I will place them in their houses. (Hosea 11:11)
God’s judgment of foreign exile for Israel was intended to have the same effect as a lion’s roar. It was to restore the fear of the Lord in them and then to restore them to their land. As Hosea puts it, “When he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west. They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, says the Lord” (Hosea 11:10 –11).
The people of Israel were exiled to Egypt and Assyria because of their spiritual deafness and insensitivity. God said, “I will place them in foreign lands.” There they would hear God’s roar in this painful providence and begin to tremble before Him again, as a dove would upon hearing a lion nearby. Trembling is mentioned twice (v. 10, 11) in order to emphasize the predominant characteristic of God’s repentant people. This double trembling at God’s word would hasten their flight from captivity. Having returned to God, He would again “place them in their houses,” the place of security, comfort, and rest.
Our churches and nations are ripe for God’s roar. We have covered our ears and hardened our hearts. The fear of God is not before our eyes. Sometimes we hear the divine roar in the distance through terrorist attacks, floods, tsunamis, or earthquakes. We stop for a moment, listen for a moment, fear for a moment, then get on with our lives. Gradually, we grow harder and harder. How near does the roar have to get before we tremble as a bird, until we fly to Him as a dove? Oh, for more trembling in God’s people!
God’s roars are not intended to frighten us away from Him but to draw us to Him. Perhaps God is roaring in your life and you are beginning to tremble before His omnipotence and your impotence. Your life is all upside down, and everything is falling apart. May your trembling draw you out of sin and its disordering consequences to Christ and His order-restoring salvation. He can make all things well again for you. Peace, harmony, safety, and a sense of belonging are restored. “I will place them in their houses.”