Hosea 12-14 Hosea’s Final Words March 5 2018
Hosea has been ministering to the Northern Kingdom for about 30 years. He
has demonstrated his message through his marriage to Gomer and through the names of their children, Jezreel, Lo-ruhama (No Mercy) and Lo-ammi (Not My People). He has preached in words and prophesied in verse. His message has been primarily to Israel, but he has sent warnings to Judah as well.
The people have ignored him for the most part. The leadership, kings and priests, have continued in their evil ways. Idol worship has not been curtailed and the worship of YHWH has been contaminated by the wicked culture around them. Originally Hosea’s message was a call to repentance and a return to YHWH, the true God. Now his message is one of doom. There is no longer a possibility restoration. The die is cast and the nation will be wiped off the face of the earth. The people will be taken into slavery in Assyria and then scattered throughout the Middle East. They will be the ten lost tribes.
The nation is rapidly falling apart. The dynasty of Jehu has come to an end when the son of Jeroboam II, Zechariah, is assassinated after 6 months as king. Shalom, the assassin, reigns one month and is killed by Menahem. He will reign 10 months, but will continually do what is evil in the sight of the Lord. He exacts the wealth of the wealthy to pay a thousand talents of silver to Tiglth-pileser III, king of Assyria. Menahem died a natural death and his son Pekahiah reigned in his place. He reigned 2 years until Pekah with a band of fifty men carried out a coup that killed the king, and Pekah took over as king. He reigned for 20 years during which Assyria captured many towns and occupied considerable land in Israel. Hoshea conspired against Pekah, killed him and ruled in his stead. He is the last king of Israel (732-722BC), and is ruling during the time of today’s study. He and all his people have repudiated YHWH. Now they are headed for destruction with no way of escape. 722 BC is the end date.
Today we are within 10 years of the final fall of the nation. Assyria has made forays into the land. It now controls Syria, once part of the Northern Kingdom. Many Israeli towns have been occupied. The king, Hoshea, had been paying tribute to Assyria, but now has deceitfully turned to Egypt for an ally. Egypt just laughs at him. The tribute payments are impoverishing a once wealthy land and more wealth is sent to Egypt.
Today we see the conflict in God’s soul between his righteousness and justice, and his love for his chosen people and his grace. We see into the heart of God. His resolution of the conflict that reaches to all peoples on the earth is found in the Messiah, his birth, life, death and resurrection. Jesus bears the weight of the sins of the whole world, as he becomes the blood sacrifice for our sins. Hebrews tells us that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (Heb. 9:22). Through Hosea God tells his people that although they must suffer the loss of all things, He will restore them to their land in the end times.
Hos. 12:1 Ephraim feeds on the wind and pursues the east wind all day long;
they multiply falsehood and violence;
they make a covenant with Assyria,
and oil is carried to Egypt.
The east wind is Assyria at this time. Hoshea is flailing around looking for diplomatic support from Assyria and Egypt, both at the same time. He should be looking to renew his covenant with God instead.
Hos. 12:2-7 The LORD has an indictment against Judah
and will punish Jacob according to his ways;
he will repay him according to his deeds.
In the womb he took his brother by the heel,
and in his manhood he strove with God.
He strove with the angel and prevailed;
he wept and sought his favor.
He met God at Bethel,
and there God spoke with us—
the LORD, the God of hosts,
the LORD is his memorial name:
“So you, by the help of your God, return,
hold fast to love and justice,
and wait continually for your God.”
A merchant, in whose hands are false balances,
he loves to oppress.
This is the sum total of Yahweh’s indictment against all Israel, Judah and the Northern Kingdom. Their father, Jacob, knew YHWH intimately. Now the children have wandered away. False balances have replaced love and justice.
Hos. 12:8 Ephraim has said, “Ah, but I am rich;
I have found wealth for myself;
in all my labors they cannot find in me iniquity or sin.”
Deut. 8:11-20 11 “Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God.
Hos. 12:9-14 I am the LORD your God
from the land of Egypt;
I will again make you dwell in tents,
as in the days of the appointed feast.
