devotional post # 2111
Hos 6:4 What am I going to do with you, Ephraim? What am I going to do with you, Judah? Your covenant loyalty is like a morning cloud, like the dew that disappears early.
Hos 6:5 for this reason I have cut them down by the prophets; I have killed them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth like the light.
Hos 6:6 Because I desire covenant loyalty and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Hos 6:7 But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they betrayed me.
The LORD complains that his people’s covenant loyalty has disappeared like the morning dew. It was gone before he even had a chance to appreciate it. He feels betrayed. Oh Christian, do not let your loyalty to God be a mere historical marker. Stay with him!
LORD, we want to refresh you with our commitment all our lives.
devotional post # 2110
Hos 6:1 “Come, let us come back to Yahveh; because he has torn us, so that he can heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
Hos 6:2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live in his presence.
Hos 6:3 Let us know; let us strive to know Yahveh; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”
coming back together
The prophet invites his people to come back to Yahveh, together with him. He has told them that God has torn them like a young lion, but now he says that this same God who destroys can also bind up the carcass and heal it. He has told them that God has overflowed his boundaries and destroyed them like a mighty waterfall, but now he says that this same God can come to them as gentle showers of spring rain that revives and restores. He invites his people to join him in coming back to their destroyer God for help.
LORD, we know the pain of your judgment. We seek the security and joy of your healing and resurrection. We are coming back to you together.
devotional post # 2109
Hos 5:11 Ephraim is oppressed, broken as a judgment, because he was keen to walk after garbage.
Hos 5:12 But I am like a moth to Ephraim, and like rottenness to the house of Judah.
Hos 5:13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his boil, then Ephraim went to Assyria, and sent to the great king. But he is not able to cure you or heal your wound.
Hos 5:14 Because I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear in and go away; I will carry off, and no one will rescue.
Hos 5:15 I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress eagerly search for me.
the moth lion
The prophet mixes similes as he describes the LORD’s behavior toward Israel and Judah. The slow eating away and decay of a moth, and sickness, is soon discarded for a young lion, which tears off bits of flesh and takes it away. Hosea wants his people to know that the ordeal and oppression they are facing is God’s doing. He wants them to return to the God with whom they have covenanted, because that is the only way to restore their relationship with God, and their spiritual health.
LORD, we are tired of following after garbage. We want to pursue you.
devotional post # 2108
Hos 5:8 Blow the shofar in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah. Sound the alarm at Beth-aven; we are following you, Benjamin!
Hos 5:9 Ephraim will become a desolation in the day of punishment; among the tribes of Israel I will make it known for certain.
Hos 5:10 The princes of Judah have become like those who move the landmark; upon them I will pour out the overflow of my wrath and let it destroy like water.
the power of overflow
As I write this, I remember scenes of destruction caused by waterfalls which have suddenly overflowed their boundaries due to torrential rain. Although this devotional will be posted in several months, for me the memories are only a few days old. The picture that Hosea portrays is that God’s wrath is like those waterfalls: kept in check by limits but always there to cause devastation when those limits are exceeded.
LORD, may we always remember the power of your wrath and stay within the limits of your sustaining grace.
devotional post # 2107
Hos 5:5 The presumption of Israel testifies to his face; Israel and Ephraim will trip over his guilt; Judah also will trip with them.
Hos 5:6 With their flocks and herds they will go to seek Yahveh, but they will not find him; he has withdrawn from them.
Hos 5:7 They have dealt deceitfully with Yahveh; because they have given birth to alien children. Now the new moon will devour them along with their fields.
withdrawn from them
The northern kingdom presumed that they could get in bed with the gods of other nations, and still find a faithful husband waiting when they came to worship Yahveh. It doesn’t work that way. They will trip over the invisible furniture of their own guilt, because Yahveh has withdrawn from them. The next new moon festival will bring loss, not harvest. Violence will come to the northern house. There is no God there to protect them from the consequences of their own pride.
LORD, come back to us, before there is nothing left to return to.
devotional post # 2106
Hos 5:1 Hear this, O priests! Listen attentively, house of Israel! Use your ears, house of the king! Because the judgment is directed at you; because you have been a trapping net at Mizpah and a net stretched over Tabor.
Hos 5:2 And the ones who have rebelled have buried themselves deep in a pit, but I will discipline all of them.
Hos 5:3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from me; because now, O Ephraim, you have committed prostitution; Israel is defiled.
