Reaping the Whirlwind
When the people of God will not heed; and when His Word is not obeyed, and His promises not believed; judgment is imminent and unavoidable.
There can be much learned from watching the work of a farmer. The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments place farming as a picture of warning and hope. Farming is the world’s oldest profession. From this profession we learn the eternal law of sowing and reaping.
When a seed is planted in the ground you reap likewise. A seed of corn brings a harvest of corn; of wheat, wheat; of barley, barley and so on. One kind of seed does not produce another kind of harvest.
What kind of seeds had Israel sown? Seeds of sin and destruction. The seed sown does not immediately bear fruit, but harvest eventually comes. As the harvest comes with corn and wheat, so too does the harvest come with sin. See Galations 6:7.
It has been said, “Some go and sow their wild oats (Debaucherous and wild living), then pray for crop failure.”
“Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed My covenant, and trespassed against My law. Israel shall cry unto Me, ‘My God, we know thee.’ Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.” Hosea 8:1-3 (KJV)
Some of the people of Israel never looked at he possibility of fruits of sin, or sin’s harvest. People in the 21st century do not realize that there is a harvest for rejecting God and His Word.
The prophet is told to warn the people. “The trumpet” is the rams horn, also called “Shophar”, and was used for calling assemblies or to warn of an approaching enemy, as in this case.
The warning is certain. Judgment is certain. The “Eagle” is the Assyrians swooping down upon them carrying them away captive in the clutches of its talons. Why? Because they did not listen to God and “Transgressed against My covenant, and trespassed against My law”.
Although Israel would cry out to God, “We know thee”, the enemy would still come. The words they spoke and the life they lived were a contradiction. Compare this verse with John 8:33-47 especially listen to Jesus as He says, “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” That would certainly mean, “No matter how loudly you proclaim otherwise” You find yourself in complete opposition to God. Claiming to know God, or being in the right bloodline (physically) does not mean you know God. The fruit you bear is evidence. Living by the Word of God empowered by God’s Spirit.
The people’s rejection of God is shown in verse three as God says, “Israel hath cast off … good.” Forsaking the good to do evil the enemy shall come.
The enemy is likened to the eagle; which can also be a vulture. This enemy would come silently, devouring the dying and helpless, snatching in its mighty talons anything that could be carried away. This is the harvest of rejecting God.
“They have set up kings, but not by Me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off. Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; Mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency? For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces. For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.” verses 4 – 7
There is also the harvest of self-will. That is the harvest we bring on ourselves because we refuse to follow the way God is leading.
If you were to look back in 1 Samuel 8:4-22 you would be reminded of Israel’s [the undivided nation] insistence upon having a king, “That we also may be like all the nations.” (1 Samuel 8:20). It was a thing that displeased God and Samuel (See verses 6-7 of 1 Samuel 8). God gave them their request. For another time God gave them their selfish request see Psalm 106:15. Requests of self-will, and it brought great harm to the nation. Sometimes God gives us the leaders we desire, and then too late find out that was not a good deal.
Individuals and nations often set up kings of their own like and making. The king in one’s life or nation is a reflection of that nation’s or individual’s heart. Yes, God is sovereign, completely in charge; He does give us what we ask for sometimes to correct us, and draw us to Himself.
Jeroboam as the first king of the divided Israel [Northern kingdom] disobeyed God and set up golden calfs – probably similar to the calf Aaron built at the request of the people while Moses was on the mount with God – and led the people into worship away from God. The tragedy is, that no king of the Northern kingdom ever turned from this worship of self-will in the calfs. Jeroboam went so far as to call people as priests who were not of the Levites; “He [Jeroboam] made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi.” (1 Kings 12:31 NKJV).
These were not God’s ways. It was completely contrary to the LORD’s direction. It was the worship of Self-will.
In the New Testament book of Galations 6:7 the Lord spoke through His servant Paul saying, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” There is no exclusion in this verse for anyone. This is the equivalent to verse seven of our text in Hosea. What ever you sow is returned unto you many times over.
The next verse in the Galations text says, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Galations 6:8). These are both with a harvest many times over the seed that has been sown.
To sow to the wind, they would reap the whirlwind [manifold]. The wind can be gentle and deceptive. The whirlwind is nothing of the sort. It destroys everything that gets in its way. They [Israel] sowed the wind of idolatry, now they would reap the manifold harvest of the whirlwind of Assyria.
The worship of Baal and the fertility rites that go with it would prove to be fruitless as far as crops of grain and children. The only harvest would be one of destruction – after all, is that not what they had sown? The destruction is the harvest of the self-will.
“Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure. For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers. Yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them, and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes.” verses 8 – 10
Embracing pagan allies and their practices also brings a harvest. A bear hunter looking for a good fur coat for the Winter compromises with the bear who needs a meal. The hunter gets his winter coat, and the bear gets his meal. That is the destination of people who play with sin, and compromise with it. That was the destination of the people of Israel as they gave up God for pagan allies and deities.
In obstinacy and rebellion they seek the aid of Assyria. Instead of calling on the LORD to be dependent upon Him they go to another nation which is also under the sovereign hand of God. This obstinacy is seen in the use of “A wild ass alone by himself.” Alliance with another nation for defense was another “Lover” added to their lists.
The very nations they had called on for defense would be the nation God would use to correct, rebuke, purge, and bring them back to Him. How foolish it is to embrace others for defense instead of God, and reap a severe harvest of shame.
“Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin. I have written to him the great things of My law, but they were counted as a strange thing. They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of Mine offerings, and eat it; but the LORD accepteth them not; now will He remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt.” verses 11 – 13
Pet Rattlesnakes, pet Alligators, are a dangerous thing. How many times have I heard of someone having a “Pet snake” in the house only to end up being bitten, or their child being bitten then the adult or the child die as a result. The same is true with “Pet Tigers” or “Pet Bear”, etc. You may think you have them under control. “Pet sins” are the same way. You cannot control sin. Sin enslaves us when we let it stick around. That was the tragedy of Israel.
John Traylor writes in the study book, “‘Though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My law’ (v. 12 NASV) means that God made known His will in many different ways. In spite of this, the people regarded God and His laws as strange and foreign.” The law, to them was restricting and God was only trying to keep them from being “Happy”. They had fallen victim to Satan’s lie to Adam and Eve. “Yea, hath God said…” and “You shall not surely die…” Believing that God was only hindering them, they want what they want, Now.
Israel continued to offer their burnt offerings, while in fact, they knew not God. They were near the point of harvest for false and licentious worship. Because of the sexual sin they would get diseases unknown to them before.
God would not forget their sin. It would be remembered (v. 13). The word “Remember” is used here in the same sense as that of Jeremiah 31:34 when God says, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” In Hosea God says He will remember their sin and judge them for it. They shall return to captivity, because of their licentious [sexual perversion] behavior they reap a manifold harvest.
“For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.” verse 14
Forgetting God has a manifold harvest. Rejecting God and His Word, thumbing your nose at it leads to forgetting Him.
Everything they depended on in God’s stead would be destroyed. The idols cast down, their walls, buildings and fortified cities wiped out. What is the reaped harvest of forgetting God? DESTRUCTION.
-Tim A. Blankenship