September 12, 2018
Daybreak: Hosea 6:1 through 7:16
“They return, but not to the most High: they are like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.” (Hosea 7:16)
My brother-in-law is an archer. One year he went to Alaska to hunt bear, and he made every possible preparation to ensure success. His preparation included visits to donut shops where he could get discarded pastries to use as bait. Then he brought these delicacies to our house and compressed them in our trash compactor until he had enough in a container to check on the airplane as baggage!
While the donuts were a somewhat intriguing part of my brother-in-law’s preparation, we can be certain that he paid special attention to his equipment, particularly to his bow. It would have been examined and re-examined, tested and then tested again. Think how disappointing it would have been to get to Alaska and find that the bow was damaged or out of alignment for some reason!
A “deceitful bow” may, to the casual observer, have the appearance of being a good weapon, but it will not shoot an arrow to its target. In a similar way, the people of Israel sometimes looked as though they were serving God, but He indicated that they were not honest and true in their hearts. In fact, their spiritual condition was despicable!
We want to be certain that nothing in our lives is “warped” or out of line in God’s sight. Our prayers need to be sincere and from our hearts. We need to fully submit our wills to God. This means more than just saying, “I give You my life, Lord.” It means following through wherever He may lead us and whatever He may ask us to do.
We also want to be sure that our worship of God is more than just a routine that looks good to the casual observer. Good habits can be a great help to our Christian walk, but our praise and prayers to God need to be more than a habit. They need to be sincere and heartfelt communication!
We must let go of ourselves and let God have His way with us. If we do, He will make sure that we are straight and true in His eyes.
There are two schools of thought regarding the time frame of Hosea 6:1-3. The first is that Hosea was referring to the time of the Millennial Reign, when Israel will truly repent and receive the blessings God intended for them. The second is that Israel was making an attempt at repentance, but was not sincere. The people were sorry for the consequences of their sin, but they were not willing to change their ways. They thought that if they made a show of repentance, God would “heal” their land quickly and change their dire circumstances into prosperity and blessings. They said they would “follow on to know the Lord,” when they actually wanted to put Him on the same level as the nature god, Baal.
Israel’s devotion was like the early morning dew that appears for a short time and then disappears quickly when the sun comes up. The people’s repentance was short-lived and sporadic. They had broken the covenant they made with God at Mt. Sinai and were reaping the consequences. Gilead, which was once a sacred city, was full of corruption and wickedness. The priests, who should have been leading the people to righteousness, were actually encouraging the people to sin.
In the context of this book, Ephraim is representative of all Israel. Although Hosea apparently lived in the Northern Kingdom of Israel and most of his prophecies related to it, he also spoke against the Southern Kingdom of Judah and told the people they would fare no better than Israel when it came to God’s judgment.
In chapter 7, Hosea reminded Israel of God’s desire to heal their land, but the people continued in their wickedness and refused to turn to God for help. Instead, they trusted political leaders and kings to give victory over their enemies. There was much political unrest in Israel during Hosea’s lifetime, and four of the last six kings of Israel were assassinated as the struggle for power escalated.
Israel’s sin and corruption were compared to an overheated oven that was ignored. Even though the people’s passion for sin was burning out of control, there was no one to call the nation back to repentance. They were also like a “cake not turned.” Cakes were cooked on hot stones and it was easy for them to be burned on one side and completely raw on the other side if they were not turned properly. Israel was trying to mix with other nations by intermarrying and taking on the pagan ways of these nations, but because of its compromise it was “burned” by Assyria on the one hand and left raw and vulnerable on the other side.
God’s covenant with Israel stated that it could trade with other nations, but it was not to enter into any type of political alliance that would cause disobedience to the Lord (Numbers 23:9). In the end, Israel would be derided in Egypt, the very nation it had turned to for help.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The prophet’s message
A. Jehovah’s rejection of Israel
2. The repudiation of Israel
c. The invitation to Israel (6:1-3)
3. The fickleness of Israel (6:4-11)
4. The foolishness of Israel (7:1-16)
a. The wickedness of Israel (7:1-7)
b. The silliness of Israel (7:8-16)
A Closer Look
- What did Hosea say God would do if the people would return to the Lord?
- In what ways would the outcome for Israel have been different if they had truly repented and turned to God instead of other nations for their help?
- How can the analogies Hosea used, such as a neglected oven, a half-baked cake, and a deceitful bow, relate to people today?
If we want complete victory in our daily walk with the Lord, we must allow Him to have control over every area of our lives. If we only turn to the Lord when we are in trouble, we will suffer defeat as Israel did. God wants us to be victorious overcomers, but we must depend on Him and follow His will for our lives.