“Therefore, see, I am alluring her, and shall lead her into the wilderness, and shall speak to her heart, Hosea 2:14 (Institute for Scripture Research)
Therefore – Israel is a mess. God sends Hosea to pronounce His verdict. Israel has become an idolatrous, disobedient nation filled with violence, abuse and perversion (sounds like other nations, doesn’t it?). Israel has not fulfilled its commission. It is not representing God’s character on earth. It looks just like every other pagan nation. There is no justification and no excuse. The verdict is in. Israel will be punished.
We expect the next thing that God says to be the sentencing. But what happens next is a complete non sequitur from a human perspective. “Therefore” (laken), says God, “I will woo Israel back to its beginnings, to the place of My refuge, to My love and concern.” What? Israel is full of prostitution, adultery, idolatry and moral failure. For this reason, God takes them back? The rationale is completely backwards. If anything, God should give up on this people and cast them away as a failed experiment. But that’s not what happens. Dearman suggests that laken should be translated “even so” in this verse just to make sense of this impossible conclusion. In spite of all that Israel has done, God doesn’t give up. Punishment? Yes. Abandonment? Not a chance. God sees Israel’s debauchery for what it really is – a cry for help. He will bring chastisement because He must get Israel’s attention, but because God loves Israel, He will not walk away. Israel has divorced YHWH, but YHWH has not divorced Israel.
We have a lot to learn in the book of Hosea. First we learn some very important lessons about God’s faithfulness. He keeps His promises no matter what. That alone should be enough for us to raise a red flag when theologians begin to talk about a “new” Israel. If God doesn’t give them up after the pronouncement of Hosea, He certainly isn’t going to give them up 1,000 years later.
Second, we learn that Israel’s idolatry and disobedience is exactly like ours. We chase the Ba’als just like they did. Power, money, sex and all of its variations come wooing us. Far too often we follow them. God steps in with punishment – and love. Since He doesn’t give up, He views all disobedience as the opportunity to turn us around. The lesson from Hosea is that no matter how far we have fallen, the distance is never insurmountable. God’s wilderness is right around the corner.
Finally, we discover that punishment is the best thing for wayward children. This is not wrath (make sure you know the difference). Without punishment there is no incentive to turn (shuv), therefore punishment is a moral imperative. When God has you under His thumb, rejoice. It is a sure sign that He is not giving up on you. He intends to bring you back and you have the stripes to prove it.
Topical Index: therefore, laken, punishment, Hosea 2:14
 J. Andrew Dearman, The Book of Hosea, NICOT, p. 119.