HOSEA 3:1-6:11 Israel is Taken Court February 5, 2018
Last week we saw that God asked Hosea to marry a women of whoredom. She probably was not a prostitute, but was a citizen of the Northern Kingdom that the Lord declared to be an adulterous nation. We discussed the extensive use of marriage, husband and wife, suitor and bride throughout the whole Bible. We suggested that our disordered sexuality is a product of our disordered minds brought about by the fall. God had planned a perfect union of Adam and Eve in a holy temple called the Garden of Eden.
When that plan failed he went to plan two, to create a holy nation through a righteous man named Abraham. It was a difficult task with many ups and downs, but worked out fairly well through the reign of David in the Promised Land. This land was to be the new temple. It was a good idea for a while, but finally fell apart during the reign of Solomon. The prime cause of the failure of the nation was Solomon’s sexual appetite. This is very interesting in light of the sexualization of our nation today.
Today’s lesson begins with Hosea redeeming a wayward woman. She could be Gomer, but we do not have documentation of that. Hosea is a living, physical parable, much like Ezekiel did when he lay mute and on his left side in his house in Babylon by the Chebar canal for 390 days, as a sign of the punishment Judah will be experiencing soon.
After this brief interlude, Hosea begins to explain God’s legal case against the land. We will see accusations in the court room. There will be witnesses and there will be a judge. At the end sentence will be pronounced.
Hos. 3:1-5 And the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley.
And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.”
For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods.
Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.
We do not hear of Gomer again. This probably is another woman, and one who is definitely an outwardly immoral person. Her adultery is real. Hosea is a type of God in that he is asked to love a wayward woman even as God continues to love his wayward children. The woman must remain chaste all the while she is with Homer even as all her physical means of support are taken away. In the end she shall return and seek the Lord. Note the use of ‘love’ four times in the first verse. It includes divine love, agape, parental love, storge, general human or brotherly love, philos, and ‘eros’, romantic love. The adulteress has distorted the four loves, and instead loves her adultery and Baal worship (raisin cakes) (Jeremiah 44:15-19). Her love is selfish, self-indulgent and pleasure oriented.
God’s love is noble, unselfish, long-suffering, generous, and protective. There will be a day when God’s wayward people will return to him under the rule of David their king. This David will be Jesus, the Messiah.
God’s Legal Case against his Chosen People
The accusation against the land
Hos. 4:1-3 Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel,
for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,
and no knowledge of God in the land;
there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Therefore the land mourns,
and all who dwell in it languish,
and also the beasts of the field
and the birds of the heavens,
and even the fish of the sea are taken away.
Israel is taken to court and God registers his complaint. Israel’s sin not only affects the people, but affects the land as well. Each section will contain an accusation, evidence to support the accusation, and a judgment.
Jeremiah 9:23-26 Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh— Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.”
The accusation against the priesthood
Hos. 4:4-9 Yet let no one contend,
and let none accuse,
for with you is my contention, O priest.
You shall stumble by day;
the prophet also shall stumble with you by night;
and I will destroy your mother.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
because you have rejected knowledge,
I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.
The more they increased,
the more they sinned against me;
I will change their glory into shame.
They feed on the sin of my people;
they are greedy for their iniquity.
And it shall be like people, like priest;
I will punish them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.
The people have gone astray, but the priesthood bears much of the responsibility. The priests are singled out for special punishment. This is repeated for the leadership of the church in the New Testament: Luke 12:48, Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much they will demand more.
Deut. 32:15-18 “But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked;
you grew fat, stout, and sleek;
then he forsook God who made him
and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.
They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods;
with abominations they provoked him to anger.
They sacrificed to demons that were no gods,
to gods they had never known,
to new gods that had come recently,
whom your fathers had never dreaded.
You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you,
and you forgot the God who gave you birth.
(See Leviticus 4:1-12)
The accusation against the false cult
Hos. 4:10-14 They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
they shall play the whore, but not multiply,
because they have forsaken the LORD
to cherish whoredom, wine, and new wine,
which take away the understanding.
