As divine inspiration took hold of me yesterday morning I found myself drifting into prayer. In His glorious way and authority, I was filled with the Holy Spirit and was enjoying His presence. Time stood still and the Lord spoke to me through His divine Word in Hosea 5, the impending judgement of Israel and Judah for their sins, which I now, humbly share with you.
This powerful prophetic Word of God can be summarised in three words – sin, judgement and love. The love of God is eternal, from everlasting to everlasting. We, the Church and covenant family of God continues to be blessed in many ways as our faithful Counsellor, the Holy Spirit guides us and gives us wisdom through the Living Word, to make the right, godly choices and decisions for our lives. Looking around us today at the world in which we live, we can see or hear or read from the news, the many horrors occurring in our midst.
The prophet Hosea says in v1-2: “Hear this, O priests! Pay attention, O house of Israel! Give ear, O house of the king! For the judgement is for you; for you have been a snare at Mizpah and a net spread upon Tabor. And the revolters have gone deep into slaughter, but I will discipline all of them”. Mizpah, a watch tower in Gilead, was located east of the Jordan River while Tabor, a dome shaped mountain, is located on the north eastern side of the Jezreel Valley. Some call it the Holy Mountain as many christian scholars believe this is where Jesus Christ was transfigured. Here, God was calling out to the priests, leaders and dwellers of the nation, announcing His national judgements upon their sins of persecution, or murder, or idolatrous worship and sacrifice.
v3-5 reads: “I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from me; for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore; Israel is defiled. Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. For the spirit of whoredom is within them, and they know not the Lord. The pride of Israel testifies to his face; Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in his guilt; Judah also shall stumble with them”.
Ephraim, also known as the Northern Kingdom, was the most powerful of the ten tribes in the north, while Judah, the most powerful tribe in the south, was known as the Southern Kingdom. Thus, God’s power was magnified when He told sinful Ephraim, of whom all were idolators, that He knew their hidden secrets and their true character in spite of their disguise. As Judah was also treading in the same steps, they too, would fall.
v6 says: “With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they will not find him; he has withdrawn from them”. Because of their pride, their wickedness and the dominion their sins had over them, the Lord rebuked them then turned away from them.
Hosea then announces in v7-9 that: “They have dealt faithlessly with the Lord; for they have borne alien children. Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields. Blow the horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah. Sound the alarm at Beth-aven; we follow you, O Benjamin! Ephraim shall become desolate in the day of punishment; among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure.”
Israel and Judah acted treacherously by committing adultery, an act against God, who stood in the relationship of a husband to them, in covenant. In this adultery, they had borne strange children and within a short time, God began to pour out judgement against their iniquity. The Israelite cities of Gibeah and Ramah soon sounded the alarm at the coming judgement, but what the Lord said He would do, He did, and Ephraim and Judah were turned to ruins as He poured out His wrath upon their lands.
v10 continues: “The princes of Judah have become like those who move the landmark; upon them I will pour out my wrath like water”. Here, the leaders of Judah were likened to those who conspire to commit a serious offence, an act strongly condemned by God, that of moving a neighbour’s landmark. For as Deuteronomy 27:17 says, anyone who moves his neighbour’s landmark, will be cursed.
Hosea went further to say in v11-13: “Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgement, because he was determined to go after filth. But I am like a moth to Ephraim, and like dry rot to the house of Judah. When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria, and sent to the great king. But he is not able to cure you or heal your wound”.
Ephraim was crushed in judgement because of their disobedience to God. But slowly but surely, they found themselves going through more afflictions when they wilfully turned to man and followed King Jeroboam’s commandments (and the succeeding kings of Israel) by worshipping idols, instead of God. When both Israel and Judah acknowledged their own weaknesses to resist their enemies, instead of calling upon God and trusting in Him, they sought sinful alliances, and trusted further in their idols.
Let us not make the same errors of King Jeroboam and his successors. Instead, let us be mindful as children of God that we should make the right choices, and not to compromise our obedience to God under any circumstance, for Acts 5:29b: tells us “we must obey God rather than men”. As we put our faith in God, He will lead us to His glory and victory!
The Lord continued through Hosea 5:14-15: “For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will carry off, and there shall be none to deliver. I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me earnestly”. Here, God said that He would be to them as a lion that rends its prey and hide His face from them until they acknowledge their offence. By His grace and mercy, our loving God always offers hope to His suffering people, for His redemption will come when we earnestly seek His face in sincere confession and repentance.
Hosea 5 teaches us not to compromise our obedience to God for false hopes which leads us to darkness. Obedience to God’s Word brings freedom. This is the promise of God, for as James 1:25 says, the one who looks to the Lord and perseveres, being not a hearer who forgets, but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
The Holy Bible testifies to us where we are in the world today. Let us remain unified in prayer: for His glorious kingdom to come and for His will be done; standing on the promises of God. In Revelation 22:12, our Lord Jesus Christ promises: “I am coming quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give everyone, according to his work”.
Let us be reminded of the words of 1 Timothy 2:1-3 where we are exhorted to pray and intercede for the leaders of our country and the government so that we may lead a peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
Amen and Amen!