God loved Israel. He loved her and chose only her among all the nations of the earth (Deuteronomy 7:6-8). She was the apple of His eye, the heart and focus of all His attention and devotion (Zechariah 2:8). He called her “wife” though she did not call Him “husband” (Hosea 2:19). He cared for her and did everything possible to please her, even turning curses into blessings (Deuteronomy 23:5).
Israel said that she loved God too, but discounted His love at every turn (Malachi 1:2). She would draw near to Him, but in her heart she thought of Baal, the god of her pagan past (Hosea 9:10). Her lips would speak the praise of the One who loved her with zeal, but her heart was far from Him and He knew it (Isaiah 29:13). She worried what Baal thought and would do. She wanted to please him (Judges 2:13).
God loved His wife so much that from eternity past, He gave up His only Son for her (Revelation 13:8). She repaid His demonstration of divine love by serving her former love with greater abandon (Judges 10:6).
Finally God gave up on Israel and set her aside (Romans 11:21). She could return to Baal (Hosea 11:7). God walked away, if even for a time, divorcing His wife (Jeremiah 3:8). He would have to leave her until in utter desperation she’d realize her need of Him, and His great love for her, pouring out His love on another, the Gentiles, making her His bride (Romans 11:11).
Will Israel ever realize the extraordinary love of God for her? Will she ever be willing to set aside her former gods for the One true God? Will she ever love Him and truly commit to being His and His alone? Will she recognize what she lost?
The Bible tells us throughout the minor prophets that one day there will be a remnant of Israel left, a small portion of what she used to be (Micah 5:7). Her glory will be gone, her hope faded, her beauty turned to ashes, her joy dissolved, her life wasted. Then she will realize the loss of the one and only who really loved her. Then all Israel shall be saved (Romans 11:26).