Hos 5:4 Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. Because that wind of of promiscuity is inside them, and they do not know Yahveh.
not hidden from him
Hosea speaks out against the priests and royal family of the northern kingdom. He tells them that they have rebelled against their covenant with Yahveh, and will be held accountable to him. Those responsible for this rebellion have attempted to dig deep, and hide themselves, but God knows who they are. That wind that Hosea said had enveloped them and was going to sweep them away — that wind is inside them (literally in their bellies). The same idolatry that they first tolerated, then championed, is now an addiction they cannot kick. It had defiled their nation, and would lead to their demise.
LORD, forgive us for our disloyalty. Cleanse us of our unholy addiction to those things which are false. You know us; we want to know you.
devotional post # 2105
Hos 4:15 Though you be unfaithful, O Israel, let not Judah become guilty. Enter not into Gilgal, nor go up to Beth-aven, and do not vow, “As Yahveh lives.”
Hos 4:16 Like a stubborn cow, Israel is stubborn; can Yahveh now keep feeding them like a lamb in a broad pasture?
Hos 4:17 Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone.
Hos 4:18 When their drink is gone, they give themselves to prostitution; their rulers dearly love shame.
Hos 4:19 A wind has enveloped them in its wings, and they will be ashamed because of their sacrifices.
I grew up in North Florida, and I have seen a number of tornadoes. The winds envelop their victims and take them away. Whether it’s a cow or a house, there is nothing you can do.
Hosea describes Israel’s wickedness as a wind that has enveloped it; they will be taken away by it. He tells them not to pretend that they still worship Yahveh. They are under Yahveh’s judgment, and they will experience the shame of his condemnation. There is nothing Judah can do about that but avoid the condemnation by avoiding the sin.
LORD, give us the wisdom to leave the stubborn cows alone, to seek those who are still seeking you.
devotional post # 2104
Hos 4:12 My people look for answers from of their wood, and their walking staff to tell them things. Because a spirit of prostitution has led them astray, and they have left their God to commit prostitution.
Hos 4:13 They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains and burn offerings on the hills, under oak, poplar, and terebinth, because their shades are nice. For this reason your daughters commit prostitution, and your brides commit adultery.
Hos 4:14 I will not punish your daughters when they commit prostitution, nor your brides when they commit adultery; because the men themselves go aside with prostitutes and sacrifice with cult prostitutes, and a people who do not understand will be ruined.
After spending a lot of time hiking in the great outdoors, I have a special appreciation for a passage like this. Sturdy walking poles, glorious mountain tops, cool shaded areas — these are words which remind me of the experience. The Israelites spent a lot of time walking outdoors, and they picked up the habits of the pagans who did the same. They forgot the God in the sky above them, and started worshiping the blessings all around them. Hosea reveals that this defection was due to a lack of understanding, and leads to ruin.
LORD, you are the one who blesses us. Our hearts yearn for you, not just the blessings you have given us.
devotional post # 2103
Hos 4:7 The more numerous they became, the more they sinned against me; I will change their pride into shame.
Hos 4:8 They feed on the sin of my people; their soul lusts to take on their iniquity.
Hos 4:9 And it will be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their actions and repay them because their works.
Hos 4:10 They will eat, but not be satisfied; they will be promiscuous, but not multiply, because they have forsaken the task of keeping Yahveh;
Hos 4:11 prostitituion, wine, and new wine have taken away the heart.
A heart disease has infected the priests in Israel. They became numerous, prideful and sinful. Instead of hating the sins of the people, the priests became envious, and lusted after their sins. The LORD decided to punish the priests for their sin by making them decrease in number. As their heart for God reduced, so did their number.
LORD, increase us. Increase our love for you, and our desire to lead others to you.
devotional post # 2102
Hos 4:4 Yet do not try to argue your way out of this, or pass the blame on to others, because my argument is against you, priest.
Hos 4:5 You will stumble in the daytime; also the prophet will stumble with you at night-time; and I will destroy your mother.
Hos 4:6 My people are being destroyed because they lack knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
ignorance is not bliss
The popular saying suggests that ignorance is bliss, but that was not the case for Israel’s priests and prophets. They were products of a rebellious nation, children of an unfaithful mother. Their lack of knowledge of God’s word led to further rebellion and transgression by the people. Those who should have had the light of scripture stumbled at it all the time. The LORD held them accountable.
LORD, may those of us who know your word be diligent to pass it on to our generation, and the next.