Deciding on Discipline
Hosea 8:1-3,7-10; 9:7-8; 10:10-12
Tom J. Nettles
I. Chapter 5
continued its account of the just anger of God upon each level of society in
II. An invitation to repent and a suggested narrative of what repentance would involve.
A. 5:15 – God removes his covenantal presence from them and looks for an earnest turning of heart to Him
B. 6:1-3 – This is an admonition arising
hypothetically from within
· They acknowledge that their punishment is just.
· They see punishment as a manifestation of his intent to restore them.
· They recognize Him as faithful thought they have been unfaithful.
· They put the knowledge of God as the greatest of blessings, which according to 4:6 has been lacking.
· A return to Him is a return to the source of all life and blessing
In spite of such a hypothetical scene, God finds
Chapter 7 – The idolatry of Ephraim [the name of one of the
tribes to identify the entire Northern Kingdom, also called
V. Chapter 8 –Judgment
is about to be announced. The trumpet set to the lip means that the declaration
of the beginning of the battle against
The vulture about to descend is
B. They have transgressed the
covenant, even since their establishment by rebellion under Jeroboam I. This
pick up the theme also mentioned in 6:7, where their covenantal unfaithfulness
extends as far back as Adam. This shows that the message here in Hosea gives
warning to us all that, As children of Adam, both
naturally and covenantally, the spiritual waywardness
C. The law of God has not governed them as seen in many places [eg. 4:2; 4:6]. “O how I love thy Law!” is the sigh and heartfelt desire of every justified person. If we have no regard for God’s Law then we have no foundation on which the cherish the righteousness of Christ. We do not abolish the Law by faith; rather we establish it.” Romans 3:31
D. In their completely disastrous view of religion, they profess that they know God though they have neither covenant faithfulness, knowledge of the Law, nor any aspect of pure worship.
D. They have spurned the good, and just discipline now comes. Not knowing the “good” is an indication of an absence of the Spirit of God in one’s life ; compare Ephesians 5:9; Romans 12:2
E. They will not find deliverance in their unwarranted contrivance of a national government 8:4a
F. They will find that their idols have no power (4-6)
G. their alliances with other nations (8-10), their sorry attempts at worship (11-13), aggravate the holy wrath of God against them
H, There is now no reason for them to anticipate compassion from God (13b-14), but only a fiery display of judgment.
VI. Chapter 9
A. 9:1-6 – The continuous abominations of
both religious life and moral life had made the case of
B. 9:7-9 --This focus text reiterates the determination of Yahweh to punish these people. 9:7a. and 9:9b. The attempt of their prophets to given any meaningful message is utterly ludicrous. They only mouth the words of folly and push the nation toward ways that certainly will ensnare them. All their external attempts at religious display have no meaning for they are filled with hate, lawless in unrepentant hearts, and increasing corruption. Look at Judges 19: 22-30 for the reference to the moral abandonment in the event at Gibeah. That this is one of the symbols that God used to show their continuity with such deformed practice see 10:9.
C. 9:10-17--Though God had shown favor to
VII. Chapter 10 –
A. 10:1, 2, 8 The blessings of God on Ephraim did not yield love and pure worship for God, but an infatuation with idolatry and increased attention to the false god that expressed the corruption of their hearts. Thus the places of their religious expression will be destroyed and rendered a wilderness.
B. 10:3, 4, 7, 15b - Their kings, false
from the beginning, will do them no good in the day of God’s judgments through
C. 10:5, 6 – In the greatest of
ironies, they fear for the loss of their gods. Why could these gods not
intervene and protect them? They had been so good to the Israelites in
encouraging their adulterous ways, why do they not now rise and defeat the king
D. 10:10-12 – The last focus text for this lesson,
Verse 10 reaffirms the determination of God to
punish in accordance with his sovereign prerogative (“When I please, I will
discipline them.”). The instruments he uses, as before emphasized, is the
cruelty of pagan nations. God uses natural disaster, disease, miraculous
intervention, bodily deterioration, and hostile militarism to bring his
judgments. The ways that God visits his retributive justice in temporal matters
are plentiful since the entire created order is at his disposal to use for his
purposes, and his power of presently sustaining it means that he may alter its
course suddenly by his power [the flood, fire from heaven on
· Verse 11—God appeared to coddle them in their vices for they had life as easy as a calf trained to tread the corn, without muzzle and having free access to the ground corn. She wore no yoke [“I spared her fair neck”). But now, she will learn something of hardship and the cost of taking God’s blessing for granted, considering his abundant mercies as their due and attributing them to their own power (“you have trusted in your own way” 13) and the favor of Baal (“You have eaten the fruit of lies.”). He will put Ephraim to the yoke with a much more harsh and threatening labor before them. This is in contrast to the yoke that Christ invites us to take; for he is meek and lowly of heart, and in his yoke, we shall find rest to our souls. Judah, that would last for another 150 years, would nevertheless have trouble and learn many lessons about obedience, judgment, and their dependence on God through a number of difficulties. Eventually they too would be delivered to a time of exile.
· Verse 12—Even under the clear threat of certain judgment, for so many sins and for so long a time, God still calls for righteousness and for heartfelt worship. If even now they would turn to the righteousness of God’s Law as the seed sown by their actions, they would reap the blessings of God’s steadfast love. “The one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but the one that sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:8) Break up your fallow ground—those affections that have lain dormant must be renewed and placed upon the only worthy object of al affection, “It is time to seek the Lord.” If you sow righteousness upon the newly plowed ground of love for God, then he will multiply your seed by raining righteousness upon you. This verse follows on the suggested way to seek the Lord in 6:1-3 and anticipates the suggested mode of repentance in 14:1-3.
E. Verses 13-15—But instead of
seeking a harvest of righteousness, they have put iniquity in the forefront of
their soil and sowing and have not sought any blessing from the Lord. Their
unyielding hearts have gained for them the brutal and thorough destruction of
the Assyrians, a method used by Shalmaneser when he
employed the method of military execution upon the populace of those that he
conquered in order to strike fear into the inhabitants of other cites to make their
early surrender common. Hosea calls the northern kingdom by the name of