Hosea 5

Hosea 5

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Punishment Coming for Israel and Judah

  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    he has withdrawn from them.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.
  The princes of Judah have become
    like those who move the landmark;
  upon them I will pour out
    my wrath like water.
  Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment,
    because he was determined to go after filth.
  But I am like a moth to Ephraim,
    and like dry rot to the house of Judah.
  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.
  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.
  I will return again to my place,
    until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face,
    and in their distress earnestly seek me.


Hosea 5 Commentary

by Hank Workman

Sometimes there’s nothing more to say when we pray for someone so lost in their ways. Sometimes they need to be completely turned over to God and let Him drive them back to His fullness and forgiveness. Sometimes the prayer should be “Do whatever it takes, God” which opens the door in our own thinking that things are going to get far worse for them before they get better.

I’ve thought a lot about this here of late in particular with burdens I hold and carry. The intercession for those God has placed upon my heart has come to a point of release. There’s simply nothing more of how I know to pray. The hardness of heart has gripped their consciousness; their waywardness in self has determined their fate. Persistent sin makes it difficult to repent. The heavy hand of God is needed to press in so they can hopefully realize how spiritually destitute they are.

This previous chapter and this one denounce the sins of Israel and Judah. Their sins are many: Persecution, whoredom, pride, apostasy, their submitting to their physical enemies are a few spoken of. In an interesting twist, they know their sins but are unwilling or unrepentant to change anything. Their hearts are hardened.

The Lord says in verse 4,

“Their deeds will not allow them to return to their God. For a spirit of harlotry is within them, and they do not know the Lord.” – Hosea 5:4

Or as The Message graphically states:

They couldn’t turn to God if they wanted to. Their evil life is a bad habit. Every breath they take is a whore’s breath. They wouldn’t recognize God if they saw me.

The people of Israel would rather seek relief everywhere else rather than God. That relief would come at a cost but they would prefer to figure out their future, their life without Him, then in humility repent. We know that those who genuinely depend and turn toward Him are freely met with forgiveness and hope. Those who seek counsel in themselves, from others are turning toward a broken reed or broken cisterns in the advice and help offered. It has no lasting value.

And so God’s response at the close of this chapter is nothing more than horror. In essence, He’s saying, “You want to see how bad it can get? You have no idea.” He’s lifting His hand. He’s returning to His place until they finally come to an end of themselves. He’s removing His presence. The ways of which this is felt is like a grizzly tearing into its victim. Evidently, only hardship and turmoil will drive them to their knees. Until they recognize their sin, own their waywardness and turn to Him, they will be gravely afflicted.

“I’ll go back to where I came from until they come to their senses. When they finally hit rock bottom, maybe they’ll come looking for me.” – Hosea 5:15 The Message

The goal of God always is repentance and restitution of the broken relationship held between us and Him. He will allow and uses whatever it takes in our own affliction to bring humility and a desperateness that leads toward genuine restoration.

Maybe for the people you’ve been burdened for and have labored in prayer over it’s time to release them. Maybe it’s time to intercede for God to do whatever it takes to bring them to a point of acceptance and humility before Him. Maybe it’s time for His Presence to not be felt any longer in their lives until they turn from their ways. Affliction can soften the hardest of hearts and maybe it’s time for that to take place.

We know that Jesus stands waiting for those to return to Him. We know He intercedes right now to the Father on behalf of all. We also know that the Holy Spirit moves boldly and is also interceding before the Father with groans and anguish we could never imagine. By our release of them, we are entrusting these whom we love and concerned for into very reliable hands for God’s will to take place, to drive them to their knees and finally repent. They must earnestly seek Him for relief to be found.

Whatever it takes God, whatever it takes.

Hosea 5 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

“I will return again to my place,
    until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face,
    and in their distress earnestly seek me.”

Hosea 5:15

It is such a strong statement. You know, this phrase is a far cry from the entitled culture we live in today. The acknowledgment of guilt and seeking of God is rare. Consistency is vital for the Christian life. We can’t say that we live for God but continue to feed our lives with the stench of this world. For Israel, and probably for us, (if we are honest) it would be things of the flesh that continually drew them back. It would be the selfish pleasures that enticed their every fancy. We do it because we don’t get caught… but God had been watching the whole time. He knew how close they were to rock bottom.

But in this one statement, God shows us that all things in life point to Him. It’s your choice. You can turn to Him by your own free will, or, realize you need Him when you finally hit rock bottom. Sadly, many will stubbornly refuse to turn even after reaching their lowest point. Many Christians who fill the seats regularly on Sunday are content to hover somewhere in the middle. Their moral checklist keeps them above water but they stay stagnant in their faith, content with the same compromises they have been struggling with now for years. It wasn’t meant to be this way.

It’s amazing the perspective that comes after rock bottom. The absolute desolation that exists at that moment leaves us wandering, looking for something of true value and searching with the kind of vigor we should have had to begin with. Like a fading mirage, we look back at our choices and realize the gravity of our wasted time invested in empty promises. It is both a beautiful and horrific place to land. Beautiful because of the opportunity for a second chance but horrific for the consequences that follow.

God offers hope in the first phrase. “I will return to my place.” His grace is found in the simplicity of standing by the fence post and waiting for our return. He looks on the horizon, searching for His children who have come freely or forcefully. He waits for those who come acknowledging their guilt and seeking His face. Consider what this would look like…

It is not a child that comes selfishly, half-heartedly, or with demands of entitlement. Just like the lost son, this boy comes knowing his guilt and seeking his Father above all else. He moves hastily with reckless abandon back toward familiar land. His eyes dart back and forth frantically searching the horizon for His Father’s face. He tears through the woods and the brush charging through obstacles and leaping to his feet after he stumbles and falls. There’s a tangible urgency. He only has one thing on his mind… hope that the Father will still be waiting at that well-known place.

Out of breath, thirsty and full of scrapes and bruises, he finally catches a glimpse of that familiar territory. It’s his Father’s land. The boy slows to a walk to quickly ponder how to approach his Father with such humiliation and shame. How could the Father possibly take him back after all he has done?

But before He can decide what to say or what to do, He hears the rhythm of heavy footsteps quickly approaching. He turns to see His Father in a full sprint, arms open. The Father embraces His long lost son. “Father, I am no longer worthy to be called your son… I have sinned against you…” But before he can finish, the Father interjects…

“Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

I will return again to my place…

The Father is waiting.

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