Hosea – Chapter 9

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In this chapter, Hosea is talking about the judgement Israel is receiving for their sins. They committed adultery with other nations and have sinned against their Lord and Husband.

The food and wine that once sustained them will fail and not fill them.

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God is forcing them to leave the land He gave to them. Now they have to return to Egypt to be slaves to the Egyptians and Assyrians.

Jeremiah 2:7: ‘I brought you into a bountiful country, To eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land And made My heritage an abomination.’ NKJV

The unclean food they will have to eat will make them dirty inside and out.

Ezekiel 4:13: ‘Then the Lord said, “So shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, where I will drive them.”’ NKJV

They no longer offer wine to the LORD and their sacrifices no longer please Him. Their sacrifices will ‘be like bread of mourners’ and will defile them.

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Their bread is their life so even offering their lives to God will not please Him because they are defiled and they aren’t allowed in the LORD’s house.

Jeremiah 6:20: ‘For what purpose to Me Comes frankincense from Sheba,And sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, Nor your sacrifices sweet to Me.”’ NKJV

Hosea asks them what they will do during the appointed feasts and feast days of the LORD. It seems like they don’t observe the feasts and holidays that God set forth for them to celebrate, either.

The people of Israel and Ephraim are gone, taken by Egypt, for ‘destruction’. Their homes and possessions are overtaken by weeds and undergrowth.

Hosea 9:6 ‘For indeed they are gone because of destruction.
Egypt shall gather them up;
Memphis shall bury them.
Nettles shall possess their valuables of silver;
Thorns shall be in their tents.’ NKJV
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The day of reckoning is upon Israel. And they know it. The greatness of their sin and the enmity of the Israelites has driven the prophet(s) of God insane.

Enmity means a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity; antagonism. So the hostile nature the Israelites have picked up against God has made His prophets crazy. I can’t imagine why…*insert eye roll here*. They were told again and again to change, brought out of Egypt by miraculous means, and still turned against the One Who saved them. If that doesn’t drive a prophet crazy, I don’t know what will!

Micah 7:4: ‘The best of them is  like a brier; The most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge; The day of your watchman and your punishment comes; Now shall be their perplexity.’ NKJV

Luke 21:22: ‘For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.’ NKJV

The one who guarded Ephraim is now with God. The false prophets they have now ensnare them, bringing more enmity between God and the Israelites.

Ezekiel 33:7: ‘“So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.’ NKJV

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They are corrupted and evil like ‘in the days of Gibeah’ (vs 9). God will remember their sins and punish them for it!

Judges 19:22: ‘As they were enjoying themselves, suddenly certain men of the city, perverted men, surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!”’ NKJV

The days of Gibeah. Wow. I read more than just the verse referenced here and was shocked and disgusted by the way these people acted. If the Israelites during the time of Hosea acted like this too, then no wonder the prophets went crazy and God punished them so badly!

God found Israel and their fathers in the wilderness like fresh first fruits: unblemished and untarnished by the world. ‘But they went to Baal Peor’ (vs 10) and became like the abominations He loathed.

Numbers 25:3: ‘So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.’ NKJV

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Ephraim’s glory is gone forever, flown away like a bird. None of the women are getting pregnant or having babies.

They bring up the children they have but are ‘bereaved’  and deprived to the last one. God declares ‘woe to them’ when He leaves them (vs 12).

Deuteronomy 31:17: ‘Then My anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured. And many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’’ NKJV

Even though Ephraim was ‘planted in a pleasant place’ (vs 13) and are God’s people, they sacrifice their children. The ritual killing of children is abhorrent in God’s sight and He never asked His people to do something so heinous. But they are and to idols, false gods that don’t exist.

So Hosea asks the Lord what He will give His people that have gone astray. Miscarriage and dry breasts are part of their punishment. They have no children to nurse and therefore no reason to nurse.

Because of their wickedness, evil deeds, and rebellion in Gilgal, God has hated them and will drive them from His house. He no longer loves His people because they’ve turned away. Even their princes are rebels against God.

Isaiah 1:23: ‘Your princes are rebellious, And companions of thieves; Everyone loves bribes, And follows after rewards. They do not defend the fatherless, Nor does the cause of the widow come before them.’ NKJV

God has stricken Ephraim with infertility and miscarriages.

