Hosea 9-11

Thursday Evening Bible Study

March 9, 2006

Introduction

Hosea had an unusual home life. God has asked him to marry a prostitute named Gomer. He had children with Gomer. Gomer went back to work. And God asked Hosea to get his wife back. Hosea’s life was to be a picture of God’s relationship with His people. They were like a prostitute because they always fell away from God and worshipped idols. When we fall away from the Lord, it’s the same kind of pain to God that we would experience if our spouse was unfaithful to us.

Hosea’s main ministry was to get the people ready for the coming judgment on the northern kingdom. God was warning the people to turn back to Him or they would eventually face the collapse of their nation followed by being taken captive by the terribly cruel Assyrian empire.

Hosea 9

:1-17 Judgment for sin

:1 Do not rejoice, O Israel, with joy like other peoples, For you have played the harlot against your God. You have made love for hire on every threshing floor.

Hosea understood what this was all about. His wife was a picture of what the nation was doing.

:2 The threshing floor and the winepress Shall not feed them, And the new wine shall fail in her.

:3 They shall not dwell in the Lord's land, But Ephraim shall return to Egypt, And shall eat unclean things in Assyria.

Again, as in 8:13, some would go back to Egypt, others would go to Assyria.

:4 They shall not offer wine offerings to the LORD, Nor shall their sacrifices be pleasing to Him. It shall be like bread of mourners to them; All who eat it shall be defiled. For their bread shall be for their own life; It shall not come into the house of the LORD.

:5 What will you do in the appointed day, And in the day of the feast of the LORD?

When in captivity in Assyria, they would not be able to celebrate the Jewish feasts.

:6 For indeed they are gone because of destruction. Egypt shall gather them up; Memphis shall bury them. Nettles shall possess their valuables of silver; Thorns shall be in their tents.

Memphis is a city in Egypt, not Tennessee.

Nettles – weeds

:7 The days of punishment have come; The days of recompense have come. Israel knows! The prophet is a fool, The spiritual man is insane, Because of the greatness of your iniquity and great enmity.

The prophet is a fool, The spiritual man is insane – this would be the attitude of the people towards the true prophets. They would mock and ridicule them. That happens often today where the real Christian voices are often ridiculed, things taken out of context.

:8 The watchman of Ephraim is with my God; But the prophet is a fowler's snare in all his ways; Enmity in the house of his God.

(Ho 9:8 The Message) The prophet is looking out for Ephraim, working under God’s orders. But everyone is trying to trip him up. He’s hated right in God’s house, of all places.

:9 They are deeply corrupted, As in the days of Gibeah. He will remember their iniquity; He will punish their sins.

At the end of the book of Judges (Jud. 19-21), the nation was going through a period of great wickedness. A man traveling with his concubine through the land of Benjamin spent the night in the town of Gibeah. He was invited to stay in the house of a man from Gibeah. While he was staying there, a group of wicked men came and asked for the stranger to come out so they could have sex with him. When he refused, they ended up taking the man’s concubine and raping her all night. She was dead in the morning. The traveler took her body, cut it up into pieces, and sent the pieces throughout the land to let the people know of the great wickedness that had taken place.

(Judg 19:30 NKJV) And so it was that all who saw it said, "No such deed has been done or seen from the day that the children of Israel came up from the land of Egypt until this day. Consider it, confer, and speak up!"

The entire nation gathered together to bring judgment against the city. The people of Benjamin rose to defend the city. In the end, the tribe of Benjamin was almost completely wiped out.

Gibeah was kind of the “low point” in Israel’s history. But now in Hosea’s day, things are just as bad as Gibeah.

:10 "I found Israel Like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers As the firstfruits on the fig tree in its first season. But they went to Baal Peor, And separated themselves to that shame; They became an abomination like the thing they loved.

Initially, God found the nation of Israel to be refreshing. But they turned to worshipping idols.

Baal Peor – the story is in Numbers 25. The Midianites found a way to defeat the Israelites by sending their young girls into the camp of Israel to entice the men into worshipping Baal Peor through sexual immorality. This brought a plague and defeat on Israel.

Lesson

Becoming like what you love

There’s a commercial on TV where the theme seems to be “You are what you eat”. It has people walking around with giant cinnamon buns on their bottoms or giant donuts around their middles.
(Psa 115:4-9 NKJV) Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men's hands. {5} They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; {6} They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; {7} They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat. {8} Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them. {9} O Israel, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield.
You become like your “god”, the one you love.
If your “god” lacks ears to hear, you won’t be able to hear very well either. If your “god” lacks eyes to see, you won’t be seeing much either.
On the other hand, if your God loves the world so much that He gave … then so will you.

:11 As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird; No birth, no pregnancy, and no conception!

