If you have been reading Hosea this week, you have seen all of the many ways the people have been unfaithful to God and yet in chapter 11 today God returns to the image of the father with his infant son, how he holds him in his arms, and teaches him to walk. But he also talks about how this child misbehaves and how livid it makes the father.
But despite everything Israel has done wrong God promises:
I will not give vent to my blazing anger
Why will he not vent his anger?
For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you;
God may feel sadness and even anger at his child. What parent doesn't? I remember well the number of times my mother threatened to kill us or smack us into the middle of next week. But she never did. She loved us too much.
And God loves us even more. God is not like us. God does not loose his temper. The worst we get from God is the old expression "you made your bed, now you lie in it." But even there God's mercy kicks in and if we are repentant, we only have to lie in it for short while.
God always keeps his promises but not his threats.
At its foundation the story of Hosea and his unfaithful wife Gomer reminds us that even when we are unfaithful God remains faithful.