Summary: Israel rejects God, but in His love He still pleads with them to return by asking them to turn from their own ways as Jacob did at the brook Jabbok
Today we will focus on the tragedy of rejecting God’s love. The Israelites of Hosea’s day rejected God’s love by turning to idolatry and attributing the blessings God had given them to the fertility gods.
I/ ISRAEL REJECTS GOD
Hosea 12:1 Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt.
"Israel (Ephraim) feedeth on the wind"
How much nourishment is there in the wind. This reminds me of someone who is willing to listen to empty promises. Something like listening to a politician, a bunch of "hot air".
In this case Israel was listening to the lies and fabrications of the Assyrians. In Prov 15:14 it says; The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.
Next, the Lord says that Israel followeth after the east wind What is meant by the east wind ? In Jer 18:17 the Lord said: I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will show them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity. This verse seems to say that the east wind is variable, not steady, as a west wind. So we are to see that Israel was not steady, that Israel was variable as an east wind, not knowing where she was going.
Even worse, verse 1 says that "Israel daily increaseth lies and desolation" To see what God thinks about lying let’s look at Psa 101:7 where it says; He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
Desolation, means to make waste, Israel was by her sin making waste to all that was good.
Family’s were being broken up, marriages broken and destroyed, and all for the sake of the worship of the fertility god Baal.
Finally to make things worse Israel was now rejecting God and making covenant’s with the Assyrians.
The people of Israel "rejected" God, it is actually what rejection is, to leave, it is throwing away, it is pushing aside, it is having nothing to do with someone, you turn your back, you ignore.
God is angry that they do not "recognize" Him any more, recognize means that they no longer wanted to "know" Him, rejection!!.
It is so ironical, that in the rejection of the true God, Israel reached out to another god, the false god Baal, who had done nothing for them.
Turning to Judah in the south in verse 2, the Lord reminds Judah of the lesson God taught Jacob.
II A LESSION FROM JACOB FOR JUDAH
Hosea 12:2-5 The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him. He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us; Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial.
The story of Jacob highlighted in this narrative is detailed in Genesis 25-36. Hosea uses it to communicate what the Lord wants to see happen to the nation that he loves so greatly.
The first phrase in verse 3 recalls that from the moment of birth and into manhood, Jacob had been a conniver and a deceiver: "In the womb he took his brother by the heel...."
Even before he came out of his mother Rebekah’s womb, he tried to cheat his twin brother Esau; he was born with his hand clutching Esau’s heel.
Remember Jacob stealing his brother’s birthright after they were grown, and then manipulating his father Isaac to give him the blessing of the first-born. Understandably, there was terrible conflict between the two brothers as a result. Jacob, fearing for his life, left home and ran for Aram to live with his uncle.
He offered to work seven years for Rachel’s hand in marriage, and Laban agreed to that, but he had a trick up his sleeve. When the seven years were up, Jacob asked for his beloved Rachel, and Laban gave a wedding feast. But then late at night Laban sent his older daughter Leah instead of Rachel into Jacob’s tent as his wife. Jacob must have had more than enough to drink at that wedding feast, because he didn’t even know until morning that it was Leah and not Rachel with whom he had consummated his marriage.
Laban had outmaneuvered Jacob the manipulator, and he persuaded Jacob to work another week to marry Rachel. But then Jacob had to stay seven more years beyond that to keep her, and somehow Laban convinced him to work another six years beyond that. He ended up spending twenty years in Aram achieving much evidence of physical blessing in his life.