When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
Of all the passages that we have looked at so far, this one may be the most unusual. It was not generally considered to be a Messianic text in Ancient Israel. From a basic reading of Hosea’s prophecy, it is a clear reference to the Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land. The sins of Jacob had ultimately led his family to Egypt where they were enslaved for many generations. God led the nation out of this bondage, out of Egypt, through the prophetic ministry of Moses. “When Israel was a child” or when they were an infant nation, not fully formalized, God “called” them out and adopted them as His “son”.
The understanding that Israel was the adopted son of God is the basis for Hosea’s message. But when Matthew writes His Gospel, the Holy Spirit leads him to understand this verse differently.
And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” -Matthew 2:14-15
According to Matthew, the reason that Joseph took his family south into Egypt was not ultimately to protect them from Herod; but rather because the Spirit led them to fulfill this verse! They had to go to Egypt so that this verse would make sense. How do Matthew’s remarks change our understanding then? It should lift our gaze from the page of the Old Testament to see the glory of Jesus in all things. Jesus is the ultimate Israel. He is the ultimate Son. When He was a child, God loved Him and called Him out of Egypt so He could accomplish His plan to redeem His people. The picture of Israel’s exodus, though historical, is little more than a picture of our exodus from sin, which is only possible, because Jesus was spared death and called out of Egypt before us.