Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hosea Part III- Sermon Notes

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

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.
         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.

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