How very sad. And what a curse for a time like that. Even now, infertility and miscarriages are sad. In a time when children were known as a blessing from God and infertility a curse, this must have been very difficult. Children were the ones that helped care for the family and herds. They were an inheritance and kept the lands in the family.

So God casts His people away for their disobedience and causes them to be ‘wanderers among the nations’ (vs 17).

2 Kings 17:20: ‘And the Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel, afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them from His sight.’ NKJV

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What are your thoughts on Hosea chapter 9? Share them in the comments below!

Hosea – Chapter 8

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This chapter is titled The Apostasy of Israel.

Apostasy means ‘a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion, principles, party, cause, etc.

Wow. Hosea has told us that Israel is leaving and has left the Lord and here he tells us that they have completely deserted Him.

My guess here is ‘he’ refers to the Assyrians or the king of Assyria. Because of the Israelites rebellion and transgression, he will come against the house of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 28:49: ‘The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand,’ NKJV

So Israel cried out to God but they did so in vain. They claimed to know God but actions speak louder than words. You can’t claim to know God and be one of His people and then not follow His commands and do the opposite of what He requires you to do.

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Then they sought to be with God and be under His protection but it was too late.

Psalm 78:34: ‘When He slew them, then they sought Him; And they returned and sought earnestly for God.’ NKJV

So Israel’s enemies pursued them because they rejected God and what was good for them.

Without God’s input and blessings, the people of Israel set up kings and princes. But the Lord didn’t acknowledge them. The Israelites created idols of silver and gold so God cut them off from Himself.

God rejects the idols because they are merely statues. He is furious with the Israelites for breaking His commandments. Hosea tells us that God wonders when they will attain their innocence again.

Jeremiah 13:27: ‘I have seen your adulteries And your lustful  neighings, The lewdness of your harlotry, Your abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe to you, O Jerusalem! Will you still not be made clean?”’ NKJV

Workmen of Israel created the idols that will soon be broken to pieces. Just as Israel will be torn apart and become slaves, so too will their idols. The idol statues will soon be non-existent.

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The Israelites plant nothing but wind so nothing will come of it. But if something does, the people of Samaria and Israel won’t eat the harvest, foreigners will.

Proverbs 22:8: ‘He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, And the rod of his anger will fail.’ NKJV

Useless and empty, the Israelites are taken by the Gentiles and are swallowed up and among them.

Jeremiah 25:34: ‘“Wail, shepherds, and cry! Roll about in the ashes, You leaders of the flock! For the days of your slaughter and your dispersions are fulfilled; You shall fall like a precious vessel.’ NKJV

The Israelites are in Assyria, captured to be slaves. They are ‘like a wild donkey alone by itself’ (vs 9).

Jeremiah 2:24: ‘A wild donkey used to the wilderness, That sniffs at the wind in her desire; In her time of mating, who can turn her away? All those who seek her will not weary themselves; In her month they will find her.’ NKJV

The Israelites are like a donkey, calling out for mates and following their fleshly desires instead of God’s commands.

Ephraim hired lovers, becoming adulterers. They are so mired down in sin and adultery they paid to be adulterers and idolaters rather than being paid like a prostitute.

Ezekiel 16:33-34: ‘Men make payment to all harlots, but you made your payments to all your lovers, and hired them to come to you from all around for your harlotry. You are the opposite of other women in your harlotry, because no one solicited you to be a harlot. In that you gave payment but no payment was given you, therefore you are the opposite.”’ NKJV

They hired themselves out to other nations and idols and God gathers them together. The evil done by the princes and kings that were not blessed by God will cause them sorrow.

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The altars of sin the people of Ephraim created have ruined them. Their apostasy is their downfall.Wandering from God now will cause us to fall into sin as well and if we don’t change our ways, our sin will give birth to death. So if you feel far from God, or know that you have fallen, repent and follow hard after God! Before you’re melted in the fire!

Despite knowing His laws, the Israelites considered the great things of God strange. They decided the false idols and evil practices of those around them and in the land before them were better than what God had planned for them.

Deuteronomy 4:6-8: ‘Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’

“For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?’ NKJV

They don’t sacrifice by God’s standards and requirements so He doesn’t accept them. He will punish them because of that, remembering their sins and sending them back to Egypt. They chose to be slaves to their sin instead of servants of the Most High so they became slaves to foreigners.

