Hosea warns that the wrath of God can come like a lion
In our third look at the Book of Hosea, Hosea continues to report God’s judgment against Israel. Hosea places a lot of the blame on the priests and political leaders. “Here this, you priests! Listen, O royal house! This judgment is against you: You have been a snare at Mizpah, a net spread out on Tabor. The rebels are deep in slaughter. I will discipline all of them.” (Hosea 5: 1-2) ‘Rebels deep in slaughter probably refers to false priests and sacrifices. I think we get an important lesson in verse four. “Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. A spirit of prostitution is in their heart…” A superficial repentance won’t cut it. Sometimes people think they are seeking God, but they aren’t. Their actions don’t match their words. Then in verse 8, we read, “lead on, O Benjamin”, which points us to Judah. Hosea is telling us that not only Israel must heed these Words, but Judah must pay attention as well!
Hosea warns that the wrath of God can come like a lion. “…I will tear them to pieces and go away…” (5: 14) or His wrath could be more subtle, “I am like a moth to Ephraim…” (vs. 5: 12) But, as we reach the end of chapter five, we see that God’s judgment is NOT destruction, but restoration. “Then I will go back to My place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek My face; in their misery they will earnestly seek Me.” NOTE: God said in this verse, “Then I will go back to My place…” In order to go back to His place, He would have had to have left His place. When did that happen?
“When Ephraim (Israel) saw his sickness, and Judah is sore, Then Ephraim turned to Assyria, and sent to the great king for his help. But he is not able to cure you, not able to heal your sores.” (Hosea 5: 13) How often do we ignore God, the true physician, and rely solely on human intervention.
Hosea chapter six calls for a return to the Lord. God who punishes, also heals. God’s wrath against His people would only be temporary. “After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will restore us, that we may live in His presences.” (vs. 6: 2) It’s hard not to think of Christ on the cross, and after three days, He will restore us so that we may ‘live in His presences’. Hosea laments that the love of the people toward God is “…like the morning mist…” (vs. 6: 4) It’s not that the people did not love God, but that it was weak and dissipated easily and quickly. God wants our love to be so much deeper. Hosea says God “…desires mercy not sacrifice and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” (vs. 6: 6) The Hebrew were good at giving sacrifices, that outward appearance of love, but not with the right heart. Jesus gives us the same message. (See Matthew 9: 13) Paul tells us , “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12: 1) (next blog, part 4)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Dan is a graduate of Otterbein College (now University). He graduated with a degree in education. From time to time Dan still substitute teaches. His interest in history led him to investigate the historical accuracy of the Bible. This, in turn, led to a full investigation of Apologetics.