands ready and able and willing to save. Faithfulness to trust Him is all He asks and that is not a burden, but rather it is a privilege and a blessing.