When The Lion Is God
Last Thursday one of my friends posted a scary warning on Facebook. One of her neighbors saw a mountain lion with three cubs in their neighborhood. She spotted the cat in a tree and then the next day she posted that her 140-pound dog had been killed. In twenty years in this neighborhood, she had seen bobcats, coyotes, and wild turkeys, but the prowling mountain lion had her on edge.
There were not only lions in ancient Israel but also leopards and bears. The deep Jordan rift valley flowing from Galilee to the Dead Sea, combined with the mountains of Samaria, provided good cover. Israel’s audience, like my Texas neighbor, had to deal with the threat of wild animals. Hosea knew this, but he identified the lion, leopard, and bear with someone we might never expect—God.
“As they enjoyed the lush pasturage, they became satisfied, proud in their hearts, and this caused them to forget me. So I will be to them like a lion (cf. Hosea 5:14), like a leopard on the prowl by the path. I will confront them like a bear robbed of her cubs. I will rip their heart out and devour them. There I will devour them like a wild beast.
You, O Israel, are destroyed because you are against me, against your ally.” Hosea 13:6-19
Hosea makes it clear. If you’re murdering people, including children in bloody sacrifices, bowing and kissing idols, fornicating and committing adultery, covering the guilt with alcohol, and mocking the man of God trying to get you to wake up and admit your sin and turn back to God, then you better not sing, “O love of God, how rich and pure!” Instead, you need to take a hard look at what the Assyrians did to Israel in 722BC because Hosea declares that this destruction took place as God’s judgment against the people’s hardened repeated rejection of God’s faithfulness and love.
LORD, help me find forgiveness, protection, and love as I trust in the Lion of Judah, but help me to never forget that there is power in those teeth and claws against anyone who allows evil to become their hardened modus operandi.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!