Part IV: A Forgotten God Remembers
God said it. He was talking about the Israel of the eighth century B.C. They lived in Samaria and Bethel and Gilgal. It’s a line so brief, most people likely miss it. Three words that give a glimpse into God’s heart. What did God say?
“They forgot me” (Hosea 13:6).
The Power who freed them from slavery, delivered them from oppressive domination, provided them a fruitful land, presented them with instruction for living, chose them out of all the nations on the earth, loved them, blessed them, and cared for them.
“They forgot me.”
There’s a related line in Hosea that might equally be missed. We remember the awful names Hosea gives to his children. We quote the line about there being no knowledge of God in the land. We love God’s clearly stated hope: I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings. But there’s one line we might miss.
“In you the orphan finds mercy” (Hosea 14:3). Our first thought might be that Hosea never says anything about orphans and that it seems out of place in the last chapter. We might read over it because the line seems to contribute little to the central themes of the book. But think again.
The one who was forgotten remembered the ones who were forgotten.
Hosea 13 describes the three year siege of Samaria. We imagine the shortages, the daily casualty reports, the death wagons in the streets, the disease. Most of us dare not read what really happened at such times anticipated in Deuteronomy 28:52-57 (don’t read it if you are at all squeamish).
Hosea 13 has orphans written all over it. Fathers dead from battle. Mothers taken by disease. Uncles among the captured. Older sister raped and mutilated. Somehow the enemy army entering the city for the final sweep cared little for the little ones.
The one who was forgotten remembered the ones who were forgotten. “In you the orphan finds mercy.”
The line is consistent with the heart of God who made care of orphans the core of real religion. The line fits with the notice in the Old Testament that God serves as the father of the fatherless. The words we read over are the reason Proverbs has to remind us to speak for those who have no voice (Prov 31:8).
Despite his own agony at being forgotten by his people, God did not forget the vulnerable children.
Have we forgotten the hurting children of our world?