How often we get so full of ourselves we forget who we are.
We are now reading in chapter nine, in which God through Hosea speaks of the punishment set for Israel. He says of Israel, “…you have been unfaithful to your God; you love the wages of a prostitute at every threshing floor.” (vs. 1) A threshing floor had special meaning in ancient times. You may recall the story of Ruth who came to Boaz at the threshing floor. Of course we know this encounter was certainly innocent, but Boaz was concerned about the gossip that would result if they were found out. “…He (Boaz) said, ‘don’t let it be known that a women came to the threshing floor.” (Ruth 3: 14) The threshing floor had a sexual connotation, but it was also the scene of much idol worship as they believed it would increase the harvest.
Because of their unfaithfulness, Israel, “…will not remain in the Lord’s land…” (vs. 3) We know from history that Assyria will come and take Israel from the land. I like the phrase ‘the Lord’s land’ used in this verse. How often we get so full of ourselves we forget who we are. In Leviticus 25: 23, God reminds us, “…the land is Mine and you are but aliens and My tenants.”
The next verses refer to food. The food will be for Israel, none for the Lord. Do you remember when the Hebrew were roaming the desert during the exodus? They were starving and God provided the mana for them. But there is meaning here beyond food to fill the belly. Deuteronomy 8: 3: “He (God) humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with mana, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every Word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” The food had a spiritual meaning, but because of their unfaithfulness, all this had lost its meaning. Hosea was trying very hard to warn the people that God’s wrath was coming, but the people were doing well, and they would not listen to him. In fact, the people said of Hosea, “…the prophet is a fool…” (vs. 7)
“They (Israel) have sunk deep into corruption, as in the days of Gibeah…” (vs. 9) To understand the reference to Gibeah, you have to go way back in history. (Judges 19: 9-30) A horrible event took place here! The Bible says of this event, “…such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came out of Egypt…” (Judges 19: 30) What Israel was doing now was worse!
In verse ten, we get another historical reference: “Baal Peor”. You may remember this is when the Israelites first began Baal worship and sexual immorality with Moabite women. While Moses was discussing the problem with other leaders, an Israelite man brought a Midianite woman to his tent right in front of them! “When Phinehas, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear through both of them…” (Numbers 25: 7-8)
So now the message comes from God. “Because of their wickedness in Gilgal (this city was a center of idol worship.) I hated them there. Because of their sinful deeds, I will drive them out of My house…” (vs. 15) What a perfect punishment. They defiled God’s house so they will be evicted! This punishment should not have been a surprise to them. “But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I (God) declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.” (Deuteronomy 30: 17-18)
How often I have made the same kind of mistakes as made by the people of ancient Israel. How awesome it is that God sent His Son to bear the burden of my sins. By placing our trust in Christ, we have the promise of God, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Next blog, Hosea, part 6
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.