Lesson

God’s blessings

Having children is seen in the Bible as a great blessing from God.
(Psa 127 NKJV) Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain. {2} It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep. {3} Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. {4} Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. {5} Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

As kids grow, they get messy. They get into trouble. Parents can grow resentful.

Illustration

Babies are really great. Someone has described a baby as a digestive apparatus with a loud noise at one end and no responsibility at the other.

When kids are little, they can say the cutest things:

Illustration

MELANIE (age 5) asked her Granny how old she was. Granny replied she was so old she didn't remember any more. Melanie said, "If you don't remember you must look in the back of your panties. Mine say five to six."

BRITTANY (age 4) had an earache and wanted a painkiller. She tried in vain to take the lid off the bottle. Seeing her frustration, her Mom explained it was a childproof cap and she'd have to open it for her. Eyes wide with wonder, the little girl asked: "How does it know it's me?"

SUSAN (age 4) was drinking juice when she got the hiccups. "Please don't give me this juice again," she said, "It makes my teeth cough."

DI (age 4) stepped onto the bathroom scale and asked: "How much do I cost?"

CLINTON (age 5) was in his bedroom looking worried. When his Mom asked what was troubling him, he replied, "I don't know what'll happen with this bed when I get married. How will my wife fit in?"

TAMMY (age 4) was with her mother when they met an elderly, rather wrinkled woman her Mom knew. Tammy looked at her for awhile and then asked, "Why doesn't your skin fit your face?"

But as they grow older, sometimes we forget what a treasure our kids are.

Don’t forget that your children are your greatest blessing from God.

These people would not be blessed.

:12 Though they bring up their children, Yet I will bereave them to the last man. Yes, woe to them when I depart from them!

:13 Just as I saw Ephraim like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place, So Ephraim will bring out his children to the murderer."

(Ho 9:13 The Message) I see Ephraim letting his children run wild. He might just as well take them and kill them outright!”

:14 Give them, O LORD; What will You give? Give them a miscarrying womb And dry breasts!

:15 "All their wickedness is in Gilgal, For there I hated them. Because of the evil of their deeds I will drive them from My house; I will love them no more. All their princes are rebellious.

Gilgal – Apparently there was some sort of wickedness taking place in Gilgal. Some have suggested that human sacrifice was taking place.

I will drive them from – this kind of language was often used to describe how God would drive the Canaanites from the land as Israel came in to conquer it. Now they’ve come full circle and God is driving them out.

:16 Ephraim is stricken, Their root is dried up; They shall bear no fruit. Yes, were they to bear children, I would kill the darlings of their womb."

Ephraim ‘Ephrayim – “I shall be doubly fruitful”. Kind of like a combination of Wrigley’s Doublemint and Juicy Fruit gums. It was the name Joseph had given to his second son:

Ge 41:52 And the name of the second he called Ephraim: "For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction."

Such irony. They will now bear no fruit.

Lesson

Fruit

Fruit is tied to our relationship with God:
(John 15:1-8 NKJV) "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. {2} "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. {3} "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. {4} "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. {5} "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. {6} "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. {7} "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. {8} "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
What does it mean to “bear fruit”? Fruit is a natural product of the plant. For the Christian, God will produce various things in our lives: the Fruit of the Spirit, people coming to Christ, answered prayers, etc.
The word “abide” doesn’t have to be a mystery to us. It simply means to “stay put”, to “stay where you are”. As a Christian, God has connected us to Jesus. We need to simply “stay put”. We need to stay connected to Him.

If you bear fruit, God will be pruning you. But it’s only to cause you to bear more fruit.

:17 My God will cast them away, Because they did not obey Him; And they shall be wanderers among the nations.

Hosea 10

:1-15 Sin and Captivity

:1 Israel empties his vine; He brings forth fruit for himself. According to the multitude of his fruit He has increased the altars; According to the bounty of his land They have embellished his sacred pillars.

The only reason Israel brought forth fruit was for their own consumption.

The richer Israel became, the more they built “altars”, but they were hypocritical altars. The “pillars” are allusions to idolatry.

(1 Tim 6:9-10 NKJV) But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. {10} For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

:2 Their heart is divided;

When the judgment would come, there would be a verdict given concerning the northern kingdom and the Lord:

(2 Ki 17:33 NKJV) They feared the LORD, yet served their own gods; according to the rituals of the nations from among whom they were carried away.

In America, we are too sophisticated to out right say that there are other “gods”. We may be too sophisticated to say that we worship Molech or Baal, but we call our “gods” by other names.

What are some of the other “gods” in America?

Drugs, sex, alcohol, money, pleasure …

We have choices in life concerning which “gods” we serve:

Joshua told the nation when they had conquered the Promised Land:

(Josh 24:15 NKJV) "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

On Mount Carmel, Elijah told the people they had a choice:

(1 Ki 18:21 NKJV) And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people answered him not a word.