My people inquire of a piece of wood,
and their walking staff gives them oracles.
For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray,
and they have left their God to play the whore.
They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains
and burn offerings on the hills,
under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
because their shade is good.
Therefore your daughters play the whore,
and your brides commit adultery.
I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore,
nor your brides when they commit adultery;
for the men themselves go aside with prostitutes
and sacrifice with cult prostitutes,
and a people without understanding shall come to ruin.
Hunger and infertility are listed among the punishments in Deuteronomy 28:17-18. Israel finds God’s strict morality oppressive, and prefers the moral freedom provided by the pagan cults. Many of the cults practiced ritualistic prostitution in the places of worship, including male prostitutes (1 Kings 14:22-24). In light of this, it is interesting to watch the rise of homosexuality and the aggressive demand of approval for multiple genders in our land today.
The fall of the false cult
Hos. 4:15-19 Though you play the whore, O Israel,
let not Judah become guilty.
Enter not into Gilgal,
nor go up to Beth-aven,
and swear not, “As the LORD lives.”
Like a stubborn heifer,
Israel is stubborn;
can the LORD now feed them
like a lamb in a broad pasture?
Ephraim is joined to idols;
leave him alone.
When their drink is gone, they give themselves to whoring;
their rulers dearly love shame.
A wind has wrapped them in its wings,
and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.
Beth-aven is a derogatory nickname for Bethel, which means the house of God (See Genesis 28:10-22).
1 Kings 12:25-33 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. And he went out from there and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David. If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. Then this thing became a sin, for the people went as far as Dan to be before one. He also made temples on high places and appointed priests from among all the people, who were not of the Levites. And Jeroboam appointed a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month like the feast that was in Judah, and he offered sacrifices on the altar. So he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he made. And he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places that he had made. He went up to the altar that he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, in the month that he had devised from his own heart. And he instituted a feast for the people of Israel and went up to the altar to make offerings.
God’s covenant people are called to court and found in violation of the Covenant. They are sentenced to destruction. The sentence is based on the stipulations of blessings and curses we read last week in Deuteronomy 28-33. The people had drifted so far away from knowledge of the Covenant they no longer knew God at all.
Summons to Israel’s leadership
Hos. 5:1-2 Hear this, O priests! Pay attention, O house of Israel!
Give ear, O house of the king!
For the judgment is for you;
for you have been a snare at Mizpah
and a net spread upon Tabor.
And the revolters have gone deep into slaughter,
but I will discipline all of them.
The priests, the people themselves, and the King are all being told that judgment is on the way. There is no escape, whether in the city or in the country.
The nation’s government and religion were established by God to protect and benefit the people, but instead, they have preyed upon the people, and the leadership is corrupting the people.
Evidence against Israel
Hos. 5:3-4 I know Ephraim,
and Israel is not hidden from me;
for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore;
Israel is defiled.
Their deeds do not permit them
to return to their God.
For the spirit of whoredom is within them,
and they know not the LORD.
The spirit of whoredom is the orientation of the people,not the actions of individuals. It is this orientation that keeps the people from knowing God. How foolish the nation is to think that somehow what it does could escape YHWH’s attention.
Judgment against Israel and Ephraim
Hos. 5:5-7 The pride of Israel testifies to his face;
Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in his guilt;
Judah also shall stumble with them.
With their flocks and herds they shall go
to seek the LORD,
but they will not find him;
he has withdrawn from them.
They have dealt faithlessly with the LORD;
for they have borne alien children.
Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields.
To seek the Lord with flocks and herds means to bring sacrifices to God. But he will not acknowledge such sacrifices. This is a perennial issue. Samuel reprimanded Saul for the same thing.
1 Samuel 15:22-23 And Samuel said,
“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
he has also rejected you from being king.”
The watchman sounds the alarm
Hos. 5:8-11 Blow the horn in Gibeah,
the trumpet in Ramah.
