The Redeeming Love of God
The Healing Love of GOD
Hosea 13:1 – 14:9
In the study of Hosea we have seen that the doom of Israel/Ephraim was certain. They had rejected God’s ways for their lives, and their nation’s continued prosperity. Instead, they began to trust their prosperity and abilities, and began to build their own gods. God sent prophets to warn them. Certainly, there were individuals who turned [repented], but as a whole the nation was corrupt.
We will find in this message that the indulgence of sin has eternal consequences. Sin has the power to destroy forever, a nation, or an individual. God in His grace, however, provides a way to defeat the power of sin. Sin’s power could destroy Israel forever; however, God was not through with them. He would raise them up to fulfill His glorious purpose.
“When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died. And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, ‘Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.’ Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.” Hosea 13:1-3 (KJV)
Ephraim has been used throughout Hosea to represent the total land of Israel. Now it appears to be speaking of the tribe. They have gone from glory to shame.
Ephraim was a respected tribe, and spoke with authority. Joshua the son of Nun was of the tribe or Ephraim (Numbers 13:8, 16). He, as you may remember, was Moses’ successor who would lead the people into Canaan, the land of promise. He would lead them in battle, and the settling of the land. By this tribe’s faithfulness to God they were exalted among all the people.
When Israel split as a nation, Jereboam also of the tribe of Ephraim, led the people into the worship of false deities, and rejected the true Go. Because of this they would die.
Molten images, the work of their own hands, became the object of their worship. Because of this they would soon disappear, as the chaff of whet, smoke from the chimney, the early dew, and the morning cloud.
“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. I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten Me. Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.” Hosea 13:4-8 (KJV)
God would go from being their Saviour; to being their Destroyer.
From the time that Moses came back to the land of Egypt to the time of Canaan God brought them through. He worked powerfully in their deliverance from Egypt. He fed them, gave them water to drink, even when there was no water He was their source of supply.
God blessed them abundantly in the “Promised land”, and they soon forgot Him. They began to neglect the reminders of His deliverance for other things. Afterwards, they began to reject God’s will and way for them. Finally, they would forget God and be destroyed.
God would become to them as ravenous beasts seeking its prey. The lion is strong and brave. The leopard is an animal of stealth and speed, sometimes lying in wait to surprise its helpless prey. The mother bear is extremely dangerous, especially, if she thinks her cubs are in danger (Proverbs 17:12). They would be torn and ripped to pieces because of their sin.
There is hope for them. Because there would be a remnant left from which to accomplish God’s purposes.
“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thine help. 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?’ I gave thee a king in Mine anger, and took him away in My wrath.” Hosea 13:9-11 (KJV)
They went away from God as King to destructive leaders.
Israel, was destroying themselves. It began when they determined to be life “Other nations” and wanted a king (1 Samuel 8:1-7). God was their King. In their unbelief they rejected God as King, and chose to have a foolish, and obstinate man rule over them.
Sure, God anointed Saul as king, but Go also knew that Saul would be representative fo the majority of the kings in Israel. In his rebellion and pride he rejected God’s way.
“The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid. The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children. I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels. 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.” Hosea 13:12-16 (KJV)
The judgment of God is not fro revenge, nor only punitive. In judgment He seeks to redeem.
“The iniquity… is bound up” is communicating to us that God has a record of Israel’s/Ephraim’s sin. They cannot hide it (v. 12).
God likens their judgment to that of a woman giving birth to a child. He is a stubborn child. Unwilling to be born into what God desires, causing greater pain for his mother. The child represents the individual – the mother Israel. Before the nation can be healed, the individual must repent and accept the ways of God (v. 13).
“Death ultimately involves eternal punishment in hell (‘The second death’) for those who refuse God’s redemption (Revelation 20:13-15). Taken together in the larger biblical context, Sheol and death picture sin’s power to demand the penalty of eternal death. In the case of the people of Hosea’s day, Sheol and death would be the power of their sin to destroy them forever as God’s people.” John Traylor page 120.
God was determined to redeem Israel. He would ultimately do that through the death of His Son Jesus on the cross. Placing all the sins of mankind upon Him, God put the power of sin to death. Romans 8:3 says, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.” (NKJV)
The law of God demands eternal death because of sin. God says, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave.” See 1 Corinthians 15:55-56. God would raise Israel up once again. God would have compassion on them (v. 14).
Death, through judgment would have to come before resurrection. This shows the power of God to redeem. When there is no hope that appears, there is hope and possibility in God. He is the God of resurrection – of New Life.
“O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto Him, ‘Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, ‘Ye are our gods: for in Thee the fatherless findeth mercy.'” Hosea 14:1-3 (KJV)
God calls for Israel to truly repent.
Forget the rituals, the gifts of offering, and sacrifices. Offer to God “Words”. Not empty and vain words, but “Words” of a heart that is truly broken and repentant. Life that is changed, turned around, by God is true repentance.
Israel had to turn around to realize there was no hope in anyone or anything, but God. In God is mercy, grace, and hope.
“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for Mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, ‘What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From Me is thy fruit found.” Hosea 14:4-8 (KJV)
After true repentance great things begin to occur.
Remember, God has brought them to repentance. God heals their backsliding hearts. Now, they cling only to Him.
Israel would experience the fullness of God’s love. There will be no need for His anger any longer. God is their source of refreshment, and blessing. The bringing forth of this fruit is the result of their trusting in God.
“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.” Hosea 14:9 (KJV)
The word of, and the way of the Wise.
The Wise receive the redemption of God, and stop depending on false gods.
Hosea points the one who is wise to the love and joy of our Saviour. There is life in God’s way. Death awaits the foolish who reject God’s way of life. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man [no one] cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6) Someone once said, “Without the Way there is no going; without the Truth there is no knowing; without the Life there is no living.” The way is hard it is not easy. The truth is all you can trust. The life is eternal through faith in this One who died for our sins.
-Tim A. Blankenship