Summary: A study in the book of Hosea 8: 1 – 14
Hosea 8: 1 – 14
Rejecting the good
1 “Set the trumpet to your mouth! He shall come like an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed My covenant and rebelled against My law. 2 Israel will cry to Me, ‘My God, we know You!’ 3 Israel has rejected the good; The enemy will pursue him. 4 “They set up kings, but not by Me; They made princes, but I did not acknowledge them. From their silver and gold they made idols for themselves—That they might be cut off. 5 Your calf is rejected, O Samaria! My anger is aroused against them—How long until they attain to innocence? 6 For from Israel is even this: A workman made it, and it is not God; But the calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces. 7 “They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no bud; It shall never produce meal. If it should produce, Aliens would swallow it up. 8 Israel is swallowed up; Now they are among the Gentiles like a vessel in which is no pleasure. 9 For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey alone by itself; Ephraim has hired lovers. 10 Yes, though they have hired among the nations, now I will gather them; And they shall sorrow a little, because of the burden of the king of princes. 11 “Because Ephraim has made many altars for sin, they have become for him altars for sinning. 12 I have written for him the great things of My law, but they were considered a strange thing. 13 For the sacrifices of My offerings they sacrifice flesh and eat it, but the LORD does not accept them. Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins. They shall return to Egypt. 14 “For Israel has forgotten his Maker and has built temples; Judah also has multiplied fortified cities; But I will send fire upon his cities, and it shall devour his palaces.”
The prophet Hosea lived in the tragic final days of the northern kingdom of Israel, during which six kings (following Jeroboam II) reigned within 25 years. Four of those kings were murdered by their successors while in office; one king, Hoshea, was captured in battle. Only one king: Menahem, was succeeded on the throne by his son. These kings floated away "like a twig on the surface of the waters" (Hosea 10:7). Bloodshed followed bloodshed, and threats from the Assyrian enemies grew more and more violent.
But for our learning is if the political and physical condition of the northern kingdom was in poor condition, the spiritual condition of God's people was far worse! Hosea saw, as the word of the Lord had declared, that Israel's basic problem was their failure to acknowledge God.
God's relation to Israel was that of love. The intimacy of the covenant relationship between God and Israel; illustrated in the first part of this book by the husband-wife relationship, is later amplified by the father-child relationship. Yet with all the love that God had displayed to His people, they grew disloyal and wound up committing spiritual adultery.
As we single out our key verse as Hosea said, "Israel had "rejected the good" (verse 3). In this text, the Hebrew word for "good" has reference to the influence of God in the lives of His people. It has reference to the idea of God's will over them; the idea that God would be directing and guiding them.
Israel had cast off this goodness because they refused to have a true knowledge of God in their mind any more. Earlier in his book, as Hosea was speaking concerning why it is that the people of God were going to be destroyed, he wrote, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children" (Hosea 4:6).
How does Hosea's world compare to our world? Unfortunately, the people of today continue to "cast off the good." Just like Israel, many will reject the influence of God; they don't want to know God.
In the Roman letter, the apostle Paul often speaks about His obligation to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And there is a very important reason why Paul has this obligation. It is because the Gospel of Christ is the only power that can save anyone. It is the only way that anyone can now come to know God – that is, through the good news of His son. The Scriptures make it abundantly clear: there is not any way to save a man, except by teaching him the truth. Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Make you free from what? If you study the context of that passage, Jesus is saying that His truth will set you free from serving sin. His truth provides the way to save your soul!