Hosea is sometimes considered a prophet of doom who used his own life experiences to represent the experiences of the people of Israel with God. In Hosea 13, God takes on the role of a parent chiding naughty children. His people have wandered so far from him that they have forgotten him. They have turned to idolatry even though they knew that God would not bless them for this action. They just kept on doing what felt good at the time. He reminds them that he is in charge, he is God, and they will be sorry for losing sight of that.
Like most teenage girls, I was sure that my mom didn’t understand anything. She was always wrong. We argued a lot about stuff that was, in retrospect, pretty minor. Usually, I had done or said something not particularly well-advised. During these confrontations, she would remind me who was in charge. Lacking the good sense to say, “Yes ma’am” and turn from the error of my ways, I would reply with an ill-advised remark that cast aspersions upon her relative intelligence. At this point in the conversation, I would sometimes hear a comment like, “This is the thanks I get!” Her remark would often elicit an eye roll, which I am convinced was audible and which did nothing to improve my situation. I would storm out of the room, slam my bedroom door, and stay out of her way for a while. Later I would apologize, be forgiven, and life would go on. I never learned that I was making it harder on myself by talking back and having to endure punishment.
The people of Israel were God’s petulant teenaged children, who knew better than He did, and were dead set on following their own path. God loved them but was not pleased with them. The Israelites would turn from the error of their ways, but the lesson would not be pleasant.
We often behave like know-it-all teenagers making things harder because we are arrogant enough to be sure our way is the right way. God provides for us, and this is the thanks we give him.
Julie Arndt of St. Mark's, Lumberton is a Lutheran-by-marriage, a middle school English teacher, shameless bookworm, and lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Trek. and Star Wars. Julie edits St. Mark's newsletter, which moved to weekly during the pandemic. Julie and husband, Robert, share a love of books and movies, and road trips. They are proud aunt and uncle to three nephews and one niece, a great-nephew and, by the time this is published, a new great niece.
1. Are there times when you have been a petulant child of God?
2. How do we know when we are following God’s path for our lives instead of our own?
Father, thank you for loving us even when we behave like children who are sure we know better than you do. Help us to remember who you are and what you have done for us. Amen.