The Lord’s Relentless Judgment on Israel
13 When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling;
he was exalted in Israel,
but he incurred guilt through Baal and died.
And now they sin more and more,
and make for themselves metal images,
idols skillfully made of their silver,
all of them the work of craftsmen.
It is said of them,
“Those who offer human sacrifice kiss calves!”
Therefore they shall be like the morning mist
or like the dew that goes early away,
like the chaff that swirls from the threshing floor
or like smoke from a window.
But I am the LORD your God
from the land of Egypt;
you know no God but me,
and besides me there is no savior.
It was I who knew you in the wilderness,
in the land of drought;
but when they had grazed, they became full,
they were filled, and their heart was lifted up;
therefore they forgot me.
So I am to them like a lion;
like a leopard I will lurk beside the way.
I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs;
I will tear open their breast,
and there I will devour them like a lion,
as a wild beast would rip them open.
He destroys you, O Israel,
for you are against me, against your helper.
Where now is your king, to save you in all your cities?
Where are all your rulers—
those of whom you said,
“Give me a king and princes”?
I gave you a king in my anger,
and I took him away in my wrath.
The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up;
his sin is kept in store.
The pangs of childbirth come for him,
but he is an unwise son,
for at the right time he does not present himself
at the opening of the womb.
I shall ransom them from the power of Sheol;
I shall redeem them from Death.
O Death, where are your plagues?
O Sheol, where is your sting?
Compassion is hidden from my eyes.
Though he may flourish among his brothers,
the east wind, the wind of the LORD, shall come,
rising from the wilderness,
and his fountain shall dry up;
his spring shall be parched;
it shall strip his treasury
of every precious thing.
Samaria shall bear her guilt,
because she has rebelled against her God;
they shall fall by the sword;
their little ones shall be dashed in pieces,
and their pregnant women ripped open.
Hosea 13 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Self-sufficiency is an insidious attitude that works its way into a Believer’s heart. As we’re told that only ‘we can make something happen”, we are the ‘masters of our destiny’ this mindset goes completely contrary to the life of faith of which God calls us to. We become self-reliant, self-absorbed and choose over and over again to rest in our own strength rather than lean upon God. When you pause and even consider this aspect, this is what God wants. He longs for us to be so reliant on Him for all we’re dealing with, all that we’re going through, the decisions we make.
I used to make yearly trips to Guatemala and Honduras. The teams I would lead would find us in the jungles of Central America building one-room houses; we fed the poor in the city dump, washed hair for lice and ran medical clinics, and even led Bible School. One thing among so many that stands out in my recollection of all those years of traveling – the people worshipped God like I’ve hardly encountered here on these shores. Sheer physical poverty drove them to richness in their faith. These people had nothing. They didn’t know where their next meal was coming from. They wore the same stained clothes, had shoes with holes. But when we gathered for sometimes every other night of services, they worshiped with all their hearts. It was the most beautiful experience hearing them sing and shout in praise to the God they trusted. Through tears of joy, these people would raise their hands and weep as they had nothing but God to rely on. These observations always left an impact on the entire team and were talked about for days and weeks after.
When we have an abundant amount of possessions and things, we grow self-sufficient. We suddenly aren’t talking to God as much or relying on Him because there’s well, no struggle. And this is the case that happened to the people of Israel. They became so stable in the physical realm of the world, they turned their backs on their Creator who had led them faithfully from Egypt. Self-sufficiency is destructive as it was then as it is today.
“Yet I have been the Lord your God since the land of Egypt; And you were not to know any god except Me, for there is no savior besides Me. 5 I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of drought. 6 As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, and being satisfied, their heart became proud; Therefore they forgot Me.” – Hosea 13:4-6
Where is your constant need today on the Presence of God in your life? How much are you relying on Him, talking to Him about every single decision you make? If the path you’re on currently is nothing but smooth and no glitches, beware of the mindset in forgetting who gave this to you to begin with. God’s warning came to the people of Israel which went unheeded. Through His discipline, they would find everything they held to as the band Kansas sang, “Dust in the Wind”. His love for us is the same. And He will allow circumstances to come at the most surprising and unexpected moments, where our self-sufficiency will be dashed to the rocks and what we’ve built our lives upon tumbling in the sand of our foundation.
Hosea 13 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Chapter 13 of Hosea brings much of the same for the people of Israel. How bad has it gotten? They are in the business of sacrificing babies to their false gods. And let’s just be honest… we would be furious as well. God’s response is hard to read and process but it is just.
But I am the LORD your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior.Hosea 13:4 ESV
Consider, the gods that were being worshiped by Israel were nothing close to the One True God. They didn’t pursue them like God, or speak like God, or perform powerful miracles like God. He reminds them of this fact.
It was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought; 6 but when they had grazed, they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me.Hosea 13:5-6 ESV
We forget about God and turn to the worship of false gods because we love sin. False gods are really the scapegoat for our true motives. When you compare the track record of God with the track record of these false gods, it’s not even close. The people of Israel knew this. However, they knew if they chose to follow God, they would be required to obey. If they chose to follow false gods, they could do whatever they wanted. So, they suppressed the truth and believed a lie. Now, they will face the consequences of such actions.
It’s not a comfortable lesson, but it’s right. Where are we suppressing truth and believing lies? In what ways are we giving in to small compromises and choosing to follow our own belief system?