God loved Israel and brought them out from their bondage in Egypt (11:1). However, they did not like the messages of the prophets God gave them. So they departed from God, and served other gods and offered sacrifices and incense to graven images (11:2). God cherished Israel and taught them how to walk with Him, but they soon forgot how He brought them out of Egypt and what He had done for them (11:3). God drew them with cords of love, took the yoke from their neck, and stooped down to give them food (11:4).
Northern Israel would experience a bondage in Assyria similar to the one they had experienced in Egypt, because they refused to return to God (11:5). They could not avoid war and the invasion of Assyria because of their own misguided counsels (11:6). No one could free them from this bondage, because they were habitually backsliding from God (11:7).
God’s heart turns over in pain because of His love for Israel. He says, “How shall I give you up? How shall I deliver you, O Israel!” God’s compassion is burning with pain for His people (11:8). If only Israel would repent, God would not destroy them because He is the “Holy One” in their midst (11:9). Ellen White says, “Holiness is wholeness, total devotion.” Our holiness is total devotion to God, and God’s holiness is His perfect devotion to us. God loved us first. He loved Israel when it was a child (11:1). But even in Hosea’s time, God still loved sinful Israel but with a deep pain of love, hoping for their return to walk with Him (11:10).
Even if they would not repent and return to God, He still hoped they would repent while in captivity in Assyria. Then God would lead them out of Assyria and bring them back to their homeland as quickly as a flying dove (11:11). God is still not giving up on sinful Israel.
The attitude of Israel to God was one of unfaithfulness, lies, and deception (11:12a). He compares Israel with neighboring Judah. In God’s sight Judah was walking with God, and was faithful to the Holy One (11:12b). God is the “Holy One.” He is faithful and devoted to His people with long and loving mercy. How happy and thankful we should be that God is so faithful to us! How could we ever think of disappointing such a loving faithful God!
Yoshitaka Kobayashi. Ph.D