Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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ENTERED: July 01, 2015
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Scripture Passage



        Hosea - Chapter 05 (Contemporary English Version)
      1. Listen, you priests! Pay attention, Israel! Listen, you members of the royal family. Justice was your duty. But at Mizpah and Mount Tabor you trapped the people.
      2. At the place of worship you were a treacherous pit, and I will punish you.
      3. Israel, I know all about you, and because of your unfaithfulness, I find you unacceptable.
      4. Your evil deeds are the reason you won't return to me, your LORD God. And your constant craving for sex keeps you from knowing me.
      5. Israel, your pride testifies to your guilt; it makes you stumble, and Judah stumbles too.
      6. You offer sheep and cattle as sacrifices to me, but I have turned away and refuse to be found.
      7. You have been unfaithful to me, your LORD; you have had children by prostitutes. So at the New Moon Festival, you and your crops will be destroyed.
      8. Give a warning on the trumpet! Let it be heard in Gibeah, Ramah, and sinful Bethel. Benjamin, watch out!
      9. I, the LORD, will punish and wipe out Israel. This is my solemn promise to every tribe of Israel.
      10. Judah's leaders are like crooks who move boundary markers; that's why I will flood them with my anger.
      11. Israel was brutally crushed. They got what they deserved for worshiping useless idols.
      12. Now I, the LORD, will fill Israel with maggots and make Judah rot.
      13. When Israel and Judah saw their sickness and wounds, Israel asked help from Assyria and its mighty king. But the king cannot cure them or heal their wounds.
      14. So I'll become a fierce lion attacking Israel and Judah. I'll snatch and carry off what I want, and no one can stop me.
      15. Then I'll return to my temple until they confess their guilt and worship me, until they are desperate and beg for my help.

Reflections



Hosea - Chapter 05

Entered: July 01, 2015

God's indictment against Israel was not just aimed at the people. They were included, but it was quite pointedly aimed at the nation's leaders - both religious and secular. The priests and the king had been guilty of influencing the people toward idolatry. Thus the accusation, "you have been a snare at Mizpah and a net spread out on Tabor." These were two of the idolatrous worship sites. God had punishment in store for them.

The nation had gone so far into idolatry (unfaithfulness) that they could not find their way back to God if they tried. It would require some type of intervention to break them away from it allowing them an opportunity to clear their thinking from idolatry and begin, once again, to think about God. That break would be built into God's punishment for them. We are often not inclined to change our ways unless the discomfort and pain of pursuing them exceeds the discomfort and pain of changing them. This is what God's punishments are designed to do.

As the nation began to see the threat of God's punishment coming, they would make some effort to reach out to Him, but He would not be found because He had withdrawn from them. These initial efforts to reach out to Him He knew to be hypocritical and lacking in genuine loyalty to Him. They would merely be superficial efforts to turn away God's wrath.

As Gomer had pictured with her adulterous relationships, Israel had been unfaithful to God producing illegitimate children (V. 7), perhaps a reference to children resulting from idolatrous sexual acts.

Israel's punishment was announced. Raise the war cry, Israel was told, war was coming, and in its wake there would be desolation. What the Lord announces, He says, "is certain among the tribes of Israel." (V. 9) Once the destruction was complete, the Lord would "depart and return to My place until they recognize their guilt and seek My face." In their distress, they would search for Him. As their search proved to be genuine, then He would be found.



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