“How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.” – Hosea 11:8
They deserve judgement.
“My people are bent on turning away from me.”
They get grace.
“My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender.
I will not execute my fierce anger;”
God’s heart turns.
It’s a very strong word used here. It is translated different ways:
“my heart churns within me” (NKJV)
“my heart is torn within me” (NLT)
“my heart is turned within me” (ASV)
“my heart within me is overwhelmed” (NJB)
God’s heart is capable of fierce anger and great tenderness. They are not opposites but two essences in the same heart; the sum and substance, the warp and woof.
Anger and grace are not opposites. They are hinged on love.
God is angry. Yet Israel gets compassion.
God is wrathful. Yet Israel gets forgiveness and grace.
And it happens in the heart of God, this tumbling, turning, churning love.
I think Hosea 11 is one of the most beautiful love poems in the Bible.
It is a window into God’s heart.