Saturday, May 23, 2015

Baby Brothers

Baby Brothers

Whence comes this feeling in my belly?
Life there from the movements that I feel.
Can it be for me who once was empty?
There is no doubt, it moves, it’s real.

Larger and larger the swelling grows,
Ankles disappear.
No more vision of my curly toes
And hope for deliverance delays its show.

Until with startling shocks of pain
To couch until the birth I go.
And longed for pain’s refrain
Comes home, again, again, again.

Now, now the babies come.
The first head soon appears.
He is anxious not to be outdone
And clamors forth in tears.

As the first head begins to crown
And painfully emerges.
I am full of fears within and cries without,
My face a wretched sweaty frown
Until his curly head I spy and shout
Manchild born! and panging pain dies down.

But cramps again with pangs of birth
When suddenly there appears
A second crown of hairs
A second son, unlike the first.

His hair fair, the other’s black.
Nor curly but straight as furrowed rows.
The second having escaped his sack
Delivered with no pain at all.

These two, these miracles from God.
Baby toes and fingers tiny.
Appear obedient to pain’s purging rod
Now mother ‘s face is shiny.

They grow, these boys in fertile soil.
One tills the ground his food to grow.
One kills his game for food to show.
Two brothers, one mother, unlike each other.

Double the joy with each reflection
God’s character in boy’s complexion.
Life giver, from earth and air and water.
Life taker, from beast, provider, hunter.

Life given and taken from boys,
They learn to act like men.
Contentment revealed in playful toys
And also blows from envy’s sin.

Mother scolds and father trains
Boys contend and chaos reigns
And envy raises his ugly head.
These twins engaged as rivals dread.

Babies are blessings and boys bless better.
But not all babies are blessings after.
Boys are blessings until they sin
And not all boys bless into men.

Some follow envy, strife and sin.
And even murder when sin is rooted
Growing envy ever deeper then,
Men walk in envy evil booted.

Two stories of blessing and also cursing.
Two boys contending, even nursing.
One nourished to faith, hope and love
One feeding on fear and envy and pain.
One gives only a simple shove
The other to death blows resorts again.

These brothers we know and name,
The second is Abel the first is Cain.
Their stories haunt us as well they should.
One was bad the other good.
In Christ the one was trusting
The other His grace withstood.

But better promises have we than they
For our children older and younger
In Christ’s Spirit thirst and hunger
And walk with Jesus day unto day.

Jesus redeems a brother’s brood.
Forgives and cleanses envious sin.
And as the greatest Elder Brother
Makes elder wicked brothers good.

Motherhood is before us.
Babies are our game.
But raising immortal souls will make us
Nevermore the same.

A mother’s love is not the only needed grace.
A father, too, to discipline
Boys who with downcast shameful face,
Convicted souls, confess and then
Bring forth works of repentance.

They turn from sin and take their place
That the one who would kill the other,
Will instead obey his mother.
And turn from sin’s accursed grip
To obey the law of father’s lip.

And bless his brother and his mother
And give him life instead of death.
For our children are Christ’s after
And to Him give their every breath.

For better is our Elder Brother
Than the older who killed the younger.
For Jesus is like no other
Nor rivals siblings in the womb.
His brotherhood by far is better
Returning life beyond the tomb.

He considers others than himself higher
Esteems them blessed while He forsaken
And gives them higher life the lower,
While His own life for them is taken.

And rather dies than kills
To show His blessed Father’s will.
To Him we look and learn the lesson
Sidelong looks of envy kill.
He is the greatest prized possession
And best of brother’s keepers still.

What hope we gain from this sad story
Of envy, pain and death?
To love the Lord of glory
And rest there upon His blessed breast.

Like John who loved Jesus deeply
Like brothers should who love like God.
But Jesus is the one who gave him
Life to love him back like God.

Love without envy, guilt or shame.
A love that sinful measures tame.
And life then in His Spirit
And joy and hope and love and grace.
For all that look upon their babies’ faces
See in that mirror the face of Jesus.

As Father looks to Son and sees
The perfect One by grace received.
So, we too, receive them still
By grace we hold them until
We give them back to Him with ease
And rest in God’s unending peace.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Joel Sermon Notes

Joel
Multitudes, Multitudes in the Valley of Decision
May 17, 2015
Lynchburg, Virginia

EXHORDIUM
         The Book of Joel is very relevant to our day. Not only does it prophecy the greatest event in human history, recreation in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but it speaks to us of the dangers of refusing this great blessing.
         In Joel’s day, the elders, the priests, the farmers were all in need of repentance. God sent a swarm of locusts to devastate their land in order to get their attention. The locusts were a judgment from God but also a blessing. They were a pre-cursor to a far more severe judgment. If they got the warning from God and repented, then He would relent from further calamity that was to befall them. That calamity would be invading armies that utterly wasted the land, killed their wives and children and hauled them off into exile.
         We are not certain of the date of Joel. Many dates have been put forth. I believe an early date makes the most sense. Joel is thought to be an original author with many other Major and Minor prophets picking up his language in their writings. This makes an early date likely.
         He is speaking to the Southern Kingdom, to Judah. But his message works just as well if he was speaking to the Northern Kingdom.
         Chapter one opens with the advent of a locust attack and this theme carries on through the middle of the second chapter. As a result of the locust plague, Joel calls the nation to repentance.

