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Church and the Bible

TMP028/4 Exposition Ch.4

(2).Isreal's Indictment, Punishment & Restoration.(4:1-14:9).

(a) Isreal's indictment.(ch.4:1-7:16).

(al) A general indictment of the people.(ch.4:1-4).

Verse 1.

Hosea begins to explain something of the gross sins that Isreal had fallen into,the isrealities committed three gross sins.
a.....(`emet ) they were totally unfaithful. he sed
b.....They showed no kindness or (hesed / da`at ) knowledge of God.
c.....They were simply a people who could not be trusted by YAHWEH.

Verse 2.

Hosea progresses here to list some of the overt sins of Isreal. "Cursing, lying, murder, stealing and adultry.These sins are in direct opposition to the 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th. commandments.

Verse 3.

The sins of Isreal brought judgement in the form of drought which devastated the land until the crops failed, cattle, birds, sheep, and fish died. The land completely dried up as if in mourning ('abal ) because of the sin of the people,the animals ( malal ) wasted away into nothing.

Verse 4.

Through the sins of Isreal were to say the least bad, they had resorted to a used one and the other for their prediciment, in fact all were to blame, especially the priests who had failed to fulfill their calling.

(a2).The sins of the Priests.(4:5-11a).

In these verses the prophet Hosea begins to speak directly to the religious leaders of the nation,that is the priests,also we can observe from verse 4 that the prophets were included in the failure of the nation to respond to God.

Verse 5.

The priests and the prophets alike had fallen into sin, 1 kings 12:31,13:33 records that Jeroboam 1 chose his prophets from people from various backgrounds, these men were all false prophets and had never been called by God of course as 2 Chron.11:13-16 suggests there were also many good and honourable prophets and priests in Isreal.

Because of the failure of the majority of the priests and prophets to abide by the word of God and by the rule of faith, they completely destroyed the spiritual demension of the nation and bringing down the judgement of God.

Verse 6.

The priests` task was to teach the children of Isreal the laws of God but they had completely neglected to do this. 'The priest's task is explained in Deut 33:10,Ezek 44:23,Mal 2:7', Because of the negligence of the priests the children of Isreal were to be ( damah ) ruined or completely destroyed.

The priests were to be removed from their place of ministry simply because they had ( sakah ) forgotten the law the result and consequence of this would simply mean that their descendants would be completely ignored by God.

Verse 7.

The more power that the priest gained would seem to have increased their ability to sin and as a result of their sin they exchanged their ( kabod ) glory and honour for something which only brought shame and disgrace.( galon ).

Verse 8.

This verse indicates that the priests were so sinful that they were ('akal ) devouring and feeding on the sin of the people.

Verse 9.

'Like people-like priests' one was as bad and sinful as the other and only judgement awaited them.

Verse 10.

The priests` appetite for evil could not be satisfied, they practiced the canaanite fertility rites which included cult prostitution in order to procure a good harvest from the Gods.These rites were detestable in the sight of the Lord, and had to be condemned and judged.

(a3).Sins of the people.(4:11b-19).

Verse 11b.

The priests led a people who gladely followed them into their gross sins, the 'old and the new wine', the children of Isreal were drunk with their sin to the degree that their ( leb ) understanding of the difference between right and wrong was completely distorted and confused.

Verse 12.

The writter shows the absolute stupidity of the Isrealite worship, when he reminds us that these people when seeking guidance for the future would talk to wooden "idols". There
was a spirit of prostitution in their midst, Hosea seems to mean spiritual prostitution for Isreal had forsaken the God of their fathers for a wooden 'idol'.

Verse 13.

'Cult prostitution' was the main religion in the middle east and unfortunately Isreal had become entangled in its wedd to such an extent that her own daughters had prostituted themselves.

Verse 14.

The young men and women were immoral, but because of their lack of understanding and moral knowledge they would eventually ruin themselves.

Verse 15.

In this verse 'Hosea' warns Judah (the southern kingdom) not to follow the evil and idolatris ways of the Northern Kingdom.(Israel). Gilgal and Beth Avon are mentioned as places of idolatris worship. The children of Isreal were told not to go to these centers.

Earlier in the ministry of Elisha and Elijah in 2 kings 2:1,4:38 Gilgal was a center for prophetic instruction but it would seem that it had become a center for Baal worship and calf sacrifice. (Hos 9:15, 12: 11,Amos 4:4,5:5.)

On the other hand 'Beth-Aven' was known by another name, 'Betel' (Amos 4:4,5:5) which simply means 'house of deciet' this was a complete contrast to the real meaning of Bethel the name give to the place in earlier days for then it simply meant 'house of God'.

According to 1 kings 12:28-29 Bethel was established as the southern center for calf worship, this center was established by Jeroboam 1.The people of Judah were warned not to make oaths and covenants to Yahweh at Bethel or Gilgal for they were places of gross idolatry and sin.

Earlier in Deut 6:13,10:20 the children of God could make their oaths at those two places but now it was not allowed by God in case the idolatris activities that were carried out there would find credence.

Verse 16.

The children of Isreal are likened to stubborn cows, and because of that they could not be treated as lambs needing to be led into new pasture.

Verse 17.

Ephraim was known as the most infulencial tribe but sadly to say they had fallen away from God's way and were to be left without hope or assistance until God's judgement was fully carried out.

Verse 18.

After the children of Isreal had finished their strong drinks ( sob ), they fell into immorality that was to say the least base. The children of Isreal were greatly infulenced by their religious and political leaders.Drunken sex orgies can in no way be described as acceptable worship.

Verse 19.

In the last verse of this section, we read of coming judgement 'a wirlwind has wrapped her up in her wings'(Ephraim). Israel's false Gods and idols cannot help them any longer, their sacrifices which were made from unbelieving hearts could no longer help them in their time of intense crisis.

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