Coming Exile

Hosea 9:1-17

We’re good Christians who believe the Bible – LBCF 5.1 “God, the good Creator of all things, in his infinite power and wisdom, upholds, directs, organizes and governs all creatures and things, from the greatest to the least, by his perfectly wise and holy providence, to the end for which they were created.”

Also believe he governs a fallen and corrupted creation – not only Adam and his posterity subject to consequences of original sin, all the created order came under God’s curse. Further changes following the Flood – man and animals no longer vegetarian, e.g. Recognize many things not the same now as at beginning, stuff we have to endure because of sin entering world – natural disasters, disease, conflict, etc.

Here’s where it gets tricky – say we believe God “governs all creatures and things” but often have wrong understanding of how God acts as Governor. Perhaps, by God’s design, sin and curse changed some lines of code in original program God wrote and embedded in his creation. Is true, things behave according to their nature, according to their design; at same time, they are not on autopilot.

Here’s how that works – we think earthquakes/volcanoes/tornadoes etc. are simply natural result of climate messed up by the curse. We think disease is result of genes corrupted by sin or food contaminated by corrupt environment. We know God was involved in the curse, what we fail to see is his fingerprints on individual expressions of it – this tornado, that person’s cancer, this nation’s unrest, that Christian’s persecution. If God truly “governs all creatures and things” then we should see God at work, not simply laws of nature or impersonal consequences of 7000 year old curse. People and nations experience hardship because God has ordained it so and governs accordingly, using hands-on approach even though he works through means. Remember: is God working through those means.

A. sin results in exile v.1-9

drunk with pleasure, success (1-2)

have sought pleasure and fulfillment in anything but God – reality is they looked for physical means to satisfy spiritual needs

yes, turned to false gods, but why? would gratify their felt needs, physical desires/cravings in return for some kind of payment – sacrifice, tribute

practiced physical and spiritual immorality, both in defiance of God’s direct command; same for seeking pleasure in substances, wine and perhaps other tihngs

seeking in forbidden relationships, harmful substances what only God could supply – did find what they perceived to be some level of pleasure/satisfaction

warning: only lasts until the hangover

these things do not truly satisfy, the pretense of satisfaction is only temporary; requires increasing amounts of relationships or risks to provide same level of pleasure

one fellow, spending $2K per weekend for drugs and sex, figured was doing ok since enjoyed and could afford it – then God brought him to justice, destroyed his career and reputation; has his life… and some regrets

dispersion is coming (3)

uprooted from land, scattered among other nations

Promised Land given as symbol of future heavenly land of rest – did not deserve to keep the gift when refusing the Giver

tool God will use – Assyria

some ran to Egypt, others forcibly resettled far from Canaan – part of Sargon and Sennacherib’s plans for political expansion

God not simply bystander, he was moving nations around according to his will to bring about his purpose

deprived of worship (4-5)

sacrifices unacceptable

actions and motive both count with God – “honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me” (Isa. 29:13-14)

severe restriction on spiritual blessings

in absence of right obedience, God no longer providing for spiritual needs – his presence no longer with people, his prophets would be largely silent… only Daniel when all Israel in exile

destruction coming (6)

not of individual but most everything else

many would “escape” alive, but would die in far country, unable to ever return home – would keep life but little else

all they thought was of value would be lost – they couldn’t take it with them, even to Egypt or Assyria!

discarded prophetic warning (7-8)

attitude – prophet is fool, insane; hatred result of guilt

deep down knew the truth; outward display – ridiculed, mocked, minimized, dismissed message God sent by his prophets

accused those remaining faithful to God of mental illness – not able to show love, guilty of hate crimes, insensitivity

thought and acted that way because knew they were guilty of sin against God, refused to acknowledge it, hated to be reminded of it

action – hunted like animal

rather than repent and seek forgiveness, did all in their power to eliminate anything that would show up their sinfulness

went so far as to try to make church a safe comfortable place for rebellious unrepentant sinners: “The prophet is the watchman of Ephraim with my God; yet a fowler’s snare is on all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God.” ESV

deep corruption (9)

not surface, goes to the core of individual

do we see here Rom. 1:24, 26, 28 at work – “God gave them up”, relaxed or took off restraints allowing to be as sinful as they desired

both moral and spiritual

as in later case of David and Bathsheba, was sin against both man and God at Gibeah (Judg. 19 & 20) – started with contempt for God and his laws, went downhill from there

B. from mountaintop to valley v.10

delightful delicacy to distasteful depravity

they became as detestable/disgusting as what they loved” – had they remained faithful to true God, would have become like what they loved… but not disgusting

C. idolatry results in barrenness v.11-13

their glory shall fly away like a bird” – children should be viewed as blessing (Psalm 127:3)

those pursuing all wrong things like Israel have little desire for home and hearth – gets in the way of pleasure and prosperity, especially children – viewed as liability, not asset; so…. attitude toward marriage and procreation tanks

why bother get married, doesn’t matter who gets married, kids can come later after career and house and vaca property

“No birth, no pregnancy, and no conception”

fertility religion leads to infertility – cp. sexual revolution, feminist movement – misuse/perversion of God’s good gift prompts him to take gift away

not just biology keeps women who put off child-bearing with contraceptives until later from reproducing – God’s hand at work

“Ephraim will bring out his children to the murderer” – or Moloch, or the abortionist

many would lose lives trying to escape from Assyrian army; many more sacrificed to Moloch, or today Planned Parenthood

D. prophet’s prayer v.14

what else can just God do?

in face of such pervasive and awful rebellion and rejection of what was clearly right, God could not stand idly by doing nothing

E. rejection goes both ways v.15-17

rejected his moral law at Gibeah (9), rejected his religious law at Gilgal (15), demanding a king like all surrounding nations – iow, thoroughly rejected God

God will reject them, has been patient for generations, still is patient, yet…

evict them

pretense will come to end – calling themselves God’s people yet acting contrary; God will make dishonesty plain

love them no more

love as actions, not emotion – will display his covenant blessings to them no longer; does not mean God abandoned covenant, has become time for covenant curses to kick in (Deut. 28:15ff)

remove their hope

Communist China already figured it out – one-child rule not a good one, not conducive to continuation of Chinese culture

F. How can this be good?

consider all different ways, areas of life God puts up walls to limit propagation of evil

political – using foreign nation

how many times did God use nation or coalition of same to halt evil of Hitler, Gaddafi, and others

social

dispersion prevents collaboration; language barriers prevents communication – hinders ability to oppose spread of truth

infertility prevents procreation – slows down spread of evil within families, a huge blessing from God

religious – cuts off access to true God, communication from him

at same time puts brakes on their practice of idolatry – God limits those things that would limit spread of Gospel

misuse of freedom results in nearly total loss of freedoms

Israel played fast and loose with liberties God had given – until persistent misuse provoked God to put them in captivity

mercifully God does not take total hands-off approach until Judgment Day; and… know from other OT texts and NT ones, Israel’s destruction not total or permanent

God rarely rejects people permanently; instead he pushes them away, into place of suffering and hardship so they will eventually return to him. After all, he is gracious and merciful God who will abundantly pardon all who come to him by faith because he delights in mercy.

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