         1:2 Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?
         11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.
         13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.
         Joel 1:14   Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,  15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come. 
         Joel 2:12   Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:  13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

         Valley of Jeshoshapat near or at Temple Mount. This is likely where the disciples were gathered when the Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost. This is the very place the Lord gathered people to pour out His Spirit upon them.

EXEGESIS
         Joel 1:5 Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.  6 For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.  7 He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.
         It is sad times for drunkards and gluttons because there is no wine or wheat harvest. The vines are all eaten. Even the bark is stripped off the fig tree.
        
Joel 1: 13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.
The devastation is so total that there is not even meat offering or drink offerings. This means that there is no way to draw near to God. They cannot bring God anything. He must extend His grace and mercy to them.
        
15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
The day of the Lord is a destructive event. The locusts provide the day of the Lord. They bring God’s wrath upon the land.
The text expressly tells us that this destruction is from the Almighty.
Throughout the Major and Minor prophets, the Day of the Lord is associated with God’s wrath both upon His own stubborn and rebellious people, as well as the heathen.
In Malachi, we are told expressly that Elijah will come to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the Earth with a curse. This was to  happen before the coming of the great and dreadful Day of the Lord.
The New Testament tells us that the prophesied Elijah was fulfilled in John the Baptist. He proclaimed repentance for the Kingdom of God was at hand. For those who would not repent, coming of the Day of the Lord was at hand.
        
Joel 2:1   Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;  2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.  3 A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
Day of the Lord is darkness and gloominess. A great people and strong. This is the locusts. In front of them, the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them a desolate wilderness. Nothing escapes them.
Imagine the landscape as after a tornado roars through. You have seen the pictures on television. The trees are stripped bare. All the leaves are gone. Everything looks grey and gloomy. Imagine the building all intact, while the trees and shrubs are nothing but sticks. There are no leafing plants left. All flowers, grass, wheat, and all crops are completely devoured. What is left is brown and dead.
        
9 They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.  10 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:  11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
The day of the Lord is great and very terrible. God utters His voice before His army of locusts. That is to say that the Lord calls them to this work.

Joel 2:12   Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:  13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.  14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?  15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:  16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.  17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
Turn to the Lord. Rend your heart, not your garments.
He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. When you repent, the Lord relents.
        
21 Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.  22 Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.  23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.  24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.  25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.  26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.  27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.
V. 25- The brings life where there is no life. He brings the pastures back. He brings rain to relieve the drought. He gives increase to our future to make up for the past, restoring the years the locust has eaten.
You shall know that I am in your midst. When God restores, there is no doubt that it is Him.

Joel 2:28   And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:  29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.  30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.  31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.  32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
This is the passage quoted by Peter on Pentecost.

Furthermore, Peter says,
Acts 2:14   But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:  15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.  16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
He then quotes the verses so the people know what he is talking about. It was the locust infestation. But they also understood that God judged Samaria and Jerusalem with armies that were more fearsome than the locusts because they killed, besieged and destroyed the cities.

Acts 2:34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,  35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.  36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
David was the king who ruled over Jerusalem but his day was already over when Joel prophesied. Peter points out that the promises of a perpetual Davidic Kingdom cannot point to David. They have to point to someone else.

Acts 2:37   Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
They got the point. If they do not repent and believe in Jesus who is the King, then they will be destroyed. They are gathered by God for destruction but God is slow to anger and quick to forgive and He restores the years the locust has eaten, the years of disobedience and unbelief.

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 
Peter tells them to do what Joel told the people to do. Repent. In the Old Covenant, they were to repent to Yahweh because He was gracious and merciful, slow to anger and quick to forgive.
The Jews gathered in the Valley of Jehoshaphat at Pentecost get the allusion. We are like those Jews of that day. We need to repent. If we do not, then God’s wrath will be poured out on us just like it was poured out on them.