Sound the alarm at Beth-aven;
we follow you, O Benjamin!
Ephraim shall become a desolation
in the day of punishment;
among the tribes of Israel
I make known what is sure.
The princes of Judah have become
like those who move the landmark;
upon them I will pour out
my wrath like water.
Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment,
because he was determined to go after filth.
Interestingly, after Samuel met with Saul for the last time, Saul went to Gibeah and Samuel to Ramah. They never saw each other again.
1 Samuel 15:35 Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.
The message alarm is to be sounded throughout the land. The end is near. Even Judah is warned by Hosea, even though he is a prophet to Israel.
God will harm Ephraim and Judah
Hos. 5:12-15 But I am like a moth to Ephraim,
and like dry rot to the house of Judah.
When Ephraim saw his sickness,
and Judah his wound,
then Ephraim went to Assyria,
and sent to the great king.
But he is not able to cure you
or heal your wound.
For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
and like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I, even I, will tear and go away;
I will carry off, and no one shall rescue.
I will return again to my place,
until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face,
and in their distress earnestly seek me.
The northern Kingdom went through a series of kings after Jeroboam II died. Zechariah reigned 6 months. Shallum assassinated him and reigned one month. Menahem killed Shallum and reigned for 10 years. Assyria sent envoys to Israel during his reign and Menahem confiscated the wealth of all the rich men in the country to pay off the king of Assyria to keep him from invading. Apparently he died a natural death and his son Pekahiah ascended to the throne. He only lasted 2 years before he was assassinated by the son of his commander-in-chief named Pekah. Pekah reigned 20 years, 752 BC - 732 BC. In 10 more years the country would no longer exist.
He decided to invade Judah in an alliance with Rezin, the king of Syria, to try to force Ahaz, king of Judah to join their alliance against Assyria. Ahaz called to Assyria to protect Judah from Rezin and Pekah. This led to Assyrian conquest of Syria and Assyrian invasion and conquest of much territory in Israel. This history is found in
2 Kings 15-16.
Eight Theses on Sex
First Things, February 2018, Hans Boersma
J. I. Packer Professor of Theology at Regent College
- Sex is searching for God
Sexual union is a symbol or a sacrament of union with Christ. Ephesians 5:32
2. God invents sex
God said to Adam and Eve be fruitful and multiply. Genesis 1:28
He invented weddings. Our relationship with God is as bride and bridegroom. Human love is patterned by God’s love for us.
3. Sex is not God
Sex should not be our god. It should not be ultimate in our lives. It is an important aspect of human life, but our union with Christ is the ultimate relationship goal of life. Self denial is an important element of the Christian life.
4. God is chastity
The way we treat sex says a great deal about how we think about God. Jesus says only the pure in heart can see God. Matthew 5:8
5. Sex is temporary
Sex and marriage are institutions for this life only. Jesus aid those raised from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Luke 20:35 Marriage is sacramental, and sacraments are a means to a greater end, that is an eternal union with Christ.
6. Disordered desire makes for disordered sex
Problems related to sex are primarily problems of the mind. It is our disordered desires that lead us astray. Erotic pictures misdirect our minds from our relationship with Christ.
7. Fallen bodies make for fallen sex
Our equality is disordered because of the fall. Today’s gender issues, homosexuality, pornography, etc are distortions brought about because our minds are distorted. Our fallen bodies will be sown into the ground after death, and we will be raised with new spiritual bodies. 1 Cor. 15:42-2-44
8. Sex leads to kids
The primary purpose of sex is to make children. This is obvious in nature. Animals do not appear to have disordered sex. It is a disorder of man, made in the image of God, but distorted by the fall. Sex as an expression of love bears fruit, and the fruit is our children. Children are a blessing throughout the Bible, and the Psalmist says it is a joy to have a quiver full of them (Psalm 127:5), or like olive shots around your table (Psalm 28:3).
Our study ends here today. We could go further, but it is 10 o'clock on Saturday night and it is time for bed.