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.
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.
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.
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
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!