September 11, 2018
Daybreak: Hosea 4:1 through 5:15
“Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.” (Hosea 4:1)
From the early decades of time, God has used preachers as His messengers. Under God’s anointing, these people have urged sinners to change their ways. Hosea was one of these messengers.
The famous evangelist D.L. Moody was another. Moody was practical and direct in his preaching. One night toward the end of his life, he stood before a crowd and paused. There was such silence that a clock’s ticking could be heard. He asked anyone who would say he would trust Christ to state, “I will.” No one responded to his challenge. He asked the question again, “Who will say he will trust Christ?” More silence, but then a low voice from the back said, “I will.” Mr. Moody quickly went to the platform’s edge and looked at his audience. Soon more and more responses came, and in a matter of minutes fifty people had said, “I will.” The people who responded were just a few of the thousands whose lives were impacted by the preaching of D.L. Moody.(1)
In today’s passage, Hosea preached to the people of Israel. He said, “Hear the word of the Lord,” and then went on to list their sins. No doubt, Hosea would have been thrilled to see people turn to God as Moody did! The God who sent Hosea to seek and buy back his wayward wife desperately wanted to heal, forgive, and bless the nation of Israel. He wanted to pour out His richest blessings on His chosen people. He wanted to show His love for them. But His people did not seek Him. They ran from Him, and ran straight to the idolatrous worship of pagan gods. They sinned against God and offended His holiness by committing the grossest sins possible.
God still uses preachers as His messengers today, and like in Israel, sometimes the message is ignored. Someday God will pour out His punishment upon the people who have not turned to Him and worshipped Him in Spirit and in truth. However, today, God is merciful and will pour out his love, forgiveness, and blessing in a marvelous way upon the souls that will seek Him in earnest. Let us seek Him today!
Chapter 4 begins a new section of the book of Hosea, in which Israel’s sins were listed and God’s punishment was foretold. God had a “controversy” (a complaint, a charge) against the Children of Israel. He was disappointed and angered at their backsliding. They had been warned many times about the penalty of sin, yet they continued in their stubborn ways.
God had made a covenant with Israel at Mt. Sinai. Just as Gomer had not taken her wedding vows seriously and had violated her marriage covenant with Hosea, the people of Israel had not taken their vows to God seriously. They had broken God’s original covenant with them, and their love for Him had departed.
It appears God was “holding court” against Israel. He was the Righteous Judge, and He announced His complaint against them. Hosea, acting as an agent for God, told Israel of their sins. He listed them one by one, trying to convince them of the error of their ways. He pled with them to return to God and seek His forgiveness, yet they continued in their sins. Their primary sin was the rejection of knowledge of God (Hosea 4:6): not a head knowledge (many probably still knew about God), but a personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
In the beginning of chapter 5, God condemned the civil and religious leaders of Israel. They were supposed to lead the nation and instruct them in righteousness, but they had failed to do this. Instead they had led hypocritical and corrupt lives. How could they possibly lead Israel in righteousness when they themselves were unrighteous? There was no justice in the land, and Israel’s sins had paralyzed them.
Through the text, God told how His judgment would take place. He foretold how the Assyrians would overrun Israel. The nation would be laid waste and made desolate. The Assyrians would attack them suddenly, as a young lion, and there would be no escaping the judgment to come.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The prophet’s message
A. Jehovah’s rejection of Israel
1. The faithlessness of Israel (4:1-19)
a. The fact of apostasy (4:1-3)
b. The reason for apostasy (4:4-10)
c. The course of apostasy (4:11-19)
(1) The idolatry of Israel (4:11-13)
(2) The instruction of Judah (4:14-19)
2. The repudiation of Israel
a. The rebuke of Israel (5:1-7)
b. The judgment upon Israel (5:8-15)
A Closer Look
- What did God say would be destroyed as a result of Israel’s sins?
- Why do you think God listed all the individual sins of Israel, rather than just generalizing them as “the sins of Israel”?
- Israel was faulted for its empty worship of God. Today, how can our worship evidence sincere, wholehearted love and devotion to the Lord?
God has used His Word and His messengers to tell us that He wants us to serve Him. Will we follow His instructions that come to us through those who preach to us?
1. Rev. J. Wilbur Chapman, D.D., “The Life and Work of D.L. Moody.” <www.biblebelievers.com/moody/18.html.>