About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Hosea 7

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Israel Unrepentant  (ch. 7:1-16)


Chapter 7 verse 1 speaks of the day that God will restore Israel and her fortunes.  My opinion is that day has not yet come.  I don't believe there has ever been a time in Israel's history where such fortunes have been restored since these words were spoken.  Therefore, this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.   


When the fortunes of Israel are restored, the sins of Israel will be exposed.  I believe that day will come at the end of the Tribulation period that ends this present age.  Jesus will return to the earth and rescue the repentant remnant of Israel.  In the process of their repentance, as this verse states, their sins are exposed.   

I believe that this means Israel will recognize their sins, and of course, they would have to, if she is to truly repent. The horrific trouble suffered by Israel in the Great Tribulation will expose their sin and bring this repentance. 


Verse 2 shows how far Israel is from their God, both back in Hosea's day and at the end of this age.  They don't even realize that God remembers their sin.  They have the modern day concept of God, that being, He is all-loving, and holds nothing against anyone, but that's not the God of the Bible.  The God of the Bible does remember sin that is not covered by the blood of Jesus. 


As a matter of fact, God in this verse says that the sins of Israel are always before Him.  Their sins "engulf them".  God can't really see Israel because of their sin.  All that He sees is sin, not them.  It makes me think of the nations of the world today.  What does God see when looking on planet earth?  Does He see nations or just blobs of sin that engulfs our nations.  I think He sees the sin, that is why He is ready to judge the nations of the world. That is why He is ready to send Jesus back to earth to end it all. 


It's important to know that God has a book, probably not a literal book, where all sins are recorded, that is except for the sins that are covered by the blood of Jesus.  Christians will not be judged for their sins.  They will be judged for the work of the Lord that they have done or have not done. There is a judgment for the Christian to determine what kind of rewards Jesus will give him.  


Another particular sin that God points out to Israel in verse 3 is that "they delight their king with wickedness and their princes with lies".  That seems to suggest to me that Israelis no longer have respect for their leaders.  It could be that the Jewish leadership has done things to lose that respect.  It could also be because of the corrupt nature of the Jews themselves.  I suggest that it is a combination of both, something that is prevalent, not only in Israel , but around the world today.  World leaders are being lied to.  World leaders have lost their respect.  World leaders today are not respected as they once were, and in many cases, for good reason.


Verse 4 speaks of Israeli adultery, as is one of the major themes in Hosea as well as Amos.  Again, this adultery is both literal physical adultery as well as spiritual adultery.  Israeli men were leaving their wives for other women, including temple prostitutes, and Israel as a nation was leaving their God for other gods. Everyone, even women, were burning with lust for things they should not be lusting after  As this verse states, Israel is like a burning oven.


Verse 5 speaks of a certain day where the king of the northern kingdom is celebrated.  Both the king and the princes are drunk with wine.  They join together in things they should not be doing.  They join with their mockers.  This tells us how drunk these leaders got.  They were so drunk they partied with those who opposed and mocked them. This speaks to the corruptness of the government of Israel in the days of Hosea.


In verse 6 we see such words as "their hearts are hot as an oven".  Also, "they approach the king with intrigue".  What verses 6 and 7 suggest to me is that while being drunk, the princes of Israel have homosexual relations with their king.  The northern kingdom of Israel is not that much different that Sodom and Gomorrah.


I relate the events of verses 6 and 7 mainly on the wording of these verses.  The word "oven" in verse 4 spoke of sexual lust, so I suggest the same meaning should be applied to these verses. 


Verse 7 says that the king are brought down.  During the time of Hosea six kings fell in a very short time.  Most of them were murdered.    


Verse 8 tells us that Ephraim, that is the northern kingdom, "mixes with the nations" around them, something God told them never to do.  They were to stay separate and distinct from the pagan nations of the world because they were to represent God to these nations.  They were to be examples to other nations how to live, but they weren't.  They joined themselves to these other pagan nations in many ways, thus losing the distinction they were to have.  Thus they forfeited their calling as being priests to the nations of the world. 


Israel mixed themselves with other nations by adopting their gods, joining with them in pagan worship, going into business with them, and marrying their women.  It did not take long for Israel to look no different than the nations around them.  I suggest that parts of the modern church are doing the same today.  I also suggest that the state of Israel does the same today, but that will change after Jesus returns and rules from Jerusalem.  Israel will then be the priestly nation it was meant to be, and the church, she will be what she was meant to be as well.


Verse 8 also says that " Israel is a flat cake "  That is a true portrayal of Israel in Hosea's day.  They were flat.  They had no substance, no conviction, and nothing to live for.


