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Summary: Sermon 9 in a study in Hosea

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“The LORD also has a dispute with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; He will repay him according to his deeds. 3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel, and in his maturity he contended with God. 4 Yes, he wrestled with the angel and prevailed; He wept and sought His favor. He found Him at Bethel and there He spoke with us, 5 Even the LORD, the God of hosts, The LORD is His name.”

JUDAH CALLED ON THE CARPET

Hosea’s ministry was largely to the Northern Kingdom and has primarily been directed at them to this point. His ministry is estimated to have covered a period of approximately 60 years, from 784 B.C. until about the time of the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C.

Judah did not fall to Nebuchadnezzar until 605 B.C., and the destruction of Jerusalem came 20 years after that. So at the time of Hosea chapter 12 the things that would come upon the Southern Kingdom for her sins were still at minimum, 117 years away, and most probably closer to 140 years away.

Nevertheless, when the destruction came upon them it would come suddenly, and this should cause us to tremble when we think of how many decades heralds of God’s Word have been warning our society from many pulpits across the land, concerning the moral and spiritual decline of our nation.

In 1988, author Robert Fulghum had a book published entitled, “All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten”. The idea behind the little book was that since the basics of human social behavior are taught us as young children, such as kindness, fairness, cleaning up after yourself, sharing and so on, they are principles that should be obvious to us and remain with us the rest of our lives.

Less than 10 years after the emergence of this book my wife and children and I moved to Del Norte, Colorado. The church we began to attend there was pastored by a man who had just been discharged from the Marines and was now working as a farrier, which is someone who shoes horses. The residual influence of the military, which was his recent experience, and his desire to resonate well with the local ranchers, as a shoer of horses, gave him a proclivity for centering most of his sermon illustrations in military things, or ranching and farming.

Now I have absolutely the greatest respect for the farmer and the need for farmers and the blessing they are to all of us. But there were many of us in that congregation who were becoming increasingly burdened by frequent references to the United States Marines, and the nature of farming.

One Sunday morning as this man presented his quickly composed message, he said, “Now, we’re all farmers here, and we understand…” But the fact was, we were not all farmers there, and this well-known fact drew my attention away from the point he was driving at to consider how many in his congregation he had just lost.

As I began to contemplate this, my wife leaned close to my ear and whispered, “Everything I really need to know about farming, I learned in Kindergarten; ‘E-I, E-I, O’.”

I don’t know what that has to do with anything; I just wanted to tell it to you.

Getting back to Fulghum’s book, we might wonder how such a simple thing could top the best seller list for almost two years. I mean, don’t we all have a sort of built in knowledge of fundamental right and wrong?

C.S. Lewis certainly recognized this, and in his essay “The Law of Human Nature”, he built and established a very strong and incontrovertible argument for the case.

In the middle of this short piece he says, “Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him he will be complaining ‘It’s not fair’ before you can say Jack Robinson. A nation may say treaties do not matter; but then, next minute, they spoil their case by saying that the particular treaty they want to break was an unfair one. But if treaties do not matter, and if there is no such thing as Right and Wrong – in other words, if there is no Law of Nature – what is the difference between a fair treaty and an unfair one? Have they not let the cat out of the bag and shown that, whatever they say, they really know the Law of Nature just like anyone else? “Mere Christianity” C.S. Lewis, 1943 Macmillan Pub Co, NY

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