In chapter twelve, the northern and southern kingdoms are compared. The north has repeatedly chased . . . nothing. The prophet calls it “wind,” and an east wind at that, hot, dry, and killing. Why would they do that?
Why indeed? It doesn’t make sense. In chapter 13, that same east wind is going to bring not just hot, parching air, but the judgment of the Lord.
Judah, on the other hand, has likewise struggled with the Lord just as Jacob had. He, however, had overcome the struggle. Judah . . . not so much. They still have work to do.
In His dealings with His people, God had used prophets like Moses and Samuel to lead His people. They have a prophet now, Hosea, but they think the prophet insane (9:7). Unfaithful to their heritage, oblivious to God and unrepentant of sin, the Lord’s people are plunging headlong into disaster. They have no one to blame but themselves.
The Church is not the sub-total of its liturgy or government, but of its behavior. God did not judge the individuals of Israel because of their sins, he judged all of Israel together because of the sins of her individual citizens. We have an individual responsibility to live as God pleases. The fate of our fellow members in the body of Christ depends on it. Like Israel, we stand or fall together.