The Lord Will Punish Israel
9 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.
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.
Ephraim’s glory shall fly away like a bird—
no birth, no pregnancy, no conception!
Even if they bring up children,
I will bereave them till none is left.
Woe to them
when I depart from them!
Ephraim, as I have seen, was like a young palm planted in a meadow;
but Ephraim must lead his children out to slaughter.
Give them, O LORD—
what will you give?
Give them a miscarrying womb
and dry breasts.
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.
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.
My God will reject them
because they have not listened to him;
they shall be wanderers among the nations.
Hosea 9 Commentary
by Hank Workman
It’s like an unseen cancer that appears and grows below the surface. The disease slowly takes over without much notice as it spreads throughout so many areas of our life. Attacking the thinking, the thoughts and mind we have, it draws us toward lethargy and complacency. Attaching itself to our heart, it begins to harden as the tentacles surround and we become numb. Almost as though our emotions are stunted or calloused, we’re not as sensitive. It shows itself in other ways as well. We become more work focused, driven by things that seemingly are important but not in the scheme of eternal matters. Excuses roll from our tongues as there’s every justifiable reason not to serve, not to get involved, not to invest ourselves.
This cancer of spiritual bankruptcy creeps into every aspect of our lives.
The definition for bankruptcy is an interesting word to consider. Besides dealing with finances, according to the dictionary, it also means: the state of being completely lacking in a particular quality or value; utter failure or impoverishment.
But how do we get there? How do we end up in a place of utter spiritual impoverishment and lacking value or quality?
For the Israelites, it was the slippery slope of compromise. It began innocently enough I’m sure but slipped into full-blown rebellion by the time it was over. With each turn downward their hearts became hardened, their minds steeled to Truth. Before they knew it they were far away from the God who created and called them. They failed to see the necessity of keeping in check their own standing before Him.
It is much the same for us. Compromise is the enemy of the Believer made alive in Christ. When we give into this or that, it becomes easier to justify the next time. When we follow our own hearts rather than the Heart of God, we become hardened. When we neglect our time needed each day meeting with our God, tuning into the grace of Jesus, the Holy Spirit’s voice becomes faint. Before long, the God of change in our lives becomes a distant memory. The result of spiritual bankruptcy brings a deficit in our living, a value that is not worthy of our Maker, and failure upon failure follow on the spiritual level.
Is your spiritual account bankrupt or full? May the Holy Spirit prick our hearts and minds this day with realities of where we stand and what needs to change. It begins with humbleness and a readiness to shift the trajectory of our spiritual life toward things that matter. It is accomplished through the empowerment and strength only the Holy Spirit can give.
Hosea 9 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Hosea 9 continues to pound away at our human flesh. God’s people had “taken to sin like a pig to filth.” But, this did not happen overnight. It started with small compromises that that slowly eroded their moral conscience. It lulled them to sleep, leading them down a path that they never saw coming. This is the subtle, crafty effect that sin can have on us. It deceives us in such insignificant ways that we don’t realize how far we’ve gone until it’s too late.
“My wife’s family has a cabin on the Oregon coast. Every year they have a Fourth of July parade. People on the floats and trucks throw saltwater taffy into the crowd. One year after the parade, the streets were covered with taffy wrappers. Hundreds, everywhere. If there had been one or two, I wouldn’t have noticed, but the cumulative effect was striking. That pretty little beach town had become an eyesore. Lies are like that. They pile up. Take each lie and multiply it by tens of millions in business, school, family, and government, and you have monumental moral erosion. It’s like bleeding to death from ten thousand paper cuts.”Randy Alcorn
God’s people were bleeding to death. The reason we know it crept up on them is because God Himself states that He has been keeping a record of their behavior over time.
The LORD says, “When I first found Israel, it was like finding grapes growing in the desert. When I first saw your ancestors, it was like seeing the first ripe figs of the season. But when they came to Mount Peor, they began to worship Baal and soon became as disgusting as the gods they loved.Hosea 9:10 GNB
The call to repentance is there and the response is pending. God hates sin but He loves His people. For those who have eyes to see, the Holy Spirit will illuminate our sin and strengthen us with Christ’s power to overcome!