What Am I Going to Do with You?

Hosea 6:4-11

Opening line sounds too familiar! For a lot of settings, not just obstinate or thoughtless children. Obviously has somewhat different significance when comes from mouth of God. However… are some important parallels. Let’s consider for moment circumstances and thought processes involved that result in this kind of monologue. An apparent change of speaker from v.1-3 to v.4ff – the prophet giving pastoral encouragement to his people to repent, now prophet acting as God’s mouthpiece.

Can be a helping of impatience / frustration present when parent asks this question… not so with God. He never loses patience, cannot be frustrated by anyone or anything. Might be case of thinking out loud, working through process of figuring out proper next move… not so with God. His plan covering everything from before Creation to beyond Second Coming already unchangeably determined. Can be highly useful teaching tool, at least for attentive students. Gives opportunity to, in this case, get into the mind of God: what are God’s thoughts, God’s feelings, God’s priorities; what is logical sequence leading up to this point, where does it go from here.

Also highlights those things that may be commendable in one being addressed, and things worthy of criticism. Consequences without explanation does not always teach right tihings – may not know with certainty what is being punished, may not understand why/how consequences are just. Talking it through helps to avoid those things… in a receptive audience.

A. God’s heart v.4a-b, 5-6

see Isa. 65:2-5I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices;a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and making offerings on bricks;who sit in tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat pig’s flesh, and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels;who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day.”

John Calvin comments, “No language can adequately express this solemn truth, that the Holy Spirit rejoices and is glad on our account, when we are obedient to him in all things, and neither think nor speak anything, but what is pure and holy; and, on the other hand, is grieved when we admit anything into our minds that is unworthy of our calling.” (Eph. 4:30)

“Scripture often speaks of God as being grieved or experiencing grief. This holds true for each member of the Trinity. In Genesis 6:6-8 the Father is grieved because of the sinfulness of the human race. The disobedience of Israel and the church grieves the Holy Spirit (Isa 63:10; Eph 4:30). The Son of God is a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief (Isa 53:3-10; Matt 23:37-39; Luke 13:34-35; John 11:35).” Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

cannot be patient forever

God is both merciful and just – in tension with one another, yet not so God is paralyzed: he will move to resolution in his time

Ex. 34:6-7 The LORD passed by before him and proclaimed: “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness,keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children and children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.” NET

neither the gentle nor the terrible has availed—they have remained hardened. What treatment can now be tried? CHS

sadness, disappointment, sorrow/grief – experienced when repeated demonstrations of tender lovingkindness are toyed with, then abandoned

call to mind emotions you experience in regard to unsaved loved one, particularly one who is especially close – parent, spouse, child

your love for them already established, you desire them to experience your greatest treasure – they humor you, smile and nod, never get serioius about Gospel

brokenhearted sorrow, know just how hard may have to get for them – what will God have to do to bring to senses?

passionately expressed by apostle Paul, Rom. 9:1-5, perhaps with our text and others in mind – is just a hint of where God is at, profoundly sorrowful because he knows what must come next

Isa. 63:10they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them.”

God is committed to fulfilling his purpose, including all means necessary to bring it about – he takes pleasure in ultimate fulfillmlent of his purpose, even if not in each aspect of means required to get there

explain: God’s “personal goal” (if we can say that) is his own glory; he is glorified in display of love, grace, mercy, and also his justice – he takes pleasure in right responses to love, grace, mercy, he takes no pleasure in death of wicked (Eze. 33:11)

don’t forget the goal: mercy (steadfast love, chêsêd), not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not burnt offerings

everything God does is accurate and consistent display of his character – no conflict between who God really is on the inside and his actions on the outside

is that same kind of consistency God desires in his people – that they would love Him as he loves them, with all heart soul mind strength in unity of purpose

action and motivation both count in God’s eyes – note carefully order of priority: God wants our heart and mind first, then actions

right desires toward God and right understanding of God will assuredly result in right action toward God and neighbor

bottom line: God wants our love in return for his, is grieved and disappointed when we don’t respond properly, even though outward actions may appear acceptable