Joel 3:18   And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.
Peter tells them to repent and be baptized. The Joel passage is also full of water. The rivers of Judah shall flow with water. A fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord and shall water the valley of Shittim.
From Jesus come the rivers of the waters of life. He gave to the woman at the well rivers of living water. Here, the temple produces waters of life.  Peter declares that these waters are the Spirit that is now poured out.
The way to receive this water of life is through repentance of sin and belief in Jesus and submission to Him.

Acts 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.  40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.  41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
        
Joel 3:1   For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,  2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
No doubt the gathered Jews had this Scripture in their minds, as well. The nations were gathered at Jerusalem. There were people from all over the world at Jerusalem for Pentecost. It is true that these people were Jews but they also spoke many different languages from around the world. These are the scattered people brought back to partake of the living waters.

14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.  15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.  16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.  17 So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.
Just as there were multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision in Joel’s day, so there are multitudes, multitudes in the Valley of Decision in Peter’s day. The Lord has come upon them like a storm of locusts.
The Day of the Lord is at hand. What will you do? Will you repent and believe in Jesus or will you stand with the nations who will be judged by God? The language of sun, moon and stars being darkened speak of God’s wrath. The locusts darkened the sky as God’s host. So, here, judgment draws near but all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Now, we understand that the name of Yahweh is Jesus. So, call upon Him for salvation.
        
Joel 3:18   And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.  19 Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.  20 But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.  21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.
         In Christ, new wine, hills flowing with milk, rivers flowing with living water, a fountain of life from God’s temple. Jesus is the Temple!
         Judah will dwell forever, Jerusalem from generation to generation. This is the New Heavens and the New Earth. This is the heavenly Jerusalem.

EXHORTATION
         We really should pay attention to the day of the Lord. The Lord calls His army, locusts, clouds, hurricanes to do His will. Of course, in any one situation, we are at a difficulty to explain what God has done. Did the tower fall upon them because they were greater sinners than the rest of you?  No, but unless you repent you likewise shall perish.
         The message? Take stock of God’s judgments and repent lest you perish in the way.
         The church and civic leaders have everything backwards in our time. Instead of repenting, they argue for more of the same sins. More adultery. More debauchery. More perversion. And no dissent allowed. For the dissenters who speak against sin are troubling the land. If we rid the land of them, they argue, then we would be blessed.
         But the word of God speaks prophetically. Elijah was not the troubler of the land. Ahab was. Jezebel was.
1Kings 18:17   And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?  18 And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hosea Part III- Sermon Notes

Hosea Part III
The Ways of the Lord are Right
May 10, 2015
Lynchburg, Virginia

EXEGESIS
1:2   The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD. 
3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. 
Many commentators have difficulty reconciling God’s command to the prophet with the holiness required of a man of God. Thus, they contrive various means to explain this command. Perhaps Gomer was an otherwise pure woman who would later prove unfaithful. We can see this argument since the children had not yet been born and the command includes taking children of harlotry.
The main problem I have with this view is that it does not accurately represent what God has already done. In the very beginning of the covenant with Abraham, God called Abraham out of Ur and made him who was not a people, a people. He called a pagan to be a believer.
Furthermore, at the time of Hosea, Israel is already in apostasy. They have already become a whoring people. He levels that accusation against them here. The thought is that Hosea can take an adulteress woman, a harlot, and by love, forgiveness and tender care, turn her into a faithful woman. This is what he attempts to do. He takes the unlovely bride and tries to purify her so that she is a bride without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Hosea fails at this and his bride continues her whoredoms even after they are married. This makes the lineage of the children questionable. Maybe they are Hosea’s children, maybe not, whose to say? Well, it becomes clear when they grow up and follow in the footsteps of their rebellious mother. They are not faithful children.
However, Hosea is willing to call them his own. By his willingness to forgive and receive these children, he is claiming paternity and/or a willingness to adopt them as his very own. But if they are to be his own, they must become like Hosea, faithful to him and to his God. But the children prove to be rebellious and God scatters discord (Jezreel), then merciless (Lo-ruhammah) and finally disloyal (Lo-Ammi).
You see this progression of judgment from God as Hosea’s wife proves stiff-necked and as his children rebel. This is the warning and judgment God is passing on Israel. This will soon come to pass in a massive judgment on the Northern Tribes. They will be utterly defeated and carried away to a place where they will  no longer be God’s people.

4 And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.  5 And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel. 
6 And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away. 
7 But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
Judgment if falling upon Israel, the Northern Kingdom but not yet upon Judah, the Southern Kingdom. God gives time for repentance. In this case, about 136 years.

8 Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.  9 Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God. 
God eventually calls Israel, not his people. This further explains why the Southern Kingdom grew haughty towards the North. Had God not judged them? Had they not been carried away into exile? Had God Himself not turned them out from being His people? Yes to all but they failed because they did not understand the nature of His grace and mercy.

