Israel’s Judgment and Call To Repentance
by Cindie York
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Hosea 6:4-7 “O Israel and Judah, what should I do with you?” asks the Lord. “For your love vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like the dew in the sunlight. I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces-to slaughter you with my words, with judgments as inescapable as light. I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings. But like Adam, you broke my covenant and betrayed my trust.”
God wants us to be full of love for one another and to have a deeper relationship with Him. True love never fades. And with any relationship trust is very important. Once it is betrayed through lies, deceit, etc. it is nearly impossible to regain. The relationship gets disjointed and unity is broken. Sin, in the case with Israel, causes a disconnection, separating them from God, thus causing disharmony.
Though Israel is ridden with sin, literally oozing from every fiber of their being, God first sends a warning to repent or pay the consequences. Vengeance belongs to the Lord. We know throughout history God has sent a warning to the people prior to judgment and chastisement, whether it was sent through the prophet Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, or in this case Hosea. God will always raise up a watchman to be on guard, to be prepared, and eventually sound the alarm…make the warning!
The position as watchman is not an easy task, but God is ever present. The watchman, Hosea will be used to urge the people of Israel to turn from their evil ways and repent of their numerous sins.
Hosea 9:8 The prophet is a watchman over Israel for my God, yet traps are laid for him wherever he goes. He faces hostility even in the house of God. (The one sent to sound the alarm and to warn will meet opposition, not be well-received because of the severity of sin, the proclamation of judgment, and explanation of the consequences of disobedience)
Israel is called to repentance but their response was inadequate, falling short of the will of God.
Israel’s love for wicked sinful behavior:
Hosea 7:1-2 “I want to heal Israel, but its sins are too great. Samaria is filled with liars. Thieves are on the inside and bandits on the outside! Its people don’t realize that I am watching them. Their sinful deeds are all around them, and I see them all. (Liars, thieves, selfish, ignorant)
Hosea 7:8 “The people of Israel mingle with godless foreigners, making themselves as worthless as a half-baked cake! (Lukewarm, middle ground, fence straddling, trying to mix God and the world)
Hosea 7:10 Their arrogance testifies against them, yet they don’t return to the Lord their God or even try to find him. (Arrogant, proud, complacent)
Hosea 8:4-6 The people have appointed kings without my consent, and princes without my knowledge. By making idols for themselves from their silver and gold, they have brought about their own destruction. O Samaria, I reject this calf this idol you have made. My fury burns against you. How long will you be incapable of innocence? This calf you worship, O Israel was crafted by your own hands! It is not God! Therefore, it will be smashed to bits.
Hosea 13:2 Now they continue to sin by making silver idols, images shaped skillfully with human hands. “Sacrifice to these,” they cry, “and kiss the calf idols!” (Idolatrous, rebellious, self-motivated)
Hosea 10:1-2 How prosperous Israel is- a luxuriant vine loaded with fruit. But the richer the people get, the more pagan altars they build. The more bountiful their harvests, the more beautiful their sacred pillars. The hearts of the people are fickle; they are guilty and must be punished. The Lord will break down their altars and smash their sacred pillars.
Hosea 13:6 But when you had eaten and were satisfied, you became proud and forgot me. (Give no glory to God, unthankful to the God of abundant blessing)
Hosea 10:4 They spout empty words and make covenants they don’t intend to keep. So injustice springs up among them like poisonous weeds in a farmer’s field.
Hosea 11:7 For my people are determined to desert me. They call me the Most High, but they don’t truly honor me. (Insincere, pretenders, non-committed)
Hosea 10:5 The people of Samaria tremble in fear for what might happen to their calf idol at Beth-aven. The people mourn and the priests wail, because its glory will be stripped away. (Wicked, vain, sinful-Beth-aven means house of wickedness)
This verse sickens me because the Lord calls the people to repentance and warns the people of His impending judgment and they are not shaken… but the thing that shakes the people is what might happen to their idol, worried about its glory! Talk about priorities out of whack.
The consequences of rebellion, disobedience, sin:
Hosea 10:11”Israel is like a trained heifer treading out the grain-an easy job she loves. But I will put a heavy yoke on her tender neck.
Hosea 13:3 Therefore, they will disappear like the morning mist, like dew in the morning sun, like chaff blown by the wind, like smoke from a chimney.
Hosea 13:7 So I will attack you like a lion, like a leopard that lurks along the road.
Hosea 13:8 Like a bear whose cubs have been taken away, I will tear out your heart. I will devour you like a hungry lioness and mangle you like a wild animal.
Hosea 13:15 Ephraim was the most fruitful of all his brothers, but the east wind-a blast from the Lord-will arise in the desert. All their flowing springs will run dry, and all their wells will disappear. Every precious thing they own will be plundered and carried away.
***There is healing for the repentant, those who turn from their wickedness. There is always a remnant of God’s people who are saved.
The mercy and compassion from a God of abundant blessing:
Hosea 11:8-9 “Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go? How can I destroy you like Admah or demolish you like Zeboiim? My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows. No, I will not unleash my fierce anger. I will not completely destroy Israel, for I am God and not a mere mortal. I am the Holy One living among you, and I will not come to destroy.
Hosea 14:1-3 Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sins have brought you down. Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord. Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises. Assyria cannot save us, nor can our warhorses. Never again will we say to the idols we have made, ‘You are our gods.’ No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy.”
Hosea 14:4-7 The Lord says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness, my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars of Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon. My people will again live under my shade. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.
Hosea 10:12 I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’ (Wow! What an awesome verse!)
Hosea 14:9 Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.
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