Summary: Hosea the prophet foretold the doom of Israel he forth told why. The nation were unwilling to turn aside from theor ways towards destruction and turn to the One True God. find out more.
I had said at the start of my sermon series on Stewardship and Life Management that I was going to then do a series on the “wrath of God” prior to looking for a new congregation. At the time I was only really joking about the matter. By that I mean the sermon on the wrath of God.
Given that I believe God has an amazing sense of humour the next few weeks I will be talking about “the reason for God’s wrath”. There are three characteristics of God that I believe we need to understand as we encounter his disapproval and as we come under the divine judgement of God. Now this might sound a bit heavy and hell fire and brimstone’ish but it’s not and hopefully the opposite will become clear.
The series is going to be based around charges God brought against the northern kingdom of Israel through the Prophet Hosea around the middle of the eighth century B.C; so we’re going back a while.
A bit of background might be of use here. At the end of Hosea’s time as a prophet in 733 B.C Israel was devastated by Assyria, leaving only two tribal territories intact and under control of the King of Israel ‘Ephraim and western Manasseh’ and they fell between 722-721 B.C. That was the end of the northern kingdom.
If we look at Hosea 7:11-16 we read the following.
Now you could be right in thinking God is fairly strict and serious about this Ephraim crowd, and something worth remembering here is that, God had warned the Israelites a fair old number of times prior to this about their behaviour and that the consequences of this behaviour were going to hurt (repeat). Israel had previously submitted to Assyrian suzerainty, which is term that means Israel’s king was subject to the Assyrian ruler as were the rest of the Israelite nation.
Now after a while this relationship went to the pack as moneys that should have been flowing towards Assyria stopped and the Israelites sought an alliance with Egypt. This was really an international love triangle that could not end in any other way other than tears. Israel being the meat in the sandwich, it got munched! A good lesson in politics here!
Now we pick the story up at verse 11, read Israel in place of Ephraim, Like a dove easily deceived and senseless, we would say that Israel was naïve, calling this way, turning that way. God was too get involved, pulling them down, like a person catching birds in a net, ‘taking hold of the nation.’
Because they had strayed from God, because they had rebelled against God and because they spoke falsely about God! This was a nation who God had brought into being and it had turned its back on him.
When things got tough for them through their own foolishness, there was no seeking God, they slashed themselves, and appealed to other gods ‘small g’. The reason for this was because their crops had failed and they were mourning over this failure, their cutting of themselves was a sign of mourning, but this itself was forbidden by the Law of God due to its pagan background.
Also this rebellion showed Israel’s lack of respect and lack of gratitude to God. God had set them up as a nation “trained and strengthened them”; they had been a mighty nation. They had had God on their side in battle, “’I’m sure we can all remember Sunday School stories about Joshua fighting the battle of Jericho (what happened to the walls) and David making short work of that Goliath sized bloke Goliath. But now they treated God like an enemy, he had led them out of slavery and into the promised land he wanted to be their leader - but they desired a king, their kingdom was about to end because they treated God as their enemy. To the point where they plotted evil against God!
So what was going to happen? Grief huge amounts of dark miserable grief! What does verse 16 say? “Their leaders will fall by the sword because of their insolent words!” Ridiculed, laughed at, given stick, in the land of Egypt! The future did not look bright, mockery, they were about to be given tremendous amounts of jip!
1) God in this passage comes across in this passage as a ‘hard man’ a wrathful, angry God who has turned his back on his people… well he does excepting that in the passage we get a heartfelt comment from God! In five words we come to understand this part of God’s nature that trumps all of the hard man and wrathful stuff we may think about God, these five words are found in verse 13 and they are, “I longed to redeem them”, I’ll say that again, “I longed to redeem them”. God wanted to save these people from their own foolishness; he wanted to rescue them, to redeem them.