Hosea 4:1-10:15 - On Trial (Hosea 4:1-10:15)

David Heath-Whyte, 30th October 2016
Part of the Hosea - The Course of True Love series, preached at a Sunday Evening service

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Hosea 4–10:6 (Listen)

4:1   Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel,
    for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
  There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,
    and no knowledge of God in the land;
  there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
    they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
  Therefore the land mourns,
    and all who dwell in it languish,
  and also the beasts of the field
    and the birds of the heavens,
    and even the fish of the sea are taken away.
  Yet let no one contend,
    and let none accuse,
    for with you is my contention, O priest.
  You shall stumble by day;
    the prophet also shall stumble with you by night;
    and I will destroy your mother.
  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
    because you have rejected knowledge,
    I reject you from being a priest to me.
  And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
    I also will forget your children.
  The more they increased,
    the more they sinned against me;
    I will change their glory into shame.
  They feed on the sin of my people;
    they are greedy for their iniquity.
  And it shall be like people, like priest;
    I will punish them for their ways
    and repay them for their deeds.
10   They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
    they shall play the whore, but not multiply,
  because they have forsaken the LORD
    to cherish 11 whoredom, wine, and new wine,
    which take away the understanding.
12   My people inquire of a piece of wood,
    and their walking staff gives them oracles.
  For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray,
    and they have left their God to play the whore.
13   They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains
    and burn offerings on the hills,
  under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
    because their shade is good.
  Therefore your daughters play the whore,
    and your brides commit adultery.
14   I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore,
    nor your brides when they commit adultery;
  for the men themselves go aside with prostitutes
    and sacrifice with cult prostitutes,
  and a people without understanding shall come to ruin.
15   Though you play the whore, O Israel,
    let not Judah become guilty.
  Enter not into Gilgal,
    nor go up to Beth-aven,
    and swear not, “As the LORD lives.”
16   Like a stubborn heifer,
    Israel is stubborn;
  can the LORD now feed them
    like a lamb in a broad pasture?
17   Ephraim is joined to idols;
    leave him alone.
18   When their drink is gone, they give themselves to whoring;
    their rulers dearly love shame.
19   A wind has wrapped them in its wings,
    and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.

5:1   Hear this, O priests!
    Pay attention, O house of Israel!
  Give ear, O house of the king!
    For the judgment is for you;
  for you have been a snare at Mizpah
    and a net spread upon Tabor.
  And the revolters have gone deep into slaughter,
    but I will discipline all of them.
  I know Ephraim,
    and Israel is not hidden from me;
  for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore;
    Israel is defiled.
  Their deeds do not permit them
    to return to their God.
  For the spirit of whoredom is within them,
    and they know not the LORD.
  The pride of Israel testifies to his face;
    Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in his guilt;
    Judah also shall stumble with them.
  With their flocks and herds they shall go
    to seek the LORD,
  but they will not find him;
    he has withdrawn from them.
  They have dealt faithlessly with the LORD;
    for they have borne alien children.
    Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields.
  Blow the horn in Gibeah,
    the trumpet in Ramah.
  Sound the alarm at Beth-aven;
    we follow you, O Benjamin!
  Ephraim shall become a desolation
    in the day of punishment;
  among the tribes of Israel
    I make known what is sure.
10   The princes of Judah have become
    like those who move the landmark;
  upon them I will pour out
    my wrath like water.
11   Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment,
    because he was determined to go after filth.
12   But I am like a moth to Ephraim,
    and like dry rot to the house of Judah.
13   When Ephraim saw his sickness,
    and Judah his wound,
  then Ephraim went to Assyria,
    and sent to the great king.
  But he is not able to cure you
    or heal your wound.
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 and go away;
    I will carry off, and no one shall rescue.
15   I will return again to my place,
    until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face,
    and in their distress earnestly seek me.

6:1   “Come, let us return to the LORD;
    for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
    he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
  After two days he will revive us;
    on the third day he will raise us up,
    that we may live before him.
  Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD;
    his going out is sure as the dawn;
  he will come to us as the showers,
    as the spring rains that water the earth.”
  What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
    What shall I do with you, O Judah?
  Your love is like a morning cloud,
    like the dew that goes early away.
  Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets;
    I have slain them by the words of my mouth,
    and my judgment goes forth as the light.
  For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
    the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
  But like Adam they transgressed the covenant;
    there they dealt faithlessly with me.
  Gilead is a city of evildoers,
    tracked with blood.
  As robbers lie in wait for a man,
    so the priests band together;
  they murder on the way to Shechem;
    they commit villainy.
10   In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing;
    Ephraim's whoredom is there; Israel is defiled.
11   For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed.
  When I restore the fortunes of my people,
7:1   when I would heal Israel,
    the iniquity of Ephraim is revealed,
    and the evil deeds of Samaria,
  for they deal falsely;
    the thief breaks in,
    and the bandits raid outside.
  But they do not consider
    that I remember all their evil.
  Now their deeds surround them;
    they are before my face.
  By their evil they make the king glad,
    and the princes by their treachery.
  They are all adulterers;
    they are like a heated oven
  whose baker ceases to stir the fire,
    from the kneading of the dough
    until it is leavened.
  On the day of our king, the princes
    became sick with the heat of wine;
    he stretched out his hand with mockers.
  For with hearts like an oven they approach their intrigue;
    all night their anger smolders;
    in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.
  All of them are hot as an oven,
    and they devour their rulers.
  All their kings have fallen,
    and none of them calls upon me.
  Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples;
    Ephraim is a cake not turned.
  Strangers devour his strength,
    and he knows it not;
  gray hairs are sprinkled upon him,
    and he knows it not.
10   The pride of Israel testifies to his face;
    yet they do not return to the LORD their God,
    nor seek him, for all this.
11   Ephraim is like a dove,
    silly and without sense,
    calling to Egypt, going to Assyria.
12   As they go, I will spread over them my net;
    I will bring them down like birds of the heavens;
    I will discipline them according to the report made to their congregation.
13   Woe to them, for they have strayed from me!
    Destruction to them, for they have rebelled against me!
  I would redeem them,
    but they speak lies against me.
14   They do not cry to me from the heart,
    but they wail upon their beds;
  for grain and wine they gash themselves;
    they rebel against me.
15   Although I trained and strengthened their arms,
    yet they devise evil against me.
16   They return, but not upward;
    they are like a treacherous bow;
  their princes shall fall by the sword
    because of the insolence of their tongue.
  This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.