Jesus said you can’t serve more than one God:

(Mat 6:24 NKJV) "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Paul said that there was a way to tell which God you were serving:

(Rom 6:16 NKJV) Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
How can you tell if you are serving the “god of drugs”? the “god of pleasure”? etc…

:2 Now they are held guilty. He will break down their altars; He will ruin their sacred pillars.

:3 For now they say, "We have no king, Because we did not fear the LORD. And as for a king, what would he do for us?"

The northern kingdom was having one king after another. No real king. No real dynasty.

:4 They have spoken words, Swearing falsely in making a covenant. Thus judgment springs up like hemlock in the furrows of the field.

:5 The inhabitants of Samaria fear Because of the calf of Beth Aven. For its people mourn for it, And its priests shriek for it; Because its glory has departed from it.

Samaria – the capital of the northern kingdom

Beth Aven – “house of vanity”, this is Hosea’s mocking name for the city of “Beth-el” (“house of God”), one of the places where the worship of the golden calves was set up.

priests – a rare Hebrew word that is used to describe priests of Baal.

:6 The idol also shall be carried to Assyria As a present for King Jareb. Ephraim shall receive shame, And Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel.

King Jareb – Probably Tiglath-Pileser III (also in Hos. 5:13).

:7 As for Samaria, her king is cut off Like a twig on the water.

:8 Also the high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, Shall be destroyed. The thorn and thistle shall grow on their altars; They shall say to the mountains, "Cover us!" And to the hills, "Fall on us!"

Aven – short for “Beth-aven” (vs. 5), simply means “vanity” or “trouble, wickedness, idolatry”

Cover us! – This is what the unbelievers will be saying during the Tribulation period, when God’s judgment begins to fall on the earth.

(Rev 6:12-17 NKJV) I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. {13} And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. {14} Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. {15} And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, {16} and said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! {17} "For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"

It’s amazing to think that the people will be aware of the judgment that’s coming, but rather than turning from their sin and turning to God, they would rather hide from God.

:9 "O Israel, you have sinned from the days of Gibeah; There they stood. The battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity Did not overtake them.

Gibeah – see notes on Hos. 9:9.

There seem to be several ways of taking this verse.

(Ho 10:9 The Message) You got your start in sin at Gibeah— that ancient, unspeakable, shocking sin— And you’ve been at it ever since. And Gibeah will mark the end of it in a war to end all the sinning.

There has been great wickedness in Israel from the days of Gibeah.
Apparently there will be a great irony in that the battle against Israel with the Assyrians will culminate in Gibeah.

:10 When it is My desire, I will chasten them. Peoples shall be gathered against them When I bind them for their two transgressions.

:11 Ephraim is a trained heifer That loves to thresh grain; But I harnessed her fair neck, I will make Ephraim pull a plow. Judah shall plow; Jacob shall break his clods."

(Hosea 10:11 NLT) "Israel is like a trained heifer accustomed to treading out the grain--an easy job that she loves. Now I will put a heavy yoke on her tender neck. I will drive her in front of the plow. Israel and Judah must now break up the hard ground; their days of ease are gone.

Threshing was a nice job for a cow. It was much easier to pull a threshing sledge than to pull a plow. And the cow was not muzzled and was able to eat as much as it wanted as it pulled the sledge. The easy life would be over.

Lesson

The consequences of sin

Sin blinds, binds, and grinds.
Samson is a great example of how sin affects a person’s life. Samson was raised as a Nazirite, one who was dedicated to serve God. His long hair was a sign of his commitment to God. God gave Samson great strength and Samson used his strength to bring victory over the Philistines. But Samson played too much with fire – he loved the ladies. When Delilah persuaded Samson to tell her the secret of his strength, he was captured and his eyes were gouged out. He was blind. Then they put chains on him, binding him. Then they put him to work turning the mill, grinding.
(Judg 16:21 NKJV) Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison.
We often get seduced by the “fun” of sin and forget the consequences that will follow.

:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

Lesson

Good Farming

Sometimes us “city folk” think that farming is pretty complicated stuff …
Illustration

There once was this city boy who got lost and saw a farmer walking into his barn so he stopped for directions. He was just beginning to milk his cow but took time out to tell him how to get to the Jones’ farm. “By the way, “ he asked, “Do you know what time it is?” He leaned in to the udder of the cow and said, “12:30.” The city boy started to leave but just HAD to know. He told him, “Hey, I’ve just moved from the city and I really want to know the ways of the country. How could you tell what time it was?” “Sit right here on this stool, son.” He did. “Now, grab hold of that udder.” He did. (Before this, his closest experience to this was grabbing a milk carton). “Now lean into the cow and lift up on the udder.” He did. “Lean over and look right over there on that wall. See that’s a clock. When the little hand is on the 12...”

