God WILL forgive you if you will repent!
In chapter ten, Hosea starts by reminding the people of Israel, that God had blessed them. But, sadly, they spent it all on themselves. In Galatians 5: 13, Paul tells us “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” As a result of their sins, Israel will say, “…we have no king…” (vs. 3). In other words, they will be dominated by foreign powers, thus not having a king of their own.
Hosea points out that breaking from God’s law creates a void, and that void will be quickly filled with something else. Imagine how that truth applies to us today!! The Bible calls that something else: ‘Poison’. (read Deuteronomy 29: 18) Because of their sin, they are destined to lose their land. ( SIDEBAR: Notice I just said, ‘their land’. Remember in an earlier blog, I mentioned it was actually God’s land. Reject God, and get evicted! Later, the Jews will turn back to God, and the land will be restored to them. The Jews were waiting patiently for the Messiah. When the Messiah came to them, they rejected Him. A few years later, they were once again evicted from their land, this time at the hands of the Romans.) The people will lament, “…the mountains will cover us…” (vs. 8) In Hosea’s day, this would be an expression of deep despair. As Jesus was being led away to be crucified, He quoted this verse.
Hosea, directed by the Holy Spirit, tells the people they have committed a ‘double sin’. That is a sin that is both spiritual, and in the body. “My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken Me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” (Jeremiah 2: 13) Hosea further tells the people of God’s Word: “Ephraim (Israel) is a trained heifer that loves to thresh; so I will put a yoke on her fair neck. I will drive Ephraim, Judah must plow, and Jacob must break up the ground.” (vs. 11) I think the people of Hosea’s day would have an easier time understanding this verse than us. We’re looking at two tasks, one easy, one hard. The heifer on the threshing floor would have pretty light duty. In fact, they would have been will fed to increase their weight in order to thresh the grain better. An animal working in the field would have had much heavier labor. So, we see a change from ease and prosperity to slavery (the yoke) and misery.
I love verse 12 because it is such a great truth for all people, for all times. “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love…” (vs. 12) Even at this late date, God tells the people He will still forgive them if they will only repent. Verse 12 continues, “…and break up your unplowed ground…” This ground would be very hard and difficult to plow. “…for it is time to seek the Lord…” That’s how you break up unplowed ground. How long should we do this? “…until He comes and showers righteousness on you.”
Hosea points out the essences of all sin. “…because you have depended on your own strength.” “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3: 5-6)
As Hosea warns the people of what was coming he mentions “…as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel…” (vs. 14). I’m sorry, but I don’t know this name or place. There was an Assyrian king named Shalmaneser, but I can’t say for sure that this is who Hosea is referring to. At any rate, the atrocities of this event must have been well known in Hosea’s day, as he tells the people the same thing is going to happen to them. “…when that day dawns, the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.” (vs. 15)
(Part 7, next blog)
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.