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Bible: What Does Hosea 5-8 Teach Us About Disobedience and Repentance?

Updated on September 20, 2016

Idolatry and Apostasy

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The Northern Kingdom


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Apostasy Brings Judgment

Because three groups of Israelites (priests, the house of Israel, and the house of the king) have caused others to sin, Yahweh warns that judgment awaits them (v. 1).

Knowing that their deeds displease the LORD does not motivate them to repent, however (v. 2); Israel's spiritual departure has thoroughly defiled her (v. 3).

The people have no intention of turning to God; as unbelievers, they set their heart on idols (v. 4).

Pride causes Israel to fall, and her sin brings Judah down with her (v. 5).

Even as they seek to sacrifice (?) to Him, God turns His back, for He sees their supposed worship as treacherous (vv. 6-7).

Conquerors will make Ephraim (the northern kingdom) desolate; horns and trumpets blowing and loud cries of warning signal their invasion (vv. 8-9).

Yahweh then alternates words of judgment against Judah and Israel (vv. 10-14).

Wrath alights upon the "princes of Judah" for being like thieves (v. 10); meanwhile, Ephraim lays a wasteland because he lived by the dictates of a worldly philosophy (v. 11).

Likening Himself to a moth and to rottenness, God promises to consume them all (v. 12).

Both Judah and Israel seek man's help in Assyria, but Yahweh will tear them into shreds (vv. 13-14).

He will separate Himself from them until they confess their sin and seek Him in their distress (v. 15).

Obey the Word of the LORD

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God Desires Obedience More Than Sacrifice

Hosea 6

Hosea exhorts his audience to repent, so that Yahweh might restore them to spiritual health after He has chastened them.

Part of that repentance involves a diligent search to know Him; once they have obeyed, the LORD will bless them (vv. 1-3).

God laments the fleeting faithfulness of His people, and rebukes them through His prophets (vv. 4-5).

He desires inward spirituality (righteousness) as well as ("more than") outward conformity to religious rituals (v. 6; cf. Mt. 9:13; 12:7).

Instead of giving heart obedience to God's holy law, however, Israel rebels against it and breaks the covenant, defiling herself with murder and harlotry (vv. 7-10).

Judah will not escape "harvesting" either (v. 11).

Spiritual Adultery

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Divine Comparisons


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Spiritual Adultery Leads to Severe Chastening

Hosea 7

Readying Himself to restore Israel, Yahweh must postpone fulfilling this desire, for His people fall again into fraud (v. 1).

He knows perfectly their carelessness about this sin and its results (v. 2).

However, they seem too preoccupied with pleasing the wicked to be concerned about God's interests (v. 3).

The LORD calls them all adulterers, and then compares their behavior to the actions of a baker in the process of preparing bread.

(That is, Israel is "hot" enough; she does not need any more stirring up) [v. 4].

Meanwhile, the princes induce their king to become drunk and join with infidels (v. 5).

[Is this king Jeroboam?]

Their hearts, hot with infidelity, refuse to turn to God (vv. 6-7).

To explain Ephraim's downfall, God compares the people to "a cake unturned" (v. 8).

They are "half-fried" and "not cooked thoroughly" because they have not separated themselves from the nations.

Ephraim's strength and youth have dissipated, but the nation does not know why; pride still prevents genuine repentance (vv. 9-10).

Yahweh also compares them to an irrational bird ("a silly dove, without sense''), flitting to nations which have nothing good to offer (v. 11).

God promises to chastise them with severity for their wanderings (v. 12).

Woe and destruction will fall upon them for their flight, transgression, lying, forgetting of God, rebellion, evil, deceit, and cursings.

God disciplines Ephraim, but the latter still disregards their whipping; it succeeds only in turning them more against the LORD.

In the end, the princes of Ephraim will perish by the sword, and Egypt will deride the nation (vv. 13-16).

Idolatry

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Metaphor for the Place of Slavery


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Idolatry Leads to Enslavement

Hosea 8

Israel's sin against God's law precipitates an emergency ("set the shophar to your mouth") [v. 1].

Although they now cry to Yahweh, they will not receive any protection against the one coming "like an eagle'' to destroy the temple, against the one who will pursue Israel (vv. 1-3).

The people no longer seek God before choosing their leadership; in addition, they construct idols of precious metals, thereby arousing Yahweh's anger and ensuring His punitive action against them (vv. 4-6).

Ephraim's past deeds of unfaithfulness produce even greater futility.

Any "fruit" that the nation bears will end up in the "bellies'' of aliens (v. 7).

Now living among the Gentiles (that is, Assyria), Ephraim merely exists, isolated and without identity (vv. 8-9).

Nevertheless, Yahweh promises to gather them together amid the oppression of the foreign king (v. 10).

Instead of paying heed to "the great things of My law," Israel transgresses through many "altars for sinning'' (vv. 11-12).

Consequently, Yahweh no longer accepts the sacrifices of those who forget their Maker; He will punish them with enslavement.

[Egypt appears to be a metaphor for the place of slavery (vv. 13-14a)].

Not trusting God always meets with divine disapproval and judgment (v. 14b).

© 2014 glynch1

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