Sunday, February 28, 2016

Hosea Session 9 - God Tells One of His Prophets to Marry a Prostitute

The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is studying the book of Hosea. Israel's unfaithfulness to the Lord is depicted by Hosea in terms of a wife who has turned her back upon a faithful husband in order to follow evil lovers. These posts are my notes for each session. Please study with us. You can participate by asking your questions or making comments below. We welcome your thoughts, questions, comments, and prayers.


Last week in chapters 10 and the first part of 11.
Hosea predicted in that Israel would be taken into exile in Assyria.  They would see their precious idols destroyed and even taken as spoils of war to Assyria.  

Hosea 10:3-8 (KJV)3  For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us?4  They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field.5  The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Bethaven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it.6  It shall be also carried unto Assyria for a present to king Jareb: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel.7  As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water.8  The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.
Hosea 10:13-15 (HCSB)13  You have plowed wickedness and reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way and in your large number of soldiers,14  the roar of battle will rise against your people, and all your fortifications will be demolished in a day of war, like Shalman’s destruction of Beth-arbel. Mothers will be dashed to pieces along with ⌊their⌋ children.15  So it will be done to you, Bethel, because of your extreme evil. At dawn the king of Israel will be totally destroyed.
But because of the way they lived,  Israel had sown the seed of sin, and they would soon reap judgment from God.
This is the essence of all sin. We trust in our own way instead of in God's way. Ruin always comes when we trust in our own way instead of God's way, and that ruin was about to come upon Israel.
In chapter 11 we read that although God was going to judge Israel by sending them into exile He still loved them.  

He recalled how God and delivered them from Egypt and actually made them into a nation.

Hosea 11:1-4 (HCSB)1  When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.2  ⌊The more⌋ they called them, ⌊the more⌋ they departed from Me. They kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols.3  It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them in My arms, but they never knew that I healed them.4  I led them with human cords, with ropes of love. To them I was like one who eases the yoke from their jaws; I bent down to give them food.
God does so much for His people that they are unaware of. Often we attribute some blessing directly from the hand of God to some other source; our own intellect, luck, being in the right place at the right time, etc.
Yet God still had sympathy in the midst of chastening.
Hosea 11:8-9 (HCSB)8  How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I surrender you, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? I have had a change of heart; My compassion is stirred!9  I will not vent the full fury of My anger; I will not turn back to destroy Ephraim. For I am God and not man, the Holy One among you; I will not come in rage.
The long suffering, forgiveness, and compassion of the Lord toward His people seems unbelievable until we recognize that He's Not man, but God. There are many differences between God and man in the matter of forgiveness.
God promised to ultimately restore Israel, as we have read throughout the book.
Hosea 11:10-11 (HCSB)10  They will follow the LORD; He will roar like a lion. When He roars, His children will come trembling from the west.11  They will be roused like birds from Egypt and like doves from the land of Assyria. Then I will settle them in their homes. ⌊This is⌋ the LORD’s declaration.
The Lord is likened to a lion who roars to summon its young. At the sound of his roar they would come from the west (Egypt,) and the east (Assyria). The children shall tremble implies the thrill of eagerness rather than of fear. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
Verse 12 really goes with chapter 12 because it starts a new thought.
Hosea 11:12-12-1  (HCSB)12   Ephraim surrounds me with lies, the house of Israel, with deceit. Judah still wanders with God and is faithful to the holy ones. 1  Ephraim chases the wind and pursues the east wind. He continually multiplies lies and violence. He makes a covenant with Assyria, and olive oil is carried to Egypt.
God makes these promises in chapter 11 knowing the present state of Israel. Though Judah is in a better place than Israel, God still makes the promises with full knowledge of their present state.

The words, starting with verse 1 of chapter 12, depict the futility of running for help to Assyria and Egypt. The east wind was, and still is, in all countries, a parching, wasting, injurious wind." It was not only vain to look to the east (Assyria) for help, but also dangerous, for destruction would come from that direction. Israel's foreign policy was such that she could make a covenant with the Assyrians while at the same time export olive oil to Assyria's rival, Egypt.. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

Instead of trusting in the LORD, Israel trusted in deals and payoffs to the surrounding superpowers. It was foolish for them to think that Assyria or Egypt was more powerful or dependable than the LORD was.

