Part III: A Terrible Prayer
Hosea started to pray, and then stopped. “Give them, O LORD—.” What he wanted to ask was so horrible. His prayer (Hosea 9:14) seemed so unacceptable. How could he ask God to do what he was about to ask?
“Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.”
There he prayed it. I want you to send miscarriages to Israel. Make it so Israel’s mothers can’t nurse. Increase the premature births. Raise the infant mortality rate. “Give them, O LORD—.”
Hosea spoke out of deep compassion. He wished for less pain. He spoke on behalf of children. He knew that the consequences of North Israel’s wicked society would fall most heavily on the children. Dedicated to sounding the alarm, the people regarded him as a fool. He preached and nobody came forward. Seldom has there been a preacher so unsuccessful as Hosea.
So his prayer. “Give them, O LORD—.”
It was the only way out of inflicting pain on the little ones. Ask God to spare them the pain of living through what was about to come. Let them die before they are born. Let them die in their mother’s arms while they still have a mother. Dark days prompted Hosea’s dark prayer.
Knowing Hosea, he likely prayed this prayer in a public forum. He didn’t like spreading doom. He was not a bitter old man. He was a prophet, one who warned, who spoke out on behalf of those who could not speak out for themselves.
His prayer was a sermon. Listen to my prayer, people. Do you really want me to pray this prayer? I don’t think so. Yet this prayer is more godly than the lives you live.
Maybe Hosea’s prayer is for our time, too. Maybe this prayer sermon needs preached in some of our churches. Perhaps this prayer should be on more Sunday night power point presentations to jar some of us out of our denial. But it’s so ugly. It’s so negative.
So is ignoring the children.