Verse 9 states that foreigners zap the strength of Israel.  The verse uses the pronoun "he" which is in reference to Ephraim in that last verse, which is in reference to Israel, the northern kingdom.  This comes about with the mixture between Israel and the other nations that surround them.  As I've just said, Israel lost her distinctiveness by joining herself with pagan nations.  In this sense of the word "she lost her strength", her power, her authority, and all she was meant to be.  The analogy is made of a man growing older and gray but not even realizing it.  That was the picture of Israel, and that is the picture of parts of the Evangelical church today.  An example of this is called the Emergent Church.  Those involved in this movement are uniting themselves with other religions, and in like manor, they have lost their Christian distinctives and have not even realized it. What they teach, they believe is the Word of the Lord, but it isn't.   


The word "him" in verse 10 I believe refers to Ephraim, who Hosea as been talking about.  If the pronoun "he" referred to Ephraim in the last verse, the pronoun "him" must also refer to Ephraim.  The northern kingdom's arrogance is a testimony against "him", "Ephraim".  Arrogance is a sin, and it is also a national sin.   Arrogance is part of humanism, that is, pride of self, or in the case pride of a nation.  I see arrogance as a fundamental sin that leads to other sins.   Arrogance leads one away from the Lord and to his own endeavors and once that happens, one looks to himself instead of the Lord, causing one to sin even more.  Arrogance is all about "self", and "self" always opposes the things of God.  


The last half of verse 10 states that he, that's Ephraim, does not return to God.  Eventually all Israel will return to their God, but only after she goes through the worst trouble in her history.  The western world today is like Israel of old.  Once influenced by Christian truth, the west is forsaking their God and they will never return, thus bringing judgment on them. 


In verse 11 God calls Ephraim (Israel) "senseless".  He is senseless because he is turning to both Egypt and Assyria for help instead of their God.   The fact is that Israel was turning to her enemies for help. Assyria eventually overthrew Israel.  This reminds me of what Jesus said when He said that a dog returns to its vomit. God rescued the Jews from slavery in Egypt and now Israel is asking Assyria, and especially Egypt for help.  Egypt was the nation God delivered Israel from now Israel is seeking her help. 


This also reminds me of what is taking place in Canada, the United States, and Europe today.  All nations are turning to China, their long-standing enemy, for financial help.  


Verse 12 states that God will get the northern kingdom as it reaches out to Assyria and Egypt.  He uses symbolic language concerning birds.  When Ephraim gathers herself together and flocks to Assyria and Egypt, God will cut them down, as birds would fall from the sky.  He does that with the invasion of  Assyria into the northern kingdom.  The nation Ephraim reaches out to will be the nation that does them in.  The same will happen at the end of this age.  Israel will reach out to the anti-Christ for help which he will give in the form of a treaty, but in the long run, the anti-Christ will deceive Israel and due her in as well.


You see God's desire in verse 13 to redeem Israel but He can't because they are rebellious.  God is just, and sin must be accounted for and punished.  He must, and He will, punish Israel for her sin.  All the curses of the Law of Moses will be fulfilled before the restoration of Israel. 


Verse 14 says that the people of the northern kingdom do not cry out to God from their hearts.  They simply wail on their beds instead.  At this point in time, the northern kingdom is experiencing the judgment of God that should make them cry out to Him from their hearts, but they don't.  They simply wail on their beds.  They complain and complain and complain.  We see the same in the book of Revelation at the end of this age.  People, when experiencing God's judgment don't cry out and acknowledge Him; don't  cry out to him for help.  They simply wail, hoping that the mountains will fall on them.  Humanity seldom learns, and when they do, they learn the hard way.


Verse 14 also states that Israel, that is, the northern kingdom, gather for grain and new wine.  This suggests to me that they are attempting to drown their sorrows in partying and drunkenness.  That solves nothing.  One day you wake up from your drunken stooper and your problems still face you right between the eyes.  And usually when you awake, you feel worse off than ever.  


The last part of verse 14 states that Israel gathers together for grain and new wine, but don't turn to their God.  This portrays the daily life of Israel.  People do what they need to do.  They work, they play, and don't acknowledge God in anything they do.   


Verse 15 says that God trained and strengthened the northern kingdom.  Long before the civil war that divided Israel in 922 B.C., it was God who gave them the strength to become the nation they should be.  It was God who won the wars for them that gave them the land of promise, and now, the One who gave them the strength is the One they are rejecting.  I look at America today and see exactly the same thing happening.  Christian Americans claim they are unique and that their nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and I agree, even though at times I feel Americans overstate that.  That being said, if God is front and centre in the founding of America , now that she is forsaking that God, Americans should realize they will be judged accordingly.


Verse 16 closes this chapter.   God says that they are like a "faulty bow".  The string of the bow is pulled back so the arrow can fly and demolish their enemy, but the string breaks and the arrow falls to the ground and thus the enemy destroys them.  They are defenseless.  Assyria just walks in and tramples the northern kingdom to the ground, and in the eyes of Egypt, they will look stupid.  Egypt will ridicule the northern kingdom.  The same is happening today.  Egypt throughout the Bible is a symbol of the world, and in many respects the world is ridiculing the church because the church often looks stupid and week, and why?  Because we don't trust in our Lord as we should.  We are too humanistic in who we are and what we do. 


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