Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hosea 7: 13-16

13 Woe to them, for they have strayed from Me!
Destruction is theirs, for they have rebelled against Me!
I would redeem them, but they speak lies against Me.
14 And they do not cry to Me from their heart
When they wail on their beds;
For the sake of grain and new wine they assemble themselves,
They turn away from Me.
15 Although I trained and strengthened their arms,
Yet they devise evil against Me.
16 They turn, but not upward,
They are like a deceitful bow;
Their princes will fall by the sword
Because of the insolence of their tongue.
This will be their derision in the land of Egypt.

In this last part of Hosea 7, I am picking up on the strong emotion that Carmen alluded to in comments on the post from two weeks ago. "God seems so sad here, none care, none seek Him," she wrote. It is quite obvious from the tone of the text this week that the fallen relationship with Israel is a personally hard-hitting blow to God, and He is angry about it.

God recalls the gifts of preparing His people--"trained and strengthened their arms" (vs. 15). Yet Israel used those gifts for evil purposes rather than godly ones. God would like to redeem His people, "but they speak lies against Me." (vs. 13) Where there was grace, in return, there was disrespect, injustice and self-righteousness. Even Jesus lamented over Israel's condition, in this cross-reference from Matthew:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling."
--Matthew 23:37

But, Israel's list of wrongs is overbearing to God in light of His patience, grace, mercy and love:

  • "Strayed from Me" (vs. 13)
  • "Rebelled against Me" (vs. 13)
  • "Do not cry to Me [but] for the sake of grain and new wine they assemble themselves" (vs. 14)
  • "Turn away from Me" (vs. 14)
  • "...Turn, but not upward" (vs. 16)

My study Bible notes in verse 14 that many ancient translations use "gash themselves" rather than "assemble themselves." Gashing refers to ritualistic behavior that came with idol worship. If you want to read a cool story of faith--and understand this gashing behavior--read I Kings 18, starting with verse 20, about how Elijah showed the people the difference between God and Baal. Trust me, you'll be fired up after you read it--LOL!

Actually, the princes of Israel have much in common with the prophets of Baal. They will be short-lived. The "insolence" on their tongue will be "their derision." 'Insolence' means rude, insulting or disrespectful speech or behavior. The King James Version uses "the rage of their tongue." [Strong's] What does James say about the tongue?

"So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell."
--James 3: 5 & 6

In the end, Egypt, former home of the enslaved Israelites, will mock the princes of Egypt ("their derision"), as their words, their deeds, their hearts would lead them back into captivity.

“But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker,
Who gives songs in the night,
Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth
And makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?’"
--Job 35: 10 & 11

"Israel Reaps the Whirlwind"--You know Chapter 8 is up to no good.... 'Til next Wednesday!


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Next week: Hosea 8: 1-7

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).

1 comment:

Carmen said...

It is truly sad. I believe that God will show Himself strong on their behalf even once more, as they recognize Him and weep for Him. I believe that day is coming soon as we see the unrest in the Middle East coming to a head. We live in such incredible times; we watch His prophecies coming true right before our eyes. What a merciful God He is!