Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hosea%208-14&version=NIV
As I read this, I reviewed what I wrote last year about this section. And amazingly, the same things were running through my head again. I thought about all the Israelites had done…good and bad…. since Moses (400 years prior to Moses there was Joseph and only 70 Hebrews….with Moses….they had prospered and grew to 2-3 MILLION people.) They saw some amazing miracles, were taught God’s laws, knew HIS love for them, rebelled, followed and married the very people God had wanted them to destroy before entering the Promised Land. Recalling all that the Israelites did that was unpleasing to God, brings up memories of what I have done unpleasing to God. Then the peace that passeth understanding once again came upon me when I read: “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.” Thank You God for your living Word!!
Israel will reap what it sows. An eagle is over the house of the Lord is symbolic that Assyria is about to conquer Israel (also referred to as Ephraim in our reading. Ephraim was the largest tribe in the Northern Kingdom so Israel is often referred to as Israel….just as Judah was the largest tribe in the Southern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom was referred to as Judah.)
As I read most of today’s reading, I must admit it was a hard one for me. The subtitles for each of today’s chapter’s were: Chapter 8– “Israel to reap the whirlwind” Chapter 9 & 10– “Punishment for Israel” Chapter 11– “God’s Love for Israel” Chapter 12–“Israel’s sin” Chapter 13– “The Lord’s Anger Against Israel” and then Chapter 14–“Repentance to Bring Blessing” (ahhhhh….a breath of peace and hope.)
Chapter 8:11 says: “Though Ephraim built many altars for sin offerings,
these have become altars for sinning.
It is EASY to read this and say: “BUT that is ALL history…what does it have to do with me?” or “WHY does Hosea go on and on and on about all Israel did?” or even “HOW can these people be so STUPID…why don’t they JUST repent..for real…in their heart…just do it already?” Remember God’s Word is LIVING. 2 Timothy 3:16 AMP says: “Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action)…”
Therefore, when we read all the Israelites did that they are NOW about to be held accountable for; we must remember that they were people just like us. God gave us the Words of Hosea to remind us of all that the Israelites did to help keep us on track through example. AND … if we have gotten off track…to help us remember that Jesus came so we may have a personal relationship with HIM, be forgiven, turn from our ways, live the abundant life here in this life, and spend eternity with our Abba Father in the next.
In today’s society we have made many Christian tokens, charms, beads, candles, statues, places, or rituals that we may THINK are pleasing to the Lord because they were once created for the Lord, but have become a sinful way of idolatry and worship. Whatever you use in your worship, make sure it is Scriptural and that you are using it in the right way and not as a substitute for God and Jesus. The Israelites were using things that everyone else around them used. They were doing things that the rest of society found acceptable. And although many prophets were sent to Israel to WARN them to TURN back to God ….their pride and self righteous nature made them believe either they did not need God…OR they were doing everything right with out HIM so the prophesies did not pertain to them. RIGHT?
Are the warnings over? All the other prophets have a “warning” about them, but not Hosea. Hosea is not only recounting Israel’s past sins, but he also is painfully remembering the ways of his wife (God did have Hosea marry her so he would have a personal and intimate understanding of Israel’s unfaithfulness and God’s unending faithfulness. NOW Hosea is saying…it’s gonna happen! If you recall reading the book of Judges, God raised up Judge after Judge yet Israel ALWAYS went back to their old ways. Well, we have had warning after warning…..God is Patient!!! BUT Israel allowed themselves to slowly, gradually, pull away from God. Their change was so gradual that they didn’t even realize how bad they were. They were “just living life.” They weren’t doing anything that everyone else wasn’t doing. BUT…..they had forgotten God. They were worshiping THEIR creations rather than THE CREATOR!! They had sunk so deep they were oblivious to their sin. Does this sound anything like our nation and our world today??? Could this be a little present day prophecy?
If you write in your Bible go to Chapter 9
9:9 Gibeah…flip to Judges 20:8 and reread the story of the concubine being offered up for rape.