10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. 
         Even though God is going to wipe them out, they will still be as the sand of the sea. This is the same promise given to Abraham over a 1000 years earlier. Even though Israel is unfaithful to her promises, God is faithful to His.

11 Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
         This promise never literally happens. The tribes are never again gathered as one people. The returning exiles only re-people the Southern Kingdom centered at Jerusalem. The Northern tribes are lost. So, this promise must refer to some future glorious fulfillment.
         Of course, the only way it can be fulfilled is in Jesus Christ. He takes the exiles and makes them one new body in Jesus Christ. He shows the woman at the well, a Samaritan woman, that those who worship must worship in Spirit and in Truth. That can only happen if we have recourse to Jesus Christ, the one who gives us the living waters.
         The day when Jezreel is brought back into God’s covenant will be great. The waters will flow from the river to the sea and to very ends of the earth.
         This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.
        
Hosea 4:1   Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.  2 By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.
Lord has a controversy, no mercy, no knowledge. They swear by other gods, lie, kill, steal, commit adultery.

Hos. 4:6   My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
What is this lack of knowledge that destroys? It is the lack of the knowledge of the Lord and of His ways. They do not know God or His law and they do not obey Him. Because they have forgotten God, God will also forget them.

         Hos. 5:4 4 They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD.
         They had a spirit of whoredoms. They turned to false gods and then they turned to sexual sins. Sound familiar? Such people do not know the Lord!

Hos. 6:1   Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.  2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
         Israel must die so that she can be raised to life.
        
Hos. 7:8   Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.  9 Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.
         Burnt on one side, dough on the other and useless on both.

Hosea 9:14-17 14 Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.  15 All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters. 16 Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.  17 My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations.
Israel has gone from judgment looming, to God declaring He will not have mercy, to unloved and no longer His people. You can see why the Jews in Judah could claim that the northern tribes in Samaria were not the people of God.

Hosea 10:12-13 12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.  13 Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.
         Contrast what God calls them to and what they actually do. God calls them righteousness, doing that which is right and pleasing to the Lord. If you do what is right, you will receive mercy from God.
You must break up the fallow ground. Fallow ground is hard. It has not been worked for a year or more. God wants us to break it up, plow up the hardness, make room for the waters of life to rain down upon us.

Hosea 11:12 12 Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.
         Israel is judged because they would not repent. Judah is yet faithful but her doom is near also if she falls into sin and will not repent.

Hosea 13:4 4 Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.
God delivered them from Egpyt and has given them many victories through the years of the Judges and down through the years of the Kings. Would He not do so again? But they seek salvation in those who are no gods and the One True God leaves them to the outcome.
        
         Hos. 13:9   O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.  10 I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes?
         Like a harlot seeking purchased love, she has destroyed herself. Her help and security were in her husband who loved her but she would not. Thus, she is left desolate.

Hosea 13:16 16 Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.
This is a horrible passage reflecting the reward of apostasy. God gives them over to their enemies who show no mercy. Idolatry and harlotry result in murdered children and empty wombs.

         Hosea 14:4   I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.
         This chapter speaks of a day that never arrived to Israel, a true restoration. It can only point to God’s New Covenant with Israel in Jesus.
        
         Hosea 14:9 Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.
        
EXHORTATION
         The admonition is clear from Hosea. God requires a faithful people. He requires us to submit to Him as our Savior. He requires us to obey His commands. He requires us to humble ourselves when we sin and return to our only salvation, the grace and mercy of God through the Lord Jesus.
         We live in an age of high infidelity. Our civic leaders, from our president to our governor to our mayor, advocate lies that are opposed to God’s law. They do this while also making the claim that they are serving God. The problem is that what they say is opposed to God’s law.
         God’s answer is clear. If you will speak such lies and support whoredom, then judgment will fall.
         Wherein lies our help? From those prophets who will proclaim the truth and call God’s people to repentance. God’s people will never be cut off. We have a better covenant based upon better promises. The knowledge of the Lord will continue to grow in the Earth.
         However, there is warning of pruning even in the New Testament. The Lord can cut off unbelieving and disobedient members and denominations. He can make a show of grossly disobedient nations and cause them to repent. He can take the lampstand out of the midst of a church. In the New Testament these churches were represented by city names. It was the church in a particular city. So, the city had her lamp, the Holy Spirit, removed.
         We see this going on right now in some denominations. In the American Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church USA, God is removing His faithful people, the people with the Holy Spirit. Because the Word of God is removed, God removes His Spirit from dwelling among them.
         What shall we do? Repent of our own idolatries. Repent of infidelity to God and spouse. Repent of the sins of our nation and of the church and return to the Word of God.
         The Word of God is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path. All of other words are lies and darkness.