Some parts of farming aren’t that difficult.  It’s just common sense.
Last week we talked about sowing and reaping.
(Hosea 8:7 NKJV) "They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no bud; It shall never produce meal. If it should produce, Aliens would swallow it up.
(Gal 6:7 NKJV) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
Now God gives some more good farming advice:
Sow righteousness = Do the right things. Do good things.
Reap mercy = God will be merciful to you
Break up your fallow ground = ground that has been fruitful, and then it has been plowed over, and no seed has been sown in it, and therefore it has become unproductive. Fallow ground needs to be plowed, broken up, in order for seed to be sown.

Break up your hard heart. Make your heart open for God’s Word to be planted in it.

If you’ve been away from the Lord, there’s hope. God has a way for you to come back.
Break up the hardness – open your heart.
Sow seeds – plant His Word in your life.

:13 You have plowed wickedness; You have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, Because you trusted in your own way, In the multitude of your mighty men.

:14 Therefore tumult shall arise among your people, And all your fortresses shall be plundered As Shalman plundered Beth Arbel in the day of battle; A mother dashed in pieces upon her children.

ShalmanShalman – fire-worshipper"; a contraction for Shalmaneser king of Assyria (but there were many Shalmanesers)

Beth ArbelBeyth ‘Arbe’l – “house of God’s Ambush”

Shalman plundered Beth Arbel – an unknown battle

:15 Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel, Because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel Shall be cut off utterly.

Hosea 11

:1-12 God’s love for Israel

:1 "When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.

out of EgyptIsrael had been in bondage to the Egyptians for 400 years when God sent Moses to deliver them. Israel came out of Egypt.

When Matthew tells how Joseph had taken Mary and the baby Jesus to Egypt to escape from Herod, he uses this verse to show that it had actually been prophesied.

(Mat 2:14-15 NKJV) When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, {15} and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called My Son."

:2 As they called them, So they went from them; They sacrificed to the Baals, And burned incense to carved images.

The prophets called to the people to follow God, but instead they worshipped the Canaanite gods.

:3 "I taught Ephraim to walk, Taking them by their arms; But they did not know that I healed them.

:4 I drew them with gentle cords, With bands of love, And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them.

bands of love – like a rope leading a domestic animal. God had influence on Israel, but His influence was based on His love.

Lesson

All for Love

Everything that God does for us, He does out of love.
Sometimes we can get to thinking that difficult times come because God is angry with us. Not so. As His child, He loves you. But a loving parent will discipline His child.
(Heb 12:5-6 NKJV) And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; {6} For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives."

There are times when our kids do things that aren’t right. They will do things that are harmful. A loving parent disciplines his child.

He is not against you.
(Rom 8:31-34 NKJV) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? {32} He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? {33} Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. {34} Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

:5 "He shall not return to the land of Egypt; But the Assyrian shall be his king, Because they refused to repent.

Despite God’s acts of love, the people would not turn around.

:6 And the sword shall slash in his cities, Devour his districts, And consume them, Because of their own counsels.

:7 My people are bent on backsliding from Me. Though they call to the Most High, None at all exalt Him.

Calling without the heart

:8 "How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you like Zeboiim? My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred.

Admah‘Admah – “red earth”

Zeboiim[email protected]’iym – “gazelles”

These were two cities that were destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah (Deut. 29:23)

God doesn’t want to destroy the northern kingdom like Admah and Zeboiim were destroyed.

:9 I will not execute the fierceness of My anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim. For I am God, and not man, The Holy One in your midst; And I will not come with terror.

I am God, and not man – He is not like us

We need to be careful that we don’t think that God will respond to things like we do.

:10 "They shall walk after the LORD. He will roar like a lion. When He roars, Then His sons shall come trembling from the west;

Ryrie: Though judgment was imminent, God would one day roar like a lion summoning its young, and Israel, trembling with eagerness, would be restored and regathered to her land.

:11 They shall come trembling like a bird from Egypt, Like a dove from the land of Assyria. And I will let them dwell in their houses," Says the LORD.

:12 "Ephraim has encircled Me with lies, And the house of Israel with deceit; But Judah still walks with God, Even with the Holy One who is faithful.

Lesson

Fear and judgment

The book of Hosea is a warning of the judgment coming on Israel.
God is going to judge men one day. That ought to strike a little fear into our hearts.
(Heb 10:31 NKJV) It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
But we don’t need to be afraid.
(John 3:16-18 NKJV) "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. {17} "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. {18} "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

We have Jesus.

John wrote,
(1 John 4:18 NKJV) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.