Summary: Sermon 8 in a study in Hosea
8 How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, all My compassions are kindled. 9 I will not execute My fierce anger; I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.”
A characteristic of the prophecy of Hosea is that it can be taken as having three primary sections. I have not made reference to this before now because it is not a fact that necessarily offers a great deal of help in knowing.
I mention it here, because you may wonder why my last sermon was on chapter 8 and this one has jumped all the way to chapter 11.
Well, the sections I’ve referred to would break down like this; chapters 1-4, 5-10 and 11-14. The first four chapters focus on the marriage relationship of Hosea and Gomer and the representation of God’s relationship to His people in that troubled marriage. The next 6 deal primarily with rebellion and judgment and punishment. The last 4, from 11-14 continue to deal with judgment, but expand to demonstrate God’s love and His redemptive work.
So in the last four sermons in this series we have been in that middle section and I do not want to belabor the points we’ve made to your distraction.
A couple of years ago we went through Ephesians virtually verse by verse.
I am afraid that if I attempted to approach this book with that much detail I would soon be preaching only to my wife and daughter, and they would soon be finding excuses each Sunday morning to walk to Sonic for a strawberry limeade.
Now I am not implying here that there is nothing to preach from these chapters or that they are not important. It is my firm conviction, not that the scriptures need my defense but I give it anyway, that every paragraph, every phrase, every word of the Bible is God-breathed and profitable to the degree of indispensable for the believer’s heart and life.
In fact, I would encourage you to take the time to carefully read through chapters 9 and 10 later for your own benefit. But I want to move more generally through Hosea, gleaning food for the soul as we go, and not slow down to the point of making you feel as though we’re dragging our heels.
So let’s take a look now at the chapter of our text today and see what is revealed to us there about the great love and goodness and grace of our God, who is both just and the one who justifies.
In verse 1 of this chapter speaking through the prophet God likens Himself to a loving parent. It is a theme that is built upon over the next 4 verses with phrases like ‘…it is I who taught Ephraim to walk’, and ‘I took him in My arms’ and ‘…I bent down and fed them’.
At this point I have to back up for a moment into chapter ten, because what God says in verse 1 of chapter 11 is so much more striking in contrast.
Hear verses 14-15 of chapter 10
14 Therefore a tumult will arise among your people, and all your fortresses will be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle, when mothers were dashed in pieces with their children. 15 Thus it will be done to you at Bethel because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel will be completely cut off.
Because of their unabated wickedness God has announced the horror that is to come. He makes reference to a slaughter that must have been recent enough to them so they remembered the carnage and the reports of cruelty, and He says this is what is coming upon them for their continued sin.
And can’t you almost envision a father who is both angry and sad for the plight of his rebellious son? Declaring to him the consequences that he will surely have to suffer for his foolish actions and his unwillingness to listen to wise counsel; then sitting down with a sigh, head in hands, leaning over a table top or resting his elbows on his knees and saying more to himself than anyone, all these things that are in verses 1-4. “When my son was a youth I loved him. I brought him forth, I held his hand while he learned to walk, when he lifted his arms I picked him up, when he was hurt I bound his wounds, when he was hungry I provided his food. And now he has come to this.