Jeremiah 14:10: ‘Thus says the Lord to this people: “Thus they have loved to wander; They have not restrained their feet. Therefore the Lord does not accept them; He will remember their iniquity now, And punish their sins.”’ NKJV

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When they forgot God their Maker, Israel built temples to foreign gods and idols. Even Judah has fortified multiple cities, presumably from foreigners. They trust in themselves and their walls instead of in the One Who rescued them and freed them. But God will send fire upon those cities and devour them.

Deuteronomy 32:18: ‘Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, And have forgotten the God who fathered you.’ NKJV

Hosea shows us the reality of sin and straying from God. When the Israelites flat out left Him, it destroyed them, but not right away. The sin you are in or keep coming back to will hurt or destroy you in the end, unless you repent and change your ways.

What did you think of Hosea chapter 8? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Hosea – Chapter 7

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God continues to send messages of doom and destruction to the Israelites through Hosea. He said that when He had planned to heal Israel, the wickedness done by Samaria and Ephraim was revealed. This caused their subjugation.

Ezekiel 23:4-8: ‘Their names: Oholah the elder and Oholibah her sister; They were Mine, And they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem is Oholibah.

The Older Sister, Samaria

“Oholah played the harlot even though she was Mine; And she lusted for her lovers, the neighboring Assyrians, Who were clothed in purple, Captains and rulers, All of them desirable young men, Horsemen riding on horses. Thus she committed her harlotry with them, All of them choice men of Assyria; And with all for whom she lusted, With all their idols, she defiled herself. She has never given up her harlotry brought  from Egypt, For in her youth they had lain with her, Pressed her virgin bosom, And poured out their immorality upon her.’ NKJV

But they don’t realize that God knows what they’ve done and now they are surrounded by their sins and guilt as they stand before God.

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Their evil and lies make their princes happy. The Israelite kings are glad when their subjects do wrong.

Micah 7:3: ‘That they may successfully do evil with both hands—

The prince asks for gifts, The judge seeks a bribe, And the great man utters his evil desire; So they scheme together.’ NKJV

All of the Israelites have gone astray and were unfaithful to God.

Verse 4: ‘“Like an oven heated by a baker—

He ceases stirring the fire after kneading the dough, Until it is leavened.”’ NKJV

When the evil had permeated every part of Israel, God could take it no more and set them ablaze.

Jeremiah 23:10: ‘For the land is full of adulterers; For because of a curse the land mourns. The pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up. Their course of life is evil, And their might is not right. ‘ NKJV

Princes made their kings sick with wine and he helped scoffers.

Isaiah 28:7: ‘But they also have erred through wine, And through intoxicating drink are out of the way; The priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink, They are swallowed up by wine, They are out of the way through intoxicating drink; They err in vision, they stumble in judgment.’ NKJV

So the scoffers and princes of Israel prepared their heart with the kindling of sin and it set them on fire, burning and destroying them. Their kings and judges fell and no one called on God. Ephraim had gotten mixed up with the evils of Israel and were burned also.

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The foreign Assyrians took Ephraim’s strength and made him gray-haired. He doesn’t know that he will soon be destroyed.

Isaiah 1:7: ‘Your country is desolate, Your cities are burned with fire; Strangers devour your land in your presence; And it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.’ NKJV

Israel’s pride in their sin is evident and is used as evidence against them. Ephraim is in trouble too. They are silly and flighty, looking to Egypt and Assyria for help when God spreads His trap for them and brings them down.

Isaiah 30:3: ‘Therefore the strength of Pharaoh Shall be your shame, And trust in the shadow of Egypt Shall be your humiliation.’ NKJV

Even though God tried to redeem Ephraim, but they fled from Him. He sends destruction against them for their transgressions.

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Zechariah 7:5: ‘“Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months  during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me?’ NKJV

The people of Israel and Ephraim called out to God when they were in need but not with their hearts, merely with their lips. They didn’t truly repent but rebelled against God. They only assembled to eat and party; they didn’t assemble to praise and worship God.