8:1   Set the trumpet to your lips!
    One like a vulture is over the house of the LORD,
  because they have transgressed my covenant
    and rebelled against my law.
  To me they cry,
    “My God, we—Israel—know you.”
  Israel has spurned the good;
    the enemy shall pursue him.
  They made kings, but not through me.
    They set up princes, but I knew it not.
  With their silver and gold they made idols
    for their own destruction.
  I have spurned your calf, O Samaria.
    My anger burns against them.
  How long will they be incapable of innocence?
  For it is from Israel;
  a craftsman made it;
    it is not God.
  The calf of Samaria
    shall be broken to pieces.
  For they sow the wind,
    and they shall reap the whirlwind.
  The standing grain has no heads;
    it shall yield no flour;
  if it were to yield,
    strangers would devour it.
  Israel is swallowed up;
    already they are among the nations
    as a useless vessel.
  For they have gone up to Assyria,
    a wild donkey wandering alone;
    Ephraim has hired lovers.
10   Though they hire allies among the nations,
    I will soon gather them up.
  And the king and princes shall soon writhe
    because of the tribute.
11   Because Ephraim has multiplied altars for sinning,
    they have become to him altars for sinning.
12   Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands,
    they would be regarded as a strange thing.
13   As for my sacrificial offerings,
    they sacrifice meat and eat it,
    but the LORD does not accept them.
  Now he will remember their iniquity
    and punish their sins;
    they shall return to Egypt.
14   For Israel has forgotten his Maker
    and built palaces,
  and Judah has multiplied fortified cities;
    so I will send a fire upon his cities,
    and it shall devour her strongholds.

9:1   Rejoice not, O Israel!
    Exult not like the peoples;
  for you have played the whore, forsaking your God.
    You have loved a prostitute's wages
    on all threshing floors.
  Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them,
    and the new wine shall fail them.
  They shall not remain in the land of the LORD,
    but Ephraim shall return to Egypt,
    and they shall eat unclean food in Assyria.
  They shall not pour drink offerings of wine to the LORD,
    and their sacrifices shall not please him.
  It shall be like mourners' bread to them;
    all who eat of it shall be defiled;
  for their bread shall be for their hunger only;
    it shall not come to the house of the LORD.
  What will you do on the day of the appointed festival,
    and on the day of the feast of the LORD?
  For behold, they are going away from destruction;
    but Egypt shall gather them;
    Memphis shall bury them.
  Nettles shall possess their precious things of silver;
    thorns shall be in their tents.
  The days of punishment have come;
    the days of recompense have come;
    Israel shall know it.
  The prophet is a fool;
    the man of the spirit is mad,
  because of your great iniquity
    and great hatred.
  The prophet is the watchman of Ephraim with my God;
  yet a fowler's snare is on all his ways,
    and hatred in the house of his God.
  They have deeply corrupted themselves
    as in the days of Gibeah:
  he will remember their iniquity;
    he will punish their sins.
10   Like grapes in the wilderness,
    I found Israel.
  Like the first fruit on the fig tree
    in its first season,
    I saw your fathers.
  But they came to Baal-peor
    and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame,
    and became detestable like the thing they loved.
11   Ephraim's glory shall fly away like a bird—
    no birth, no pregnancy, no conception!
12   Even if they bring up children,
    I will bereave them till none is left.
  Woe to them
    when I depart from them!
13   Ephraim, as I have seen, was like a young palm planted in a meadow;
    but Ephraim must lead his children out to slaughter.
14   Give them, O LORD—
    what will you give?
  Give them a miscarrying womb
    and dry breasts.
15   Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal;
    there I began to hate them.
  Because of the wickedness of their deeds
    I will drive them out of my house.
  I will love them no more;
    all their princes are rebels.
16   Ephraim is stricken;
    their root is dried up;
    they shall bear no fruit.
  Even though they give birth,
    I will put their beloved children to death.
17   My God will reject them
    because they have not listened to him;
    they shall be wanderers among the nations.
10:1   Israel is a luxuriant vine
    that yields its fruit.
  The more his fruit increased,
    the more altars he built;
  as his country improved,
    he improved his pillars.
  Their heart is false;
    now they must bear their guilt.
  The LORD will break down their altars
    and destroy their pillars.
  For now they will say:
    “We have no king,
  for we do not fear the LORD;
    and a king—what could he do for us?”
  They utter mere words;
    with empty oaths they make covenants;
  so judgment springs up like poisonous weeds
    in the furrows of the field.
  The inhabitants of Samaria tremble
    for the calf of Beth-aven.
  Its people mourn for it, and so do its idolatrous priests—
    those who rejoiced over it and over its glory—
    for it has departed from them.
  The thing itself shall be carried to Assyria
    as tribute to the great king.
  Ephraim shall be put to shame,
    and Israel shall be ashamed of his idol.

(ESV)

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