Ancient Jacob is an example of Israel's present deceit.

The rest of chapter 12 compares what’s happening at the time of Hosea to their history as descendants of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel,  from whose 12 sons the 12 tribes came 10 of which were now Israel
What aspects of Jacob's up-and-down career are mentioned in chapter 12?

Jacob's life is related in detail in Genesis 25-49. The account of his birth; his struggle with the angel of the Lord; his vision at Bethel is in Genesis 28:10-22; and his service for a wife is in Genesis 29.

Since the historical Jacob was long dead, why do you think certain events from his life are told here?

In certain ways the people of Israel, Jacob's descendants, were repeating Jacob's personal history, fluctuating between devotion and deviousness.
Hosea 12:2-6 (HCSB)2  The LORD also has a dispute with Judah. He is about to punish Jacob according to his ways; He will repay him based on his actions.3  In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel, and as an adult he wrestled with God.4  Jacob struggled with the Angel and prevailed; he wept and sought His favor. He found him at Bethel, and there He spoke with him.5  Yahweh is the God of Hosts; Yahweh is His name.6  But you must return to your God. Maintain love and justice, and always put your hope in God.

Here, God looks back at the patriarch Jacob and how Israel in Hosea's day was just like their forefather Jacob in the days of Genesis. In ancient Israel, a "heel-catcher" was a double-dealer, someone who achieved their goals through crafty and dishonest means. Through Hosea, God says, "That was Jacob then and it is Israel now."
"'To grasp the heel' also meant to go behind one's back in order to deceive or trick him, and this became the dominant characteristic of the man." (Boice)
(Genesis 25:21-26 (HCSB)21  Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife because she was childless. The LORD heard his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived.22  But the children inside her struggled with each other, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the LORD.23  And the LORD said to her: Two nations are in your womb; two people will ⌊come⌋ from you and be separated. One people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.24  When her time came to give birth, there were indeed twins in her womb.25  The first one came out red-looking, covered with hair like a fur coat, and they named him Esau.26  After this, his brother came out grasping Esau’s heel with his hand. So he was named Jacob. Isaac was 60 years old when they were born.)

The prophet recalls the struggle between Jacob and the Man of Genesis 32:24-30. Jacob refused to submit to God, so God demanded submission from him in a literal wrestling match.

Genesis 32:24-32 (HCSB)24  Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.25  When the man saw that He could not defeat him, He struck Jacob’s hip socket as they wrestled and dislocated his hip.26  Then He said to Jacob, “Let Me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me.”27  “What is your name?” the man asked. “Jacob,” he replied.28  “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” He said. “It will be Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.”29  Then Jacob asked Him, “Please tell me Your name.” But He answered, “Why do you ask My name?” And He blessed him there.30  Jacob then named the place Peniel, “For I have seen God face to face,” ⌊he said,⌋ “and I have been delivered.”31  The sun shone on him as he passed by Penuel—limping because of his hip.32  That is why, to this day, the Israelites don’t eat the thigh muscle that is at the hip socket: because He struck Jacob’s hip socket at the thigh muscle.

First, he tells us that Jacob prevailed in the wrestling match. Second, he tells us that Jacob wept in the struggle.
How can it be said that Jacob prevailed? He prevailed in the only way anyone can when they struggle against God. We prevail when we lose and know it, surrendering to God.
Jacob came to realize his own weakness and the superiority of the mighty One who had touched him. At the moment of yielding, he became a new man, who could receive the blessings of God and assume his place in God's plan. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
Why is it important to know that Jacob wept? Because it helps us understand how desperate and broken he was as he hung on the LORD, now pleading only for a blessing.
Jacob came to the place where he knew God had beaten him, and all he could do was hang on to God and plead for a blessing. So you speaks to Israel, saying they should return to God the same way.
Genesis 28:10-22 (HCSB)10  Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran.11  He reached a certain place and spent the night there because the sun had set. He took one of the stones from the place, put it there at his head, and lay down in that place.12  And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground with its top reaching heaven, and God’s angels were going up and down on it.13  Yahweh was standing there beside him, saying, “I am Yahweh, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your offspring the land that you are now sleeping on.14  Your offspring will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out toward the west, the east, the north, and the south. All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.15  Look, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. I will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”16  When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.”17  He was afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! This is none other than the house of God. This is the gate of heaven.”18  Early in the morning Jacob took the stone that was near his head and set it up as a marker. He poured oil on top of it19  and named the place Bethel, though previously the city was named Luz.20  Then Jacob made a vow: “If God will be with me and watch over me on this journey, if He provides me with food to eat and clothing to wear,21  and if I return safely to my father’s house, then the LORD will be my God.22  This stone that I have set up as a marker will be God’s house, and I will give to You a tenth of all that You give me.”