I spoke to the prophets;
it was I who multiplied visions,
and through the prophets gave parables.
If there is iniquity in Gilead,
they shall surely come to nothing:
in Gilgal they sacrifice bulls;
their altars also are like stone heaps
on the furrows of the field.
Jacob fled to the land of Aram;
there Israel served for a wife,
and for a wife he guarded sheep.
By a prophet the LORD brought Israel up from Egypt,
and by a prophet he was guarded.
Ephraim has given bitter provocation;
so his Lord will leave his bloodguilt on him
and will repay him for his disgraceful deeds.
The lawsuit continues. Justice requires repayment. Unfortunately the punishment will fit the crime.
Judgment for idolatry.
Hos. 13:1-3 When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling;
he was exalted in Israel,
but he incurred guilt through Baal and died.
And now they sin more and more,
and make for themselves metal images,
idols skillfully made of their silver,
all of them the work of craftsmen.
It is said of them,
“Those who offer human sacrifice kiss calves!”
Therefore they shall be like the morning mist
or like the dew that goes early away,
like the chaff that swirls from the threshing floor
or like smoke from a window.
Num 22:1-6 Then the people of Israel set out and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho. And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And Moab was in great dread of the people, because they were many. Moab was overcome with fear of the people of Israel. And Moab said to the elders of Midian, “This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” So Balak the son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the people of Amaw, to call him, saying, “Behold, a people has come out of Egypt. They cover the face of the earth, and they are dwelling opposite me. Come now, curse this people for me, since they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”
Judgment will be harsh
Hos. 13:4-8 But I am the LORD your God
from the land of Egypt;
you know no God but me,
and besides me there is no savior.
It was I who knew you in the wilderness,
in the land of drought;
but when they had grazed, they became full,
they were filled, and their heart was lifted up;
therefore they forgot me.
So I am to them like a lion;
like a leopard I will lurk beside the way.
I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs;
I will tear open their breast,
and there I will devour them like a lion,
as a wild beast would rip them open.
YHWH is the true king of Israel
Hos. 13:9-13 He destroys you, O Israel,
for you are against me, against your helper.
Where now is your king, to save you in all your cities?
Where are all your rulers—
those of whom you said,
“Give me a king and princes”?
I gave you a king in my anger,
and I took him away in my wrath.
The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up;
his sin is kept in store.
The pangs of childbirth come for him,
but he is an unwise son,
for at the right time he does not present himself
at the opening of the womb.
Hos. 13:14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?
Shall I redeem them from Death?
O Death, where are your plagues?
O Sheol, where is your sting?
Compassion is hidden from my eyes.
Drought and war is descending on the land
Hos. 13:15-16 Though he may flourish among his brothers,
the east wind, the wind of the LORD, shall come,
rising from the wilderness,
and his fountain shall dry up;
his spring shall be parched;
it shall strip his treasury
of every precious thing.
Samaria shall bear her guilt,
because she has rebelled against her God;
they shall fall by the sword;
their little ones shall be dashed in pieces,
and their pregnant women ripped open.
A plea for repentance
Hos. 14:1-2 Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God,
for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
Take with you words
and return to the LORD;
say to him,
“Take away all iniquity;
accept what is good,
and we will pay with bulls
the vows of our lips.
Assyria cannot save, but only enslave
Hos. 14:3 Assyria shall not save us;
we will not ride on horses;
and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’
to the work of our hands.
In you the orphan finds mercy.”
God’s love never ceases
Hos. 14:4 -7 I will heal their apostasy;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
he shall blossom like the lily;
he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon;
his shoots shall spread out;
his beauty shall be alike the olive,
and his fragrance like Lebanon.
They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow;
they shall flourish like the grain;
they shall blossom like the vine;
their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
Hos. 14:8-9 O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
It is I who answer and look after you.
I am like an evergreen cypress;
from me comes your fruit.
Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
whoever is discerning, let him know them;
for the ways of the LORD are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them.