Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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Scripture Passage

      Hosea - Chapter 08 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. Sound a warning! Israel, you broke our agreement and ignored my teaching. Now an eagle is swooping down to attack my land.
    2. Israel, you say, "We claim you, the LORD, as our God."
    3. But your enemies will chase you for rejecting our good agreement.
    4. You chose kings and leaders without consulting me; you made silver and gold idols that led to your downfall.
    5. City of Samaria, I'm angry because of your idol in the shape of a calf. When will you ever be innocent again?
    6. Someone from Israel built that idol for you, but only I am God. And so it will be smashed to pieces.
    7. If you scatter wind instead of wheat, you will harvest a whirlwind and have no wheat. Even if you harvest grain, enemies will steal it all.
    8. Israel, you are ruined, and now the nations consider you worthless.
    9. You are like a wild donkey that goes its own way. You've run off to Assyria and hired them as allies.
    10. You can bargain with nations, but I'll catch you anyway. Soon you will suffer abuse by kings and rulers.
    11. Israel, you have built many altars where you offer sacrifices for sin. But these altars have become places for sin.
    12. My instructions for sacrifices were written in detail, but you ignored them.
    13. You sacrifice your best animals and eat the sacrificial meals, but I, the LORD, refuse your offerings. I will remember your sins and punish you. Then you will return to Egypt.
    14. Israel, I created you, but you forgot me. You and Judah built palaces and many strong cities. Now I will send fire to destroy your towns and fortresses.

Hosea - Chapter 08

Entered: August 23, 2009
This chapter of Hosea begins with the announcement of coming battle: "Put the horn to your mouth!"  The blowing of the trumpet announced an impending battle. God had an enemy ready to swoop down on Israel. It would attack like a powerful eagle. With the approach of danger, Israel suddenly claims God as her God: "My God, we know You!"  But God recognizes it as mere lip service.

Verses 4-7 outline the two main charges against Israel.  She had installed kings without consulting God and had made idols for worship. Her rejection of God is total. Her behavior was akin to that of a young person who leaves home and rejects his parents. He neither consults them or has contact with them. That is until he gets into trouble. Then he appears seeking their help. This was the case with Israel, and when she saw trouble coming she cried out to God. Israel clearly knew what she was doing. She knew that God was the real source of help, otherwise why would she go to Him when serious trouble appeared? She had sowed the wind. Now she must reap the whirlwind. The wind has no substance. It can't be grasped nor even controlled. What Israel had sown had no substance, no real benefit to her. It was worthless. But what she had sown was now going to return to her in abundance. She tried to be like other nations and sought their help instead of God's help. Now she would have what she wanted - she would actually be immersed in one of these other nations, living as an exile. She would be like "discarded pottery."  (verse 8) The time for correction or teaching Israel was past. Even if God were to write out for her "ten thousand points of My law, they would be regarded as something alien." Nor would it do any good for Israel to offer "sacrificial gifts" to the Lord. He would not accept them.

Though Hosea and Gomer have not been mentioned since chapter 2, we don't want to forget the imagery here of a marriage relationship that points to the meaning of this book. It is not about God's judgment. It is about Israel's unfaithfulness to the covenant relationship she had with God, as Gomer was unfaithful to the marriage relationship she had with Hosea. Israel went off to other 'lovers' and was unfaithful to God, so her 'judgment' was to give her what she wanted. She would be at the mercy of the nations to whom she went for help and of the other gods to whom she offered sacrifices.

Entered: July 07, 2015

It was time to sound the warning. Destruction was coming - swift and powerful as an eagle. Why? Because Israel had transgressed against God's covenant. She no longer inquired of God, but had rejected what was good. She had appointed leaders without consulting God. Leaders who built idols for themselves.

Representative of the idolatry brought on by Israel's kings, was the calf-idol. How absurd that they bowed down to this object that was made by an Israelite craftsman as if it were God. And how offensive to God who had rescued Israel from Egypt, given her a land of her own, and prospered her above the other nations. But now that they rebelled against God the other nations, to whom Israel turned for help in stead of the Lord, would drain her of her prosperity. God was going to bring Israel to her knees, destroying her crops through whatever means he chose. Whether through natural calamities or through foreign armies.

Israel had turned away from God's laws so completely that they were regarded as something alien. If they were even now to offer sacrifices to the Lord, He would not accept them. Israel would be returning to Egypt. Here temporary subservient relationship to Egypt would be a reminder of where she had come from and where she had now returned.