Judgment on Israel
Verse 1 – “Hear this, O priests! Take heed, O house of Israel! Give ear, O house of the king! For Yours is the judgment, because you have been a snare to Mizpah and a net spread on Tabor.
Mizpah and Tabor are the high places that idol worship was set up.
Verse 2 – The revolters are deeply involved in slaughter, though I rebuke them all.
Verse 3 – I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from Me; for now, O Ephraim, you commit harlotry; Israel is defiled.
Verse 4 – They do not direct their deeds toward turning their God, for the spirit of harlotry is in their midst, and they do not know the Lord.
Persistent and continual sin will harden a person’s heart. Deliberately sinning will eventually sear the conscience; each sin makes the next one easier to commit. Just like backsliding – the more one drifts away, the less they can hear God.
Verse 5 – The pride of Israel and Ephraim testifies to his face, therefore Israel and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity; Judah also stumbles with them.
Verse 6 – “With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they will not find Him; He has withdrawn Himself from them.
We can go through the motions of going to church, saying all the “churchy” things, and bringing gifts to the Lord, but unless we repent and come before Him with a humble heart, it is all useless. Some do all these things but still think they know better than God and don’t follow His teachings of treating others the way God wants us to. This was Israel.
Verse 7 – They have dealt treacherously with the Lord, for they have begotten pagan children. Now a New Moon shall devour them and their heritage.
God regarded Israel’s children as strangers, because they did not know Him. The parents hadn’t taught them anything but pagan idol worship. Rather than grateful celebrations during the New Moon, first of the month, Israel had turned these festivals into hypocritical, idolatrous drains on the economy, so in return, God would end these feasts with destruction.
This reminds me of what culture and society have turned the birth of Christ into, Christmas, and His death and resurrection, Easter. It’s all commercial, buy, buy, buy.
Verse 8 – “Blow the ram’s horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah! Cry aloud at Beth Aven, ‘Look behind you, O Benjamin!’
These cities were Israelite cities near Jerusalem. Hosea prophesied for them to sound the horn for coming judgment.
Verse 9 – Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke; among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure.
Verse 10 – The princes of Judah are like those who remove a landmark; I will pour out My wrath on them like water.
Hosea was saying that Judah was like those who move a boundary stone by cheating. This was a serious crime.
Verse 11 – Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked by human precept.
Verse 12 – Therefore I will be to Ephraim like a moth and to the house of Judah like rottenness.
Verse 13 – “When Ephraim saw his sickness and Judah saw his wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria and sent to King Jareb; yet he cannot cure you, nor heal you of your wound.
During the reigns of Menahem and Hoshea, Israel went to the Assyrians for help. God says it doesn’t matter who they went to, their judgment was determined. Hebrews 2:3 – how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him.
Plain and simple: If you reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ, there will be judgment – no escape!
Verse 14 – For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them away, and no one shall rescue.
Psalm 50:22 – “Now consider this, you who forget God, least I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver:
Verse 15 – I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; in their affliction they will diligently seek Me.”
God intended to withdraw His favor and blessings from them until they acknowledged Him. When people never acknowledge God or realize where their blessings come from, they’re on their own!