B. man’s heart v.4c, 7-10

to extent sin not mortified (put to death) in us, these issues exist for believer too but in lesser degree

undependable (4c)

quick to come up, just as quick to disappear – make commitment readily to one, then another, and another; chêsêd of people not like chêsêd of God

parable of sower – stony ground, sprout quickly but do not endure and produce fruit; may declare but not show faithfulness

is this that is at root of spiritual harlotry/adultery that God condemns – supposed to be married to God, acting like still dating

disobedient (7a)

original covenant with Adam – promised life for obedience, death for disobedience; life included all blessings associated with it

covenant of redemption further elaborated with Moses – blessings for obedience, cursings for disobedience, ultimate looked to Christ for fulfillment

just like Adam knowingly / wilfully broke covenant, so have all since Adam including God’s people in Hosea’s day

treacherous (7b)

people solemnly promised faithfulness to God (Josh. 24:16-18; Neh. 9:36-38, etc) but… didn’t keep the faith

frequently limited to pragmatic relationship – make promises to get the goodies; once had temporal blessings, then slack off

evil (8)

read Josh. 20:1-9 – Ramoth-Gilead, city of refuge, no longer serving its divinely appointed use: has become haven for violent criminals who commit further evil

actually two evils portrayed here: evil practiced outside and inside the city, evil of a failed justice system further perverted to unjust use

instead of providing refuge for victims, use changed to provide refuge to perpetrators and allow them to continue perp-ing

violent (9)

like above – 2 distinct transgressions: actual harm done to others, perversion of sacred office they held

Shechem an early place of worship (Abram, altar); city of refuge; where Joshua gave final challenge to people; capitol of Israel for a while – basically center of culture and worship

priests take advantage of high traffic area, engage in criminal activity for their own benefit, advancement – evil in its own right

perversion of office – those charged with bringing life to people in their care instead prey upon even to taking of life

immoral (9b-10)

greatest evil of all: spiritual immorality/harlotry used to justify physical immorality – let’s worship this other god whose acts of worship satisfy sinful desires

should not be surprise: fallen man creates god to worship, one that gives him what he wants (not what he needs)

think how grievous must be to God – much of Israel’s idolatry involved uncontrolled licentious behavior – all manner of sexual immorality practiced in name of religious worship

contrast that with God’s model: husband to his wife (Hosea and Gomer), Bridgroom and Bride (Christ and his Church) – is it any wonder God is heartbroken over sin of his people

doesn’t take much imagination to recognize parallels with today across societal spectrum… even, sadly, inside what passes for the church

C. captivity, then restoration v.11

when God has his fill of evil, then is time for judgment… harvest-time – Gen. 6:5-7 (Flood) Gen. 15:16 (sin of Canaanites) Matt. 23:31-33 (Jews of Jesus’ day)

Eliphaz got it right: Job 4:8“Those who plow iniquity And sow trouble reap the same.” – true for Israel, God had appointed time when they would harvest evil they had sown

God’s plan for harvest/judgment would be carried out in their captivity

“The captivities of both Israel and Judah was the START of God’s plan of restoration! This is what is meant in this verse.”

removal of people from land “low point” of their existence – how could God’s plan of redemption continue with them in captivity?

fulfilling prophecy required a return, restoration to provide setting in which true Deliverer would appear – part of God’s plan from beginning

“hardening” is temporary – Rom. 11:25-27

even partial spiritual hardening present among Jews today will someday end – will only last “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in”

God still has plan for his ancient people but… redemption and restoration will not come about apart from Christ

God continues to grieve over his wayward people, continues to reach out to them and call them to repentance, call them to himself

Good reminder: God hasn’t given up on the lost, neither should we. God is grieved by the unbelief of the lost, the unfaithfulness of his people, and so should we.


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