The Lion In His Den
The two giant male lions worked all night to tear the thick hippo skin apart so that they could get at the good meat. Then after two days, when the males had eaten their fill of this once mighty beast, they signaled and the females and young in their pride came in for the feast. The males withdrew and took a nap under a big tree.
The LORD, the Savior of Israel, is often presented as a lion there to protect His people in the Old Testament, but Hosea used this lion imagery not to comfort, but to threaten. Both the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom in the 730s BC abandoned the LORD as their protector. Ahaz, the King of Judah, cried out instead for Tiglath—Pileser III to come and rescue him from an attack by Israel and Syria. Then after the Assyrians devastated the land of Israel, destroying their crops and slaughtering many of their people, Hoshea, the new pro-Assyrian king in Israel cried out to Assyria for help against invasions from Judah.
At Sinai, the LORD told his people through Moses that he would protect them from their enemies if they faithfully submitted to him and his rule. Instead, we’ve seen how they worshiped idols, sex, material things, and the powerful intoxication of murderous violence. Assyria liked to portray themselves as a powerful lion devouring the nations. Hosea declares that the true lion Israel, Judah, and all of us need to be concerned about is God Himself.
If we are in intimate relationship with him and allowing his Spirit to enable us to obey the LORD’s instructions, he’s the lion who protects us. But when we disobey, he can become the lion who destroys us. He doesn’t actively do this. Instead, he simply withdraws his protection and leaves us to handle things on our own. We might think this personal autonomy is a liberating freedom, a good thing. It’s actually the most dangerous condition of all.
Hosea doesn’t stop with the imagery of God as the devouring lion. He goes on to say that God will also become debilitating diseases—illnesses that result from disobeying his life-giving commands. Hosea not only refers to God as the lion who devours those who reject him but also as the puss filled infection that drains away life from those who forget to learn and obey His moral commands (cf. Deut. 28:59,61).
Remember how Hosea confronted God’s people going to their worship centers and engaging in promiscuous sex? Sex outside of marriage has consequences. Down through time venereal diseases have infected those who break God’s commands. Our 21stcentury culture attacks anyone who suggests that the new sexual liberation isn’t so liberating.
“I am an infected puss-filled sore to Ephraim, like a ravenous moth to Judah.
When Ephraim saw his debilitating disease and Judah his infected sore, Ephraim went to Assyria and appealed to the great king for help. But he is not able to cure you or heal your infected sores.
For I am like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to Judah.
I will tear them to pieces. I will carry them off and there is no one to rescue them.
I will go, return to my den until they admit their guilt and seek my face. In their distress maybe they will earnestly seek me.”
I know that it’s not politically correct today to preach like Hosea, but he’s the man who loved us enough to confront us with the truth. The LORD was patient. He gave Israel from 733 to 722 to admit their guilt and seek his face. Then he allowed the Assyrians to come and defeat Israel and scatter them to the winds. Please turn to the Lion of Judah and let him forgive and heal, not judge and destroy.
LORD, I’ve seen enough friends wasted by flagrantly disobeying your moral commands. Please use this Devo to the ones who are beginning to experience the power of your discipline to wake up, admit their sin, and allow your Son’s death to provide forgiveness and healing so that they won’t experience the power of your powerful, lion-like jaws.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!