Scripture reading – Hosea 5; Hosea 6; Hosea 7

This is the first of two Bible studies for today.

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Hosea 5 – The Court is in Session

Our spiritual courtroom continues in Hosea 5, and the priests, king, and the people are judged guilty as charged (Hosea 5:1). God declared, “I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: For now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled” (Hosea 5:3).  (Remember that Ephraim was the largest and most influential tribe of the northern ten tribes of Israel.)

An Appeal Rejected (Hosea 5:6-7)

The people appealed to the LORD for mercy, going “with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord” (Hosea 5:6a), but Hosea declared, “they shall not find Him [the LORD]; He hath withdrawn himself from them” (Hosea 5:6b).

Judgment Declared (Hosea 5:8-15)

For Israel, the hour to repent was past, and the judgment of the LORD was imminent. A trumpet was heard (Hosea 5:8), and the judgment of God declared: “Ephraim [i.e., Israel] shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: Among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be” (Hosea 5:9).

Like a lion that seeks and devours its prey, the LORD declared, “be unto Ephraim [Israel] as a lion, And as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him” (Hosea 5:14).

Judgment Declared (Hosea 5:8-15)

Closing thoughts for Hosea 5 –

I close Hosea 5 and am reminded how much our world parallels Israel’s last days and hours as a nation. The priests had failed to teach the people the Law and Commandments, even as preachers in our day trifle with their sacred duty to declare the Word of God. Yet, many content themselves with congregations that are more akin to houses of entertainment than places of worship.

Nevertheless, a few preachers are willing to declare the whole counsel of God, and this generation of believers will not be excused for their failure to seek sound, biblical, and unapologetic teaching. What a tragic time!  In the hour the nations of the world were desperate for a clarion call to repent and turn to God, the spiritual leaders of Israel were themselves guilty of all wickedness (Hosea 4:6-11). The spiritual leaders had failed God and the nation!

 

 

A Time to Sow, A Time to Reap (Hosea 6)

Hosea 6

After modeling the LORD’s longsuffering for Israel by restoring his adulterous wife (Hosea 3), Hosea called on Israel to return to the LORD (Hosea 6:1). In Hosea 5, the LORD described His judgment of Israel like a lion that attacks and tears its prey, and retreats to its lair (Hosea 5:14-15). Following that analogy, Hosea appealed to His people and said, “Come, and let us return unto the Lord: For he hath torn, and he will heal us; He hath smitten, and he will bind us up” (Hosea 6:1).

 

Seek the LORD (Hosea 6:1-3)

Longing for His people to turn from their sins, Hosea promised the LORD would receive them if they genuinely repented (Hosea 6:2). As sure as the sun rises and rain refreshes the earth, the prophet promised the LORD would accept them, heal their wounds, and bind up their sorrows (Hosea 6:3).

The Sickle of God’s Judgment (6:10-11)

The Pseudo-Piety of Israel and Judah (Hosea 6:4-6)

Both Ephraim (the principal tribe of northern Israel that represented the nation) and Judah (the southern kingdom) made a pretense of “goodness” (Hosea 6:4). Tragically, however, their religious piety was temporal and fleeting, like “a morning cloud, and as the early dew” (v6:4).

Because His Word “is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword” (Hebrews 4:12), the LORD sent prophets who “hewed” [cut] the people with words that had “slain them” (convicted, Hosea 6:5). Like lightning that pierces a darkened sky, the prophet’s messages pierced the hearts of the people (Hosea 6:5).

Though the people brought offerings to the LORD, their hearts were stubborn and proud. Hosea declared the LORD did not require sacrifices but “mercy” (faithfulness; favor, Hosea 6:6a). The LORD, like a husband who desires his wife’s affections and devotion, required more than “burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6a). He longed for His people to have a personal, intimate “knowledge” of Him (Hosea 6:6b).

Israel’s Covenant with the LORD was Broken (Hosea 6:7-9)

The LORD chose Israel above all nations, to guard and keep His Covenant; yet they followed the sins and idolatry of the heathen and “transgressed the covenant” (i.e., disobeying His Law and Commandments, Exodus 20). The nation had “dealt treacherously” (20:7), and Gilead, a city of refuge of help, became a refuge for murderers (Hosea 6:8). The unfaithful priests that remained in Israel were like the people…robbers, murderers, and guilty of all manner of sexual depravity (Hosea 6:9).

The Sickle of God’s Judgment (6:10-11)

We sense the emotion and terror rising in Hosea’s voice as he declares, “I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: There is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled” (Hosea 6:10). Hosea’s vision of God’s judgment was a terrible thing to behold. Ephraim, a principal tribe of Israel, was described as a spiritual whore, and thereby all the nation was defiled (Hosea 6:10).

Once again, Hosea turned his focus from Israel and warned, O Judah, He [the LORD] hath set an harvest [a time of cutting and reaping] for thee” (Hosea 6:11a). The vision of the sickle, the tool of the harvest, and its cutting blade gliding through the grain was a devastating picture of God’s judgment.

Assyria devastated Samaria and northern Israel, and more than a century later, Judah was judged when Babylon destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem and carried away the remnant that survived the siege. Yet, the LORD promised He would return “the captivity of my people” (Hosea 6:11b). Indeed, seventy years after Jerusalem was destroyed, the Jews were freed to return to their land.

 

Closing thoughts for Hosea 6 –

Hosea was God’s prophet for the hour, and by word and example, he urged Israel to turn to the LORD and promised He would heal the nation (6:1). Yet, the people continued their wickedness. The LORD sent prophets whose messages were powerful and cutting (Hosea 6:5), but the people preferred priests who mirrored their wicked ways (Hosea 6:7-9).

Please take a moment and consider the culture of our world today. Many realize the wickedness of those in authority, but how many of our homes and churches mirror the vileness the LORD declared was a provocation of His judgment against Israel and Judah? There is a time for sowing and a season for reaping what is sown. Indeed, God’s judgment against Israel and Judah should serve as a warning to us.

Galatians 6:7–97Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

 

Are you ready for the sickle of God’s judgment?

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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