HOSEA: LOOKING BEYOND JUDGMENT TO RESTORATION
X: God's Indictment For Israel's Senseless Deceit
A. God's punishment is very painful, but afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness, Hebrews 12:11.
B. This was the theme of Hosea, the "'death-bed prophet of Israel'" and the last prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel before it fell to Assyria in divine judgment. (ESV Introduction to Hosea)
C. Hosea 6:11b-7:12 describes God's indictment of Israel for her senseless deceit, and we view it for our insight, application and edification (as follows):
II. God's Indictment For Israel's Senseless Deceit, Hosea 6:11b-7:12.
A. God said that though He wished to restore the fortunes of His people, though He wished to heal them, their sins were exposed, the crimes of their capitol city were revealed, hindering God's renewal, Hosea 6:11b-7:1a.
B. A key problem behind all this sin was self-deception: thieves broke into houses and bandits robbed in the streets, thinking they would not be held accountable for such actions while not realizing that God recalled all of their evil deeds, that their sins engulfed them, and such sins were always before God's eyes, Hosea 7:1b-2.
C. This deceit abounded even in the nation's leadership in the capitol city of Samaria, Hosea 7:3-7:
1. First, by means of their evil, Samaria's officials and princes made their king glad in treachery, Hosea 7:3. These leaders were all either spiritual or spiritual and physical adulterers (Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1395), men with a passion to disobey God like a hot oven while the baker kneads the dough only to fire into flames of great, evil passion at a moment's notice, Hosea 7:4.
2. Accordingly, on a day of special celebration when the king was the "center of attention," the king would carouse with his princes, mockers who were under the influence of wine, partying with him while they were also plotting his overthrow, Hosea 7:5; Ibid.
3. During this period of intrigue, the princes in smoldering passion for an assassination would approach their king in deceit until that passion exploded in fury as they killed the king, Hos. 7:6a-7a; Ibid. Accordingly, "(f)our of Israel's last six kings were murdered," Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Hosea 7:7.
4. Meanwhile, all of Israel's kings had fallen while no one called on the Lord for national stability, Hos. 7:7b.
D. Instead of looking to God for stability in their own government, the leaders of Israel pursued stability in forming alliances with foreign nations, becoming like a cake on hot stones that is burned on one side though not yet turned and thus has to be discarded as useless, Hosea 7:8; Ibid., Bible Know. Com., O. T.
E. Like an aging man who does not notice his increasing frailty, Israel's national strength was being devoured by foreigners who took her pay for national defense and Israel's hair was sprinkled with gray but the nation did not realize its own deterioration, the death of the nation being close while she did not realize it, Hos. 7:9; Ibid.
F. The nation's arrogant refusal to repent, to acknowledge her violation of God's covenant testified against her as being wicked, and she did not return to the Lord her God nor seek Him for all of her needs, Hosea 7:10; Ibid.
G. Like a dove with little sense, Israel tried to form foreign alliances for her security, calling to Egypt and going to Assyria, Hos. 7:11. This action was played out in history: "(u)nder Menahem (ca. 743 or 738 B. C.), Israel submitted to Assyrian suzerainty (2 Kings 15:19-20). Pekah (ca. 734 B. C.) joined a coalition against Assyria, which Tiglath-Pileser III violently crushed (2 Kings 15:29). Hoshea (ca. 732-722 B. C.), after acknowledging Assyrian rulership for a time, stopped tribute payments and sought an alliance with Egypt (2 Kings 17:3-4a). This act of rebellion led to the destruction of the Northern Kingdom (2 Kings 17:4b-6), the inevitable result of a foreign policy which for 20 years had been characterized by vacillating and expedient measures," Ibid.
H. Since in all of this futile foreign policy activity Israel had not sought the Lord for her national security, God Himself would punish the nation, Hosea 7:12a. Accordingly, as "Israel sought out alliances with all the naivete of a dove (v. 11), the Lord would come like a wise and well-equipped fowler and trap them," Ibid.; Hosea 7:12b. The nation of deceivers would be entrapped by the unsuspecting judgment of God Himself!
Lesson: Because of overwhelming deceit in the nation and especially in its leaders and because everyone sought human solutions to meet their needs instead of revering and obeying the Lord for blessing, God would entrap the nation to its surprise, entrapping Israel in His divine punishment for sin.
Application: May we not gratify our evil passions in deceit and face God's surprising entrapment in punishment, but humbly revere the Lord and walk uprightly in honesty before the Lord and other people for divine blessing.