9:10 Baal Peor…Numbers 25, when the Israelite had worship sex with the Moabite, and Phineas stabbed them in the act!
9:15, once a religious city where Saul was anointed, now a capital of Baal worship
And then by Chapter 10 verse 2 reminded me of all the times we have read in Kings and Chronicles with each new King that “he did not take down the high places of worship, or the alters…” so in Hosea 10 it finally says “the Lord WILL demolish them”, and then goes on to remind the people..King or NO King it does not matter because MAN will always disappoint!! Their is only ONE King who will NEVER break HIS promise! J-E-S-U-S HE’s my LORD and KING!!!
Chapter 11 in my Bible is called “God’s Love for Israel”. Again, this was a hard reading for me. Here I have been reading about all that was going to happen to Israel and HE is about to let Assyria attack, capture, and exile HIS PEOPLE! I hear people who don’t read the bible or know God personally say “HE is MEAN and full of wrath…..HOW can HE be a loving God!” And I have to stop and think about a loving parent, guardian, grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc who takes the responsibility for a child…. a rebellious, defiant, hard to handle, stubborn, hard headed, strong willed child……dealing with this type of child requires a LOT of prayer, a LOT of LOVE, and a LOT of consistent loving discipline. To the child….the discipline does not appear to be loving or even necessary. And, I am not speaking of beating a child….but being consistent (which requires a lot of human energy) in guiding them in the right direction, helping them make wise choices, WARNING them a few thousand times, and then just simply having to take ACTION and make their choices for them through discipline. No matter how bad things become, the parents and caregivers LOVE that child with all their heart. The discipline is not pleasant for the child or the parents, but must be done if there is ANY HOPE OF CHANGE.
God is the same. He tells us in Scripture that HE disciplines those He loves. HE loves His People and He has expressed every emotion to bring them back to His ways. Warnings did NOT work!! Now God will discipline them and it will not be pleasant, short lived, nor easy….but in an effort to get their attention…bring them back to HIM…and reveal HIS love in a deeper way…HE WILL discipline them.
Chapters 12 and 13 ….. ummmmmm yep….. you can tell God is angry! He is going all the way back to Genesis (it always does!). He is talking of Jacob and Egypt…and he is reminding them of all He had done for them but back in 11:5 He gives his reason. it is SIMPLE. Because they DO NOT repent. That is the KEY! It was then and it is NOW. Confession is step 1, Repenting is the Key!!!!
Finally in 14 one last plea. REMEMBER…. it has been several hundred years since David when Israel was in UNITY and several hundred more years since MOSES!! HIS people KNOW HIS ways but they REFUSE to be obedient to HIM. In this chapter HE describes HIS love for them once again but HE tells them basically: “it is now up to you…..you are either for ME or against ME….if you do not REPENT and TURN BACK TO ME…..PUNISHMENT WILL COME AND IT WILL NOT BE BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT BEEN WARNED!! I’m sure we have all met people who say –“BUT a loving God would not have done this….a LOVING GOD would not send HIS child to HELL.” The sad part is that the people who say this can’t understand that God does NOT SEND anyone to hell!! We have ALL been given FREE WILL. WE have a CHOICE whom we will serve. If we CHOOSE NOT to serve God…then we make OUR OWN CHOICE as to which path we will choose for our eternal lives…. God or satan….heaven or hell. God has given us HIS Word to guide us and warn us. HE has given us HIS son to save us and show us HIS love, compassion, mercy, grace, and so much more. HE has given us HIS Holy Spirit to dwell within us and guide us. However…..if we CHOOSE NONE of HIS ways……THAT is a CHOICE that will last us ALL of ETERNITY.
So…..the message is…if you don’t know Jesus…. what are you waiting for??…it is no accident that you are reading this today. If you don’t know HIM you can write me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject of BLOG, or read the “What IF” tab at the top of the page of this blog. If you do know Jesus…what is HE speaking to you about today? Is there an area HE wants you to work on so you can be made more into HIS image…. TRANSFORMED more?
Sharing HIS love,