In saying "But you must return to your God" Hosea reminds us that we can never even return to the LORD without His help. This shows how weak we are and how much we really depend on Him.

Judgment promised against a confident Israel.

Hosea 12:7-11 (HCSB)7  A merchant loves to extort with dishonest scales in his hands.
8  But Ephraim says: “How rich I have become; I made it all myself. In all my earnings, no one can find any crime in me that I can be punished for!”9  I have been Yahweh your God ever since the land of Egypt. I will make you live in tents again, as in the festival days.10  I spoke through the prophets and granted many visions; I gave parables through the prophets.11  Since Gilead is full of evil, they will certainly come to nothing. They sacrifice bulls in Gilgal; even their altars will be like heaps of rocks on the furrows of a field.

What was Israel boasting about, and why was that boasting self-deceptive?

Hosea prophesied during a time of great prosperity, but spiritual and moral decadence in Israel. When things are good financially, it's hard for people to believe that their society is in trouble

Though Israel enjoyed financial prosperity and fine homes, God's judgment would bring them into exile and humble tents again. This judgment is certain because God has spoken by the prophets, yet they did not listen.

God, however, reminded her of the events of the Exodus, the period during which the tribes dwelt in tents. In her subsequent history the Feast of the Tabernacles, for which festival the Israelites erected booths to commemorate their earlier tent life, had become a joyous celebration. The prophet warned, however, that God would make his people again to dwell in tabernacles (tents), and that this would mean that their cities would be destroyed and life violently altered. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

Leviticus 23:39-43 (HCSB)39  “You are to celebrate the LORD’s festival on the fifteenth day of the seventh month for seven days after you have gathered the produce of the land. There will be complete rest on the first day and complete rest on the eighth day.40  On the first day you are to take the product of majestic trees—palm fronds, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook—and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.41  You are to celebrate it as a festival to the LORD seven days each year. This is a permanent statute for you throughout your generations; you must celebrate it in the seventh month.42  You are to live in booths for seven days. All the native-born of Israel must live in booths,43  so that your generations may know that I made the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am Yahweh your God.”

Reproach will return upon Ephraim.

Hosea 12:12-14 (HCSB)12  Jacob fled to the land of Aram. Israel worked to earn a wife; he tended flocks for a wife.13  The LORD brought Israel from Egypt by a prophet, and Israel was tended by a prophet.14  Ephraim has provoked bitter anger, so his Lord will leave his bloodguilt on him and repay him for his contempt.

The previous passage brought up the impending exile of Israel, and now Hosea makes a connection between the coming exile of Israel and the "exile" of Jacob when he fled from Esau to his uncle Laban in Syria.

Genesis 28:2, 5 (HCSB)2  Go at once to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel, your mother’s father. Marry one of the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. 5  So Isaac sent Jacob to Paddan-aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.

Though God sent prophets to Israel, they still rejected His word. They provoked Him to anger most bitterly, so God will leave them in their guilt, and return the reproach of Egypt's slavery upon them.

We read that Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife. Jacob-Israel had labored in the house of Laban to secure for himself a wife. Through all those years God cared for Jacob, and ultimately brought him back to Canaan. This fact would offer a glimmer of hope to the nation which was to go into captivity to Assyria. God had brought the earlier Israel (Jacob) Again, after a time in a distant land, by a prophet (Moses) the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt. The God who raised up Moses to be the leader of the Exodus, could raise up yet other prophets during the captivity to bring his people back to their homeland. Through persistent sin, Ephraim provoked (God) to anger. The result is that He would leave his blood upon him. Ephraim-Israel would bear the consequences of his guilt. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

Next Week Chapters 13 and 14

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