Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hosea 13: 9-14

 9O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.
 10I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities?
And thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes?
 11I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.
 12The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid.
 13The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him:
he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long
in the place of the breaking forth of children.
 14I will ransom them from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death:
O death, I will be thy plagues;
O grave, I will be thy destruction:
repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

A first for this blog--going all King James Version for our lead text! There are just some times when this is the most clear translation to understand. (Even if you have to read saidst instead of said.)

The Lord is reminiscing a bit here, but, still, He pleads with Israel to see the Light! I think of Psalm 121: "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth." (vs. 1-2) Yes, Israel has destroyed itself by itself through itself. But, the Lord is their help. Even more, the Lord is their King.

This is where more of Israel's history is brought forward, as Hosea reminds the nation of its troubled past in asking for help outside of God. A history of Godly leaders, yet the nation was not satisfied until it could look and behave like other nations. (The trouble with satisfaction! See last week's post.) So, they begged for a king.

"...And they said to him, 'Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.' But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, 'Give us a king to judge us.' And Samuel prayed to the LORD. The LORD said to Samuel, 'Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.'"
--I Samuel 8: 5-7

Don't miss what God said to Israel. "They have not rejected you, Samuel, but they have rejected Me." God allows for His people to continue to try their hand at sowing their seeds of help. There was the period of the judges--with Samuel closing that out--followed by the period of kings, which started with Saul. I had to chuckle as I read through some of the cross references about him. He made quite an entrance: “'Has the man [Saul] come here yet?' So the LORD said, 'Behold, he is hiding himself by the baggage.'” I couldn't help but think, how true of those "kings" we place before God!! By the baggage and hiding. We turn down God for what? 

Now, after many kings in Israel--not to mention a divided kingdom--God says, enough already. (vs. 11 & 12)

"The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him...for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children." 
--vs. 13

If you are a woman who has borne a child, then you understand the "sorrows of a travailing woman." Israel has come to a place in which it is about to experience significant pain, struggle and aloneness. This is an interesting metaphor, as Israel will know the pain of the mother yet is depicted here as the child unwilling to move from the birth canal. Says my study Bible: "By long deferring a 'new birth' with repentance, the nation was like a child remaining in the canal dangerously long and risking death." He is an "unwise son," indeed!

"But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God...."
--Romans 2:5 (NASB)

But, who brings delivery? Remember what we read last week: "For there is no savior besides Me." (Hosea 13: 4b) As foolish an infant is Israel is, God brings about deliverance, not the child! "I will ransom them...." "I will redeem them...." (vs. 14) Death and the grave have no power over God our help! Does this sound familiar?

--I Corinthians 15:55 (NASB)

Paul quotes Hosea in I Corinthians, as he calms the fears of those who fear the finality of death. "The sting of death is sin," Paul says in the next verse. Those birthpangs represent the sting of death--Israel's sin. God could have allowed His people to die--oh, so many times, in fact. But, no--again, no! The covenant He made, He would continue to uphold. He would put ultimate wrath aside and bring intense discipline through separation of His people. Ultimate victory was coming through the Messiah--the King of Kings! "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God...." (I John 3:1, NASB)

"Thus says the LORD,
Who gives the sun for light by day
And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar;
The LORD of hosts is His name:
'If this fixed order departs
From before Me,' declares the LORD,
'Then the offspring of Israel also will cease
From being a nation before Me forever.'
Thus says the LORD,
'If the heavens above can be measured
And the foundations of the earth searched out below,
Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel
For all that they have done,' declares the LORD."

--Jeremiah 31: 35-37 (NASB)

"Before the hills in order stood, or earth received her frame, from everlasting, thou art God, to endless years the same."
--O God, Our Help in Ages Past

But, His people would have to wait. And wait....

Chapter 13 concludes.... 'Til next Wednesday!

Merry Christmas, Friends!
Emmanuel has come....


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Next week: Hosea 13: 15-16

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).