I will again make you dwell in tents.— Hosea 12:9
Listen to this for a proud boast: “Surely I have become rich, I have found wealth for myself; in all my labors they shall find in me no iniquity that is sin” (Hos. 12:8). It was for such proud self-confidence that Israel would be once again removed from its land and suffer Egypt-like bondage. And yet, here Hosea holds out hope for an Egypt-like exodus by promising a new celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles which commemorated that event: “But I am the Lord your God, ever since the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of the appointed feast.”
Israel’s festivals were all times of rejoicing, but the Feast of Tabernacles was especially marked by joy (Lev. 23:40; Deut. 16:15). This was partly because the feast celebrated the harvest of corn and grapes, but mainly because, by spending time in homemade tents in the desert, they were reminded of God’s miraculous provision for them when they lived as desert-nomads for forty years. What a comfort Hosea’s promise of restored festivals must have been to God’s people in exile. What hope this holds out to the repentant! God will restore our festivals and our joy if we repent.
Proud unbeliever, you have resisted God and rejected His mercy. You are self-confident and independent. You have no sense of your own sinfulness. But God is bringing you down. Your life has turned sour. You are not so sure of yourself as you once were, and you wonder if there is any hope for one who was so proud and defiant as you were. Be encouraged with this promise of mercy: “But I am the Lord your God, ever since the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of the appointed feast.”
Perhaps you are a believer who has been walking in your own strength and at a proud self-sufficient distance from God. But now you are miserable. You wish you could experience total dependence on the Lord again. Listen to God’s gracious promise: “I will again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of the appointed feast.” There is no frivolity or superficiality at the Lord’s feasts; this is serious and substantial joy.