I will ransom them from the power of the grave. (Hosea 13:14)
Hosea 13:1–13 sets forth the death of Israel in stark and graphic terms. Israel “died” at Baal Peor (v. 1). They pass away “as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passes away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney” (v. 3). Wild beasts tear them limb from limb (v. 8). And yet in the midst of this deathly, funereal atmosphere, the prophet is given a glimpse of the nation’s resurrection: “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death.” What a death, but what a resurrection! What a ransom which delivers from death and the grave!
Sometimes, when God begins a saving work in a soul, He shows the sinner how his soul “died” through various sins he committed. We all have our “Baal Peors.” Then He impresses on the grieving sinner the brevity of life and the imminence of death. Wherever the soul looks, it sees life rapidly passing and death accelerating towards him—the morning cloud, the evaporating dew, the wind-blown chaff, the chimney smoke, all so brief, all so eloquent of life and death.
The terrifying grave opens its ghastly mouth for young and old. The soul is dead, the body is dying, the grave is gaping. But prayer is rising, “Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: O Lord, how long?…. Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for your mercies’ sake. For in death there is no remembrance of you: in the grave who shall give you thanks?” (Ps. 6:2–5).
“Then he is gracious to him, saying, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth: he shall pray unto God, and he will be favorable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy” (Job 33:24 –26).
What a resurrection! And what a ransom! “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).