Reading Hosea this morning I was struck by the connection:
Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, And wall her in, So that she cannot find her paths. She will chase her lovers, But not overtake them; Yes, she will seek them, but not find them. Then she will say, "I will go and return to my first husband, For then it was better for me than now."
Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself, he said, "How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.'"
Both stories, in fact, are beautiful accounts of Yahweh's covenant faithfulness even in punishing his people. In fact, in Hosea the punishment of the Lord is far from punitive and far even from passive abandonment of Israel to the natural consequences of her disobedience. It is an act of love whereby God reminds Israel from whom she has everything and woos her back to himself.