This week’s Haftarah portion is Hosea 2:1–22. Listen in as Dr. Jeffery Myers evaluates the beautiful prophetic words of Hosea on reconciliation between Hashem and Israel against the backdrop of the travails of the Wilderness.
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftarah:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftarah Portion – Hosea 2:1–22
This week’s haftorah begins with the words, “The number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor counted.” This is appropriate given the Torah portion is Numbers 1-4. The Hebrew title of Numbers – B’midbar or “in the wilderness” – says it all. The book of Numbers opens in the wilderness of Sinai and concludes in the wilderness, not at the foot of Sinai, but in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho.
The wilderness and its challenges shape Israel into the holy nation HaShem has called it to be. The forty years of wandering seem to be a tragic delay but prepares Israel to take the land. The desert, which seems to be a place of exile and fruitlessness, is also a place of encounter with HaShem. The wilderness is barren and remote, but it is there where we hear YHVH’s Word. In the wilderness Yah speaks! The Torah is teaching us that it is in the place of difficulty, challenge, and temptation that we find Adonai. However, the wilderness is also a place of complaining, rebellion, and failure. Life’s difficulties can bring us into an encounter with Adonai, but they can also embitter and destroy us. It can be a place of revelation or rebellion! What makes the difference? Our response! We can emerge from the wilderness better and stronger or embittered and defeated. As we trust in the Yah who reveals Himself throughout Torah as trustworthy, our wilderness becomes a place of encounter with Him. Our difficulties and disappointments in life can draw us into greater understanding of HaShem and His ways or can drive us away from Adonai altogether. How are you responding to the tough, frustrating situations that are in your life right now?
In Hosea, the people are rebuked for their infidelity, abandoning their “husband”, Adonai, and engaging in adulterous affairs with pagan deities. Hosea reveals the punishment for their unfaithfulness. However, Hosea, eventually reassures the people that if they repent, Adonai will receive them back completely! The haftorah concludes with the powerful and well-known words: “And I will betroth you to Me forever, and I will betroth you to Me with righteousness and with justice and with loving-kindness and with mercy.”
As the body, we receive the anointing of the Ruach because the Head of the body, Yeshua, was anointed. We must remain faithful to the Head; we must stay connected to the Head and live a life that is pleasing to Him. We are His Bride and we must remain faithful to our Bridegroom.
We are blessed and protected by the outpouring of the Ruach as we remain obedient to His Torah. We are to take on the same characteristics as the Head. Conformity to Yeshua would be the expected result of the abiding Ruach HaKodesh. Adonai among His people; this is the ultimate and final purpose. For the Yah of Abraham, Isaac, and Ya’akov is a Yah who longs to dwell in the midst of His people. He desires friendship, companionship, and who brings the shalom of His presence. Such covenant promises are repeated in Hosea 2, which paints the picture of Yah’s enduring, covenant faithfulness. The final wrapping of the tefillin of the arm, the strap encircling the fingers, pictures a wedding ring as the betrothal verse is spoken.
In this faithfulness we will know Adonai! The goal is not to: “know about” Adonai, but to know Him, to experience that close, intimate love of a marriage covenant with one’s Creator and Redeemer. Yah is calling the people back to their beginning, a return to their first love, when they traveled through the wilderness, being guided and protected by Yah who went with them, dwelling in their midst. It is the very Word of Yah, the Torah, that must govern the people of Adonai.
The metaphor of betrothal is changed a bit in the words of Yeshua, He is the Groom and those who believe in Him are the Bride. The Father is the One making the arrangements, drawing the Bride to notice and love His Son. In the greatest of marriages, the Father has chosen a bride for His Son, one that would be committed to Him forever.
However, in Hosea, Israel’s unfaithfulness is exposed and is punished being guilty of breaking the covenant. Hosea reveals a Yah who gives mercy and doesn’t give mercy. Yah’s patience had already reached its limit! The people had repeatedly rebelled and turned to idols. Their sins would be judged and they would be punished. But Adonai would show them mercy again, His favor would once again be given to His Bride and He would restore them to Himself finally. As a faithful and committed husband, Yah would not let Israel go easily.
What we see in Hosea is a vivid picture of a restored relationship. Adonai is once again going to show mercy and “woo” Israel back to Himself. He says, “I will allure her” and “speak tenderly to her.” It should not be necessary for Adonai to have to win back what is already His. In this we can see that He really desires to have a relationship with Israel. He wants to call her His people. In this we see the depth of Yah’s mercy.
As the infinite Creator of the Universe, He exists to eternity past. Adonai most certainly does not need people, but He still pursues us! Adonai is the one who takes the initiative at every point in the relationship.
In I John 4:19 it says, “We love because He first loved us!”
If it wasn’t for Adonai…, where would we be?
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha!
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Shalom and enjoy His Sabbath!