Now doesn’t that sound familiar? People nowadays are so quick to get together and have a party, eat and drink on Fridays or Saturdays but how many of them go to church on Sunday morning? How many of them have opened their Bibles in the last week? Or even the last month? We meet together to have fun but we have stopped getting together to worship God and have fulfilling and Godly fellowship, which we shouldn’t do (see Hebrews 10:25 NKJV) Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t have fun, as long as we don’t sin or do anything that displeases God. But we need to put spending time in the presence of God and worshiping Him as our first priority, unless we want to end up like the Israelites.

Even though God strengthened and lovingly disciplined the Israelites, they devised evil against Him. They came back but not to God.

Psalm 78:57: ‘But turned back and acted unfaithfully like their fathers; They were turned aside like a deceitful bow.’ NKJV

In the end, their princes will die and they’ll be ridiculed in Egypt by their own curses.

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So what did you think of chapter 7? Do you plan on going to church tomorrow? Don’t stop meeting with other believers! Share your thoughts in the comments below!!

Hosea – Chapter 6

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The Israelites are called to repent and return to the Lord because He is the only one Who can save and heal them.

Isaiah 1:18: ‘“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.’ NKJV

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There are verse references here that refer to Jesus’ death and resurrection on the third day:

Luke 24:46: ‘Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,’ NKJV

Acts 10:40: ‘Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly,’ NKJV

1 Corinthians 15:4: ‘and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,’ NKJV

The resurrection of Jesus is prophesied here. There is hope for the Israelites as well as the rest of the people in His return.

The Israelites are told to pursue the Lord, but we should too. God’s Will must be our first pursuit and priority. If we don’t, we are liable to fall into the trap of idolatry and putting other things or people before Him, just as the Israelites did before their capture.

When we make God our first priority, we are more in tune with Him which makes it easier to discover His Will. Don’t know where to start? Reading the Bible and obeying Jesus is the best first step you could make!

God has always been there and He always will be. He will never change. That makes it easier to learn about and trust Him. Because ‘“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?’ – Numbers 23:19 NKJV

 

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Due to their faithlessness, the people of Judah and Ephraim are judged by God and then slain because He desires mercy and knowledge of Him more than sacrifices and burnt offerings.

Jesus later told the Jews the same thing that God desires mercy more than sacrifices.

Matthew 9:13: But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”‘ NKJV

We know that God wants us to repent and have mercy, be obedient and righteous. He desires it more than making sacrifices to Him. Obedience and having a relationship with God has always been more important to Him than religion and a ton of rules.

The Israelites aren’t the only ones that needed to repent. As sinners, we need to also.

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Rather than showing mercy and increasing their knowledge of God, they disobeyed and dealt treacherously with Him. They were evil and murderous, with blood on their hands. The people of Israel and Judah turned from God and they suffered for it.

God appointed ‘a harvest’ for Judah as well, when He returns the captives. Harvest has more than one meaning but since the harvest spoken of here happens after they come back from Assyria, I take it to mean that they will reap goodness. Since they suffered the consequences of their sin already through their captivity, God brings them back to Him and shows them mercy, because they repented and returned to Him.

God has good things waiting for all of us. We just have to know and obey Him and show mercy and love to others.

What do you think of this week’s devotion? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Hosea -Chapter 5

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Because of the traps they set with their sins, through Hosea God tells Israel to listen up. Despite being rebuked, the rebels and revolters are involved in murder. God sees all of Israel’s harlotry and how they sin against Him.

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They don’t know God and their pride and harlotry are obvious. It will soon destroy them.

‘“You only have I known of all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”’ NKJV Amos 3:2

Judah stumbles also because of Israel and Ephraim. This is something that applies to us today. When non-believers look at us, who do they see? Do we reflect the world or our Lord? Sometimes, we are the only ‘Jesus’ people see and if we don’t be careful, we could cause others to stumble.

‘Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.’ Romans 14:13 NKJV

We must live our lives the way Jesus instructs us: in love and obedience to Him. We need to make sure that whatever we do, we do it for the glory of God and that nothing we do causes someone to stumble, sin or fall.

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I wonder here if Hosea means they tried to sacrifice to God again with their flocks and herds but it was too late and He had left them. The reference verse make me think that this was very likely. Perhaps when the Israelites heard about their impending doom, they cried out to God but it was too late. They had ignored Hosea’s warnings and the Assyrians were already coming to capture and destroy them.

