WAITING on GOD continually for DIVINE FAVOR: "He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and in his strength he struggled with God. Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed; he wept, and sought favor from Him. He found Him in Bethel, and there He spoke to us--that is, the Lord God of hosts. The Lord is His memorable name. So you, by the help of your God, return; observe mercy and justice, and wait on your God continually." (Hosea 12:3-6)
In the above passage, Hosea draws a lesson from the life of Jacob, the father of the nation. Jacob’s deceitful character was evident when he grabbed the heel of his brother Esau during the time he was born into the world (see Gen. 25:26). However, Jacob encountered many life-changing events, and his spiritual growth came to a climax when he had a wrestling match with God during the night before he was reunited with his brother.
During this incident Jacob wrestled with God, which highlighted his rebellious struggle with God at Bethel. At the end of this encounter, Jacob acknowledged his dependence on God by crying and begging for divine favor, and thereafter received God’s manifold blessings (see Gen. 32:24–30). So, just as Jacob had come to his senses and recognized his dependence on God, so Israel was to repent (return), reestablish justice in society, and depend (wait) on the Lord!
The patriarch Jacob, from whom the nation of Israel has descended, always wanted God’s best, even though he did not always seek it God’s way. He had finally ‘struggled with God’ until he finally ‘found him at Bethel’ (Gen. 28:10–22; 35:1–7). In the same way Israel needed to return to God. Israel, as did Jacob, must now find its strength in God alone!
Jacob tried to trip up Esau at birth (Gen. 25:26); he fought with God (Gen. 32:22–32); but he returned to Bethel and found God’s blessing again (Gen. 35). The time had come for Israel and Judah to return to God and repent of their sins (12:6). God does not judge only to destroy, but also to call His people to repentance, which ultimately leads to deliverance and restoration. In tenaciously seeking God’s blessing, Jacob set a positive example for the nation (v. 6). Like Jacob, who returned to Bethel to fulfill his vow (Gen. 35:1–15), Israel must return to the Lord.
As a spiritual application for our lives, we need to return to God by waiting on Him continually for divine favor and blessings. Jacob was willing to wrestle during the whole night with the Angel of God before He prevailed. As a result, God endowed Jacob with manifold blessings and even changed his name from Jacob (meaning ‘supplanter’) to Israel (meaning ‘a prince with God’). God’s divine favor flowed on Israel from that point forward.
Let us decide to wait on God continually so that His divine favor and blessings may flow through our lives as well. "For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him." (Isaiah 64:4) "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him." (Lam. 3:25)