Summary: The Gospel According to Hosea Hosea on the Human Condition, part 10
The Gospel According to Hosea
Hosea on the Human Condition, part 10
Hosea chapter 9
We are in the midst of our summer series, The Gospel According to Hosea, looking at God's faithful love toward an unfaithful people. If you remember, the first three chapters set the stage for why we see God responding the way he does to Israel's unfaithfulness. In those chapters God tells Hosea to marry Gomer, who is repeatedly unfaithful, which is a picture of God's relationship to Israel. God is a faithful and loving husband who has been tossed aside by his unfaithful wife, Israel. This week in chapter nine we look at “Hosea on the Human Condition,” looking at the human condition apart from the intervention of grace in our lives.
1. Humanity is Bent Toward Idolatry (vs. 1-6)
Hosea tells Israel to rejoice not. It appears that this was during a fall festival in which they were celebrating Baal's provision of the harvest. His assessment is that they have played the whore, looking to Baal, a Canaanite fertility god, to bless their harvest and then giving him the credit. It is offensive to God to give credit to someone or something else for providing what only he can provide. God is the Lord of the harvest, not Baal. Remember idolatry is not so much worshiping a totem pole as it is the heart trusting in something other than God to meet your needs. You can usually tell the idols in your life by looking at the way you spend your time thinking about, what you spend your time doing, where you spend your money, and what you desire in your free time. As a result of Israel's whoredom they lose their inheritance, the land God had promised them and return to Egypt. Remember that God miraculously delivered Israel from slavery to Egypt in the Exodus so going back to Egypt is going back to slavery, a picture of their spiritual bondage to sin. Idolatry left unchecked always leads to bondage.
2. Humanity Has Lost Spiritual Discernment (vs.7-9)
Israel's sin has so polluted them that they lost any ability to discern truth, calling the prophet Hosea, a fool and a mad man. The Old Testament prophets spoke the word of God to the people of God to implore them to return to faithfulness of God. They were like watchmen on the city walls who would warn the people of danger. Yet when they came, most were rejected and killed because most of the nation were offended by the message. If you are offended by a preacher do not assume that they have said or done something wrong but it may just be that your heart does not like what you are hearing. Humanity outside of the intervention of grace is deeply corrupted. We are not morally good, not even morally neutral, we are sinners who are deeply rebellious against God. We are rebels with weapons seeking to kill God. Most of us would admit we are not perfect, even sinners, but not enemies of God! Yet the apostle Paul describes the human condition as being dead in sin. By nature, we are bent towards unbelief, evil, and everything that opposes God. So by necessity we choose that which is consistent with our nature. Yet we do it freely and gladly. As a result we have also lost all spiritual discernment so that we do not and cannot understand the truth. This was Israels condition and this is our condition outside of the intervention of grace in our lives. Even as Christ followers, we still need grace to see and understand truth and obey the truth.
3. Humanity Is in Desperate Need of Grace (vs. 15-17)
In these last few verses Hosea describes God rejecting this generation for their complete disregard for his covenantal love and grace. They are rejected, hated, and become wanderers among the nations. Yet as we have seen God's promises have not failed and he established a New Covenant with his people forming the church, the new people of God. But the New Testament reinterprets and expands this promise to include not just believing Jews but also believing Gentiles, fulfilling and superseding Israel as the new people of God. What the Old Testament prophets glimpsed dimly, the New Testament grasped clearly. The church, made up of 'spiritual Israel' or believing Jews and believing Gentiles, have received the Old Testament promises of a new heart which is result of the intervention of God's grace. If you are here today and recognize your sinfulness and need for grace put your faith in Christ. If you are here today and have already come to faith in Christ and are walking with Christ, and are struggling with idolatry or need spiritual discernment, turn to Christ today for grace.