Ezekiel 8:18: ‘Therefore I also will act in fury. My eye will not spare nor will I have pity; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.”’ NKJV

Micah 3:4: ‘Then they will cry to the Lord, But He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from them at that time, Because they have been evil in their deeds.’ NKJV

Their end is coming because of their treacherousness and pagan children they had through their harlotry. They will become desolate.

Jeremiah 3:20: ‘Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, So have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel,” says the Lord.’ NKJV

In this chapter we are told even Judah is getting punished because they have gone astray, following their own desires and being wicked. The people of Judah are as wicked as someone removing a landmark (Deuteronomy 19:14 & 27:17) They sought a ‘cure’ from Assyria but they couldn’t be healed by them.

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God said He will destroy them and leave them like a lion destroys then leaves their prey. He ‘will tear them’ and ‘take them away’ (vs 14) then return to His place. I believe He means that He would return to Heaven. He will no longer be in their midst or occupy the temple anymore because of their wickedness. After their captivity, He will return. When they realize and acknowledge their sins and earnestly seek the Lord’s face, God will come back to them.

Time and again in Hosea, we are seeing that sin pays with punishment and death. While it may seem enjoyable at the time or at the very least not bad, it can and will ruin a person in the end. Thankfully, Jesus came so that we could be forgiven and join God in Heaven!

What are your thoughts about chapter 5? Share in the comment section below!! 🙂

Hosea- Chapter 4

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Hosea brings the charge of sins committed against God to the Israelites. They lie, swear, kill, steal, commit adultery and have no knowledge of God and no mercy.

Because of this, they ‘will waste away’ (vs 3) along with the creatures that live there. What the Israelites seem to have forgotten is God is the one Who brought them to this great land out of the slavery they suffered in Egypt. Without Him, they can’t survive but they have turned their backs on Him.

Zephaniah 1:3:‘I will consume man and beast; I will consume the birds of the heavens, The fish of the sea, And the stumbling blocks along with the wicked. I will cut off man from the face of the land,” Says the Lord.’ NKJV

Micah 6:2: ‘Hear, O you mountains, the Lord’s complaint, And you strong foundations of the earth; For the Lord has a complaint against His people, And He will contend with Israel.’ NKJV

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Knowledge of God is easy to obtain. His power and sovereignty are not only limited to the Bible. He is present in the shining wonder of the stars, the beauty of the changing leaves and blooming flowers. You can find Him in the love a mother has for her baby and the acceptance and forgiveness of a child. He is present in all of Creation: For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, ‘ (Romans 1:20 NKJV)

Hosea tells the Israelites that they shouldn’t rebuke each other because they all stumble.He also reminds them that God will destroy their mother, which may refer to their king. He even says they ‘are destroyed for lack of knowledge’ and because they ‘have rejected knowledge(vs 6)

The common man isn’t the only one to blame. Even the priests, the chosen of the chosen, have turned away from Him to follow false gods.

Ezekiel 22:26: ‘Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.’

God rejects and forgets the Israelites because they have forgotten and rejected Him. When He turns His back on them, their lives are changed and destroyed.

They will not have enough food and despite their harlotry, they will not increase in number because they no longer obey God. He punishes them for their sins and deeds. They have ‘set their heart on iniquity’ (vs 8) and will suffer for it.

Jeremiah 5:30-31: ‘“An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?’ NKJV

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The Israelites aren’t the only ones who turn away from God. More and more these days, you’ll find people who are against God and what His Word tells us to do in the Bible. Or they do what they are explicitly told not to do in the Bible. They follow after ‘fables’ and what they desire to do instead of the truth of God and His Will for us.

The hearts of the Israelites are ‘enslaved’ (vs 11) by wine and harlotry and they seek advice from the wooden idols they created. They had rejected God and sacrifice and burn incense to idols out in nature.

Isaiah 28:7: ‘But they also have erred through wine, And through intoxicating drink are out of the way; The priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink, They are swallowed up by wine, They are out of the way through intoxicating drink; They err in vision, they stumble in judgment.’ NKJV

Since the men are the leaders and heads of the household, the women and daughters are led astray when the men go after idols instead of following and obeying God. Which means that those who don’t understand are punished too.

