Does God’s love fail? “I no longer love them” Hos 9:15

““Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal, I hated them there. Because of their sinful deeds, I will drive them out of my house. I will no longer love them; all their leaders are rebellious.”
‭‭Hosea‬ ‭9:15‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“I hated them there”, “I no longer love them”.
How can God who is all loving say this?! We have been taught that God loves us no matter how big our sin is. That nothing can make God’s unconditional love for us fail.

Can someone please help on this?

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@Miriameweida Great question :slight_smile: To properly understand Hosea 9:15, we first need to distinguish between the fact that God is love and God’s covenant faithfulness to Israel. Consider the following:

  • God is love. That will never change. Everything that God does is loving.
  • God is the Judge of all the earth. He forgives all who repent and come to Him, but He does not let evil go unpunished.
  • Israel was in a conditional covenant with God—if they obeyed Him, they would be blessed. If they became evil like the nations around them that God was driving out, they would be cursed. See Deuteronomy 28.

Now, in Hosea the nation of Israel has broken their covenant with God by becoming wicked. They were oppressing the poor and worshiping idols, so God’s covenant love for them failed because they had broken the covenant. They had become evil. That does not mean that God quit being love, but that the time had come for God to execute justice. However, God does not enjoy punishing anyone, as we see in Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 33:11 - Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’

However, in Hosea God makes a promise to restore Israel. He says that He will woo her back to Himself so that He can restore a remnant of the faithful. Hosea has a message of hope in the midst of judgment for Israel’s wickedness, as do all the prophets. These messages of hope ultimately point to Jesus and the New Covenant.

Hosea 2:14-15 - “Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.
15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

So, Hosea has a message of judgment with hope for the future. God is love and Jesus is the ultimate expression of His love for humanity. But God does not let evil go unpunished and will one day judge the living and the dead.

Exodus 34:5-7 - Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

Deuteronomy 18:9 - When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, don’t learn to do the terrible things the people of the other nations there do.

Deuteronomy 28:15 - However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you


Hi @Miriameweida!

Thank you for sharing this worthwhile question. You certainly are not the only one to be troubled by this. In fact, something along these lines has been brought up as the #ask-rzim:question-of-the-week. I saw it there and wanted to highlight it here in this thread as well because it speaks to your question about the biblical language of God’s “hatred”: Does God hate sinners?

I hope this contributes to your ongoing thinking and study on these matters, Miriam!