Israel’s Continuing sin
Verse 1 – “Ephraim feeds on the wind, and pursues the east wind; he daily increases lies and desolation. Also they make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried to Egypt.
You can’t grasp or hold onto the wind, so by Israel going from Assyria back to Egypt to help them, it amounted to nothing.
Verse 2 – “The Lord also brings a charge against Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his deeds He will recompense him.
Verse 3 – He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and in strength he struggled with God.
Verse 4 – Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed; he wept and sought favor from Him. He found Him in Bethel, and there He spoke to us –
Verse 5 – That is , the Lord God of hosts. The Lord is His memorial.
Hosea rebukes Israel by pointing out that although their namesake Jacob had once been faithless, self-centered and conniving, he met God first at Bethel and was later changed in the encounter at the Jabbok River. The people of Israel, on the other hand, met Baal at Bethel and , in effect, died.
Verse 6 – So you, by the help of your God, return; observe mercy and justice, and wait on your God continually.
There are two principles that Hosea called the nation to live by, love and justice, which Israel wasn’t doing. Some people are loving to the point that they excuse wrongdoing. Others execute justice, but forget love and compassion. Love without justice leaves people in their sin. Justice without love because it has no heart, turn people away from God. There has to be an equal balance.
Verse 7 – “A cunning Canaanite! Deceitful scales are in his hands; he loves to oppress.
Verse 8 – And Ephraim said, ‘Surely I have become rich, I have found wealth for myself; in all my labors they shall find in me no iniquity that is sin.’
In Israel, dishonesty had become a means to gain wealth. Because God had allowed it for a time, they didn’t think they had committed any sin. They thought their wealth was a sign of God’s approval.
Oh, how wrong they were. People think because the consequences of their sin are not immediate, that God must approve. Take any sin, for instance; lying, cheating, deceiving, and even murder. There is always a price to pay, especially once you know the truth and continue to do what’s wrong. Israel ended up paying the ultimate price.
Verse 9 – “But I am the Lord your God, ever since the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of appointed feasts.
God reminded them of their Feast of Tabernacles, which was a celebration of God’s protection and provision in the wilderness for 40 years where they would live in tents during this time. Now He’s telling them, they would live in tents again only this time under bondage.
Verse 10 – I have also spoken by the prophets, and have multiplied visions; I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets.”
Verse 11 – Though Gilead has idols – surely they are vanity – though they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal, indeed their altars shall be heaps in the furrows of the field.
Verse 12 – Jacob fled to the country of Syria; Israel served for a spouse, and for a wife he tended sheep.
In other words: “Don’t forget your humble beginnings. What you have is not the result of your own efforts, but is yours because God has been gracious to you.”
Verse 13 – By a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet he has preserved.
Verse 14 – Ephraim provoked Him to anger most bitterly; therefore his Lord will leave on him his bloodguilt, and return his reproach upon him.
In the same way that Moses, Gods prophet, brought the Israelites out of bondage and looked after them and they rebelled, the Israelites had abandon God for pagan idols. Their worship of Baal is called “bloodguilt” or murder.
God still speaks today, through pastors, prophets, an leaders, and His holy Word, trying to get people to see the truth. He even uses people who have no title other that “Christian,” to tell people there is a God who loves them and wants a relationship with them!