Hosea 7 -- 14
Though greatly blessed in the Promised Land, the people in the Northern Kingdom of Israel did not return to the Lord their God, nor seek Him. . . . Ephraim (the leading tribe of the Northern Kingdom) is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria for national security rather than worship the Lord according to His Word and trust Him for protection (Hosea 7:10-11). Nothing could be more foolish for the Israelites than to seek help from Egypt, which once enslaved them, or to make friends with Assyria, which soon would destroy them. Far more serious, however, was that, in doing this, they were rejecting the Lord, who loved them and who called them out of all the people in the world to be His people.
The Book of Hosea illustrates Israel's ingratitude as "an adulterous wife" turning from her covenant relationship with God to worship man-made idols. The leaders of Israel had gone up to Assyria . . . I have written . . . great things of My Law, but they were counted as a strange thing (of no concern). . . . for Israel has forgotten his Maker. They have . . . corrupted themselves . . . their glory shall fly away like a bird . . . they shall be wanderers among the nations (8:9,12,14; 9:9,11,17). Here we find a heartrending plea from the Lord for Israel to return to Him before they are destroyed: It is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you (10:12). We can feel God's heartbreak as He sadly says: I drew them with cords . . . of love. . . . O Israel, you have destroyed yourself; but in Me is your help (11:4;13:9).
Although former warnings of judgment from God were changed to a message of compassion, this did not mean that He had changed His mind. It meant that, even though a Holy God must judge His people, He ultimately promised restoration if Israel would repent, return to Him, and reject the idols which drew them away, saying: O Israel, return to the Lord your God, for you have fallen by your iniquity (14:1).
Israel had put its trust in other nations and their gods (5:13; 7:11; 8:9-10) and in its own strength (12:8), rather than in the One who is the Only True Savior. However, we see the willingness of the Lord to show mercy, as He always does to any repentant sinner, when He said: I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely (14:4). On the day they were conquered, lost everything, and were dragged away by the Assyrians, surely some of the Israelites remembered the final words of the prophet Hosea: Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? Prudent, and he shall know them? For the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall (14:9).
Just as the Israelites were promised restoration if they would repent and return to God, so every sinner has the opportunity to be delivered from the slavery of sin. Jesus was the perfect, sinless Son of God, and He alone was qualified to be our substitute and die on the cross for our sins. When we repent and turn from our sins to accept Jesus as our Savior and let Him control our lives, we are freed from the power of Satan, sin, and spiritual death. Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. . . . That the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. . . . For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:2,4,6).
In the son who was called out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1). This prophecy is twofold: one is a historical reference pertaining to Israel (Ex. 4:22-23); and the other is prophetic, looking to the sojourn of Christ as a child in Egypt (Matt. 2:15).
8:4 I knew it not means without consulting Me; 9:1 a whoring means in an unfaithful way; cornfloor means threshing floor; 10:5 calves means calf idols; 10:7 is cut off as the foam upon means shall disappear like a straw; 10:11 to ride means to put in harness; 11:12 ruleth with God means is faithful to God; 13:12 hid means kept on record for punishment; 13:14 repentance means pity.
BPM Staff: Karen Hawkins · Pray for Valarie Harper, Statewide Coordinator, Ohio BRM · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast sponsored by Lucy Brana · Country: Cyprus (709,000) in the Middle East · Major languages: Greek and Turkish · No open evangelism or conversions to Christ · 75% Greek Orthodox; 19% Muslim; 1% Protestant; 1% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for your Christian friends (Philemon 1:4).
Memory Verse for the Week: