Even God has a breaking point. The sin of idolatry spread like a cancer throughout the northern kingdom of Israel. With each international alliance came new false, pagan gods to worship. God watched as His beloved people kept rejecting Him, rejecting the law so clearly given, until He could no longer let it continue. God crushed Israel in judgment and the Israelites were scattered throughout Gentile territory with no country to call home. Gratefully, in God’s greater plan, there is redemption and salvation. Let’s dig in…
“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!
2 Its people don’t realize
that I am watching them.
Their sinful deeds are all around them,
and I see them all.
3 “The people entertain the king with their wickedness,
and the princes laugh at their lies.
4 They are all adulterers,
always aflame with lust.
They are like an oven that is kept hot
while the baker is kneading the dough.
5 On royal holidays, the princes get drunk with wine,
carousing with those who mock them.
6 Their hearts are like an oven
blazing with intrigue.
Their plot smolders through the night,
and in the morning it breaks out like a raging fire.
7 Burning like an oven,
they consume their leaders.
They kill their kings one after another,
and no one cries to me for help.
8 “The people of Israel mingle with godless foreigners,
making themselves as worthless as a half-baked cake!
9 Worshiping foreign gods has sapped their strength,
but they don’t even know it.
Their hair is gray,
but they don’t realize they’re old and weak.
10 Their arrogance testifies against them,
yet they don’t return to the Lord their God
or even try to find him.
11 “The people of Israel have become like silly, witless doves,
first calling to Egypt, then flying to Assyria for help.
12 But as they fly about,
I will throw my net over them
and bring them down like a bird from the sky.
I will punish them for all the evil they do.
13 “What sorrow awaits those who have deserted me!Hosea 7 NLT
Let them die, for they have rebelled against me.
I wanted to redeem them,
but they have told lies about me.
14 They do not cry out to me with sincere hearts.
Instead, they sit on their couches and wail.
They cut themselves, begging foreign gods for grain and new wine,
and they turn away from me.
15 I trained them and made them strong,
yet now they plot evil against me.
16 They look everywhere except to the Most High.
They are as useless as a crooked bow.
Their leaders will be killed by their enemies
because of their insolence toward me.
Then the people of Egypt
will laugh at them.
“Sound the alarm!
The enemy descends like an eagle on the people of the Lord,
for they have broken my covenant
and revolted against my law.
2 Now Israel pleads with me,
‘Help us, for you are our God!’
3 But it is too late.
The people of Israel have rejected what is good,
and now their enemies will chase after them.
4 The people have appointed kings without my consent,
and princes without my approval.
By making idols for themselves from their silver and gold,
they have brought about their own destruction.
5 “O Samaria, I reject this calf—
this idol you have made.
My fury burns against you.
How long will you be incapable of innocence?
6 This calf you worship, O Israel,
was crafted by your own hands!
It is not God!
Therefore, it must be smashed to bits.
7 “They have planted the wind
and will harvest the whirlwind.
The stalks of grain wither
and produce nothing to eat.
And even if there is any grain,
foreigners will eat it.
8 The people of Israel have been swallowed up;
they lie among the nations like an old discarded pot.
9 Like a wild donkey looking for a mate,
they have gone up to Assyria.
The people of Israel have sold themselves—
sold themselves to many lovers.
10 But though they have sold themselves to many allies,
I will now gather them together for judgment.
Then they will writhe
under the burden of the great king.
11 “Israel has built many altars to take away sin,Hosea 8 NLT
but these very altars became places for sinning!
12 Even though I gave them all my laws,
they act as if those laws don’t apply to them.
13 The people love to offer sacrifices to me,
feasting on the meat,
but I do not accept their sacrifices.
I will hold my people accountable for their sins,
and I will punish them.
They will return to Egypt.
14 Israel has forgotten its Maker and built great palaces,
and Judah has fortified its cities.
Therefore, I will send down fire on their cities
and will burn up their fortresses.”
O people of Israel,
do not rejoice as other nations do.
For you have been unfaithful to your God,
hiring yourselves out like prostitutes,
worshiping other gods on every threshing floor.
2 So now your harvests will be too small to feed you.
There will be no grapes for making new wine.
3 You may no longer stay here in the Lord’s land.
Instead, you will return to Egypt,
and in Assyria you will eat food
that is ceremonially unclean.
4 There you will make no offerings of wine to the Lord.
None of your sacrifices there will please him.
They will be unclean, like food touched by a person in mourning.
All who present such sacrifices will be defiled.
They may eat this food themselves,
but they may not offer it to the Lord.
5 What then will you do on festival days?
How will you observe the Lord’s festivals?
6 Even if you escape destruction from Assyria,
Egypt will conquer you, and Memphis will bury you.
Nettles will take over your treasures of silver;
thistles will invade your ruined homes.
7 The time of Israel’s punishment has come;
the day of payment is here.
Soon Israel will know this all too well.
Because of your great sin and hostility,
you say, “The prophets are crazy
and the inspired men are fools!”
