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What is the significance of Hosea 11:8–9?

After plotting severe judgment against Israel (vs. 5–7) the Lord says,

“My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
I will not execute my fierce anger…
I will not come in wrath.”

This passage shows that God experiences conflict between his compassion and his justice and that he sometimes alters his plans (his heart “recoils”) as a result (cf. 1 Chron. 21:11–15; Ezek. 20:5–22). He is a personal God who sometimes experiences conflicting emotions as he participates in the ups and downs of life with his people. Only a preconceived, philosophical ideal of what God is “supposed” to be like would ever suggest that this tender portrayal is one of weakness. In truth, God’s responsiveness is a demonstration of his strength.

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