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Jeremiah 3:6: ‘The Lord said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: “Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot.’ NKJV

Israel is stubborn. They are told not to swear by God or go to certain places. Judah is told not to offend God. Ephraim is rebellious too and go after idols and commit harlotry. Their rulers, probably the ruler of Israel and the priests, love dishonor. They will soon be ashamed for the sacrifices they made to the idols of the Canaanites.

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The infidelity of the Israelites is pretty relevant today with all of the people that have strayed so far from God. They follow their own desires and then lead others to follow them, making it the blind leading the blind because they don’t see where their sins are leading them: to death. Because when sin is fully formed it gives birth to death (James 1:15).

Idols aren’t always made of stone or wood, gold or silver. They or it can be whatever you consistently put ahead of God in your life. As fallen imperfect humans, we are all susceptible to idolatry. Even Christians so we need to be careful too.

As disciples of Jesus, we need to tell others, always with and in love, that they are sinning. We need to share Jesus with them and bring them to Him. Give the blind eyes to see where they have gone wrong. Save them from falling into the ditch caused by their sin.

How are you going to share Jesus this week to help those who have gone astray after their own idols? Share your ideas for others in the comments below!

Hosea Chapter 3

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This chapter isn’t as long as the other two so this devotional will be shorter.

God told Hosea to bring back and again love his adulterous wife, just as He still loves His people. Despite looking to and sacrificing food to pagan gods, God still longs for them to return to Him.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first, or the last, time that Israel turned their back on God.

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‘So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley [or 7 bushels]. And I said to her, “You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man—so, too, will I be toward you.”’ Hosea 3:2-3 NKJV

Gomer was bought back by Hosea and he told her to have and stay with him and only him. She is not allowed to go and be a harlot. He tells her that he will stay with her also. I wonder if Hosea ever loved Gomer or was he just obeying God? And I wonder if he ever got tired of her leaving him. Maybe he truly grew to love her despite the sins she committed against him and against God. The love of a husband to his wife should be like the love Christ has for the Church: sacrificing, forgiving, unconditional.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,’ Ephesians 5:25 NKJV

Love and forgiveness was offered to the Israelites by God through the example Hosea demonstrated when he bought Gomer back to him.

‘For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.’ Hosea 3:4-5 NKJV

Their freedom will not be the only thing they lose due to their unfaithfulness. The Israelites will no longer have a ruler and nowhere to sacrifice when they are taken captive. But one day, they will return when they seek the Lord and fear Him and His goodness.

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The ephod was a sleeveless garment worn by priests. It was one of the articles of clothing the Israelites created in Exodus.

Exodus 28:5-14: ‘“They shall take the gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and the fine linen, and they shall make the ephod of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, artistically worked. It shall have two shoulder straps joined at its two edges, and so it shall be joined together. And the intricately woven band of the ephod, which is on it, shall be of the same workmanship, made of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen.“Then you shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: six of their names on one stone and six names on the other stone, in order of their birth. With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, you shall engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. You shall set them in settings of gold. And you shall put the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. So Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders as a memorial. You shall also make settings of gold, and you shall make two chains of pure gold like braided cords, and fasten the braided chains to the settings.’ NKJV (emphasis mine)

According to Dictionary.com, teraphim are “idols or images reverenced by the ancient Hebrews and kindred peoples, apparently as household gods.” I’ve also read it defined as small images or cult objects used as domestic deities or oracles by ancient Semitic peoples. So Hosea is probably talking about the pieces & bowls used by his people when they were sacrificing to God and serving Him in the Temple.

The Israelites lost all of the objects they used to worship God when they were captured by the Assyrians. When we are caught by our sins, dragged down by the death they cause, we lose our willingness to worship God. But only through repentance and praise can we be brought back from the brink. We have to fight the lazy and fleshy desire to wallow in our self-pity and sin and focus on God and His goodness, love and forgiveness.

All of that changed when they returned to Him. They got their lives back.

Ezekiel 34:24: ‘And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.’ NKJV

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The messages of Hosea is about God’s forgiveness. Despite our unfaithfulness and waywardness, God forgives us when we turn to Him.We just need to humble ourselves and repent.

What did you think of  chapter 3? Let me know in the comment section below!