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.
9 The things my people do are as depraved
as what they did in Gibeah long ago.
God will not forget.
He will surely punish them for their sins.
10 The Lord says, “O Israel, when I first found you,
it was like finding fresh grapes in the desert.
When I saw your ancestors,
it was like seeing the first ripe figs of the season.
But then they deserted me for Baal-peor,
giving themselves to that shameful idol.
Soon they became vile,
as vile as the god they worshiped.
11 The glory of Israel will fly away like a bird,
for your children will not be born
or grow in the womb
or even be conceived.
12 Even if you do have children who grow up,
I will take them from you.
It will be a terrible day when I turn away
and leave you alone.
13 I have watched Israel become as beautiful as Tyre.
But now Israel will bring out her children for slaughter.”
14 O Lord, what should I request for your people?
I will ask for wombs that don’t give birth
and breasts that give no milk.
15 The Lord says, “All their wickedness began at Gilgal;
there I began to hate them.
I will drive them from my land
because of their evil actions.
I will love them no more
because all their leaders are rebels.
16 The people of Israel are struck down.
Their roots are dried up,
and they will bear no more fruit.
And if they give birth,
I will slaughter their beloved children.”
17 My God will reject the people of IsraelHosea 9 NLT
because they will not listen or obey.
They will be wanderers,
homeless among the nations.
The Jews ended up scattered all over the world with no country to call home until 1948 with the formation of the State of Israel. We’ll soon see where that is predicted by Old Testament prophets and the prophecy was fulfilled.
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.
2 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.
3 Then they will say, “We have no king
because we didn’t fear the Lord.
But even if we had a king,
what could he do for us anyway?”
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.
5 The people of Samaria tremble in fear
for their calf idol at Beth-aven,
and they mourn for it.
Though its priests rejoice over it,
its glory will be stripped away.
6 This idol will be carted away to Assyria,
a gift to the great king there.
Ephraim will be ridiculed and Israel will be shamed,
because its people have trusted in this idol.
7 Samaria and its king will be cut off;
they will float away like driftwood on an ocean wave.
8 And the pagan shrines of Aven, the place of Israel’s sin, will crumble.
Thorns and thistles will grow up around their altars.
They will beg the mountains, “Bury us!”
and plead with the hills, “Fall on us!”
9 The Lord says, “O Israel, ever since Gibeah,
there has been only sin and more sin!
You have made no progress whatsoever.
Was it not right that the wicked men of Gibeah were attacked?
10 Now whenever it fits my plan,
I will attack you, too.
I will call out the armies of the nations
to punish you for your multiplied sins.
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.
I will force Judah to pull the plow
and Israel to break up the hard ground.
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.’
13 “But you have cultivated wickednessHosea 10 NLT
and harvested a thriving crop of sins.
You have eaten the fruit of lies—
trusting in your military might,
believing that great armies
could make your nation safe.
14 Now the terrors of war
will rise among your people.
All your fortifications will fall,
just as when Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel.
Even mothers and children
were dashed to death there.
15 You will share that fate, Bethel,
because of your great wickedness.
When the day of judgment dawns,
the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.
We Reap What We Sow
I was once told that a weed is a wildflower in the wrong place. God’s creation is amazing! However, any seed planted in the wrong place will not produce good fruit. I remember one of our neighbors in upstate New York decided that to save the time and effort of mowing the lawn, he would seed his front yard with clover. The problem with that was when the clover bloomed, the wind blew the seeds into everyone else’s yards. Needless to say, my dad and the other neighbors were not happy.
That’s what happens with sin. That’s what happened to Israel. They made friends with the neighboring nations and adopted their pagan rituals and idol worship. Their very nature became warped. A garden infested with weeds.
On our own we can’t repair a warped nature or heart. We can’t weed out the sin. We need Jesus. Jesus cuts out our warped heart and replaces it with a pure one. He cleanses and purifies us. But, you have to be willing to let HIM change you. You have to sincerely repent of your sins and stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and follow Jesus ONLY!
True repentance digs deep into our lives to clean out the rocks and weeds and plant seeds of righteousness.
Today, my last and favorite aunt went to be with Jesus. My cousin assured me that she was born again. That brought me joy amidst my sadness. That’s what I was praying for since I didn’t know for sure. In this picture, my dad is on the far right. I only know for sure that Waldo, the one in the middle is with Jesus. I don’t know if seconds before they died, my dad, or my other uncles prayed for salvation. I won’t know until I go to heaven. I hear that when that happens we’ll be in so much awe of being in the presence of Jesus that we won’t miss our loved ones who aren’t there. On the other hand, we may just be surprised as to who is there.
Are you ready to meet God Today? You might just! It’s time to get right with God!
What are you waiting for?!
In Christ Alone
Top image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)
The 5 Solas
- Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
- Sola Fide (“Faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
- Sola Gratia (“Grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
- Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Savior, Redeemer, Lord and King
- Soli Deo Gloria (“to God alone be the Glory.”): It’s all about God not us.