Arraignment and Prosecution

August 1, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Posted in Hosea | 1 Comment
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The first three chapters of the Book of Hosea deal with the sins of idolatry, ingratitude, and hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is more than just saying one thing and doing another; it’s wrongfully applying the time and energy given to us by God to further the cause of something or someone else besides God. One example of this is parenting. The children that God has given me bear my last name, but they really belong to God. As an entrusted manager or steward over them, I have a responsibility to control the way they behave, so that they glorify their true Owner, God. Discipline is not easy, but if I don’t do it, I’m being a hypocrite. I’m focusing on my peace and my ideas instead of shaping what God has given me for His purpose. In essence, I’m committing idolatry and I’m committing a form of spiritual “adultery” against God.

Hosea Chapters 4-8 deal with God’s response to His people as they are compared to adulterous spouses or disobedient children.

Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.

Hosea 4:1

The Lord’s “controversy” in this context is comparable to a legal claim – as if God is bringing charges or a lawsuit against the people.

The specific charges are listed in the next verse:

By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.

Hosea 4:2

The Lord also presents evidence of their idolatry:

My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God. They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.

Hosea 4:12-13

The people are given no opportunity to mount a “defense,” for this is pointless with an omniscient, omnipresent God. They didn’t even have enough knowledge to present a defense – they were forced to “plead the Fifth.”

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Hosea 4:6

They had no “knowledge” of God. They did not “know” Him. They had no intimate relationship with Him.

Face to Face

November 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Common Expressions, Ezekiel | 9 Comments
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In Chapter 18 Ezekiel begins to address the excuses of those who were being convicted by his messages. Their chief excuse seems to have been the age-old excuse of, “It’s someone else’s fault.” The people were saying that God wasn’t fair, even though He was keeping the covenant. The covenant breakers were blaming the Covenant Keeper.

God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked.

Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

Ezekiel 18:23

For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Ezekiel 18:32

In Chapter 19 Ezekiel lays the responsibility at the feet of the the leaders. Israel is compared to a lion, but a lion that has been captured and taken into captivity.

And say, What is thy mother? A lioness: she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions.

Ezekiel 19:2

Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit. And they put him in ward in chains, and brought him to the king of Babylon: they brought him into holds, that his voice should no more be heard upon the mountains of Israel.

Ezekiel 19:8-9

Ezekiel also compared Israel to a vine, but a vine that had become withered and unfruitful.

Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters.

Ezekiel 19:10

But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them. And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground.

Ezekiel 19:12-13

This comparison would have reminded them of Israel’s blessing in Genesis 49.

In Ezekiel Chapter 20 the elders come to Ezekiel’s house, supposedly to “enquire of the Lord.”

And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to enquire of the LORD, and sat before me.

Ezekiel 20:1

But they had forgotten that Ezekiel was getting his discernment directly from God, and he gave them a history lesson instead. He reminded them that, even though they had been required to dwell among the heathen, they should not have been converted to the heathens’ ways. As Christians we should beware of becoming a part of the culture we’re trying to reach. “Undercover evangelicals” may think that they can lift up sinners out of their sin, but what usually winds up happening is that the Christians wind up getting dragged down into sin and ruining their testimony. Jesus ate with the publicans and sinners. He talked with them, and cared for them while they were yet in sin. But He did not sin with them.

And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone.

Ezekiel 20:32

George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That is what was happening to these Israelites. They had not learned from the mistakes of their forefathers and they were experiencing the same type of chastening from God.

And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.

Ezekiel 20:35 (emphasis added)

God told them that He would bring them into a figurative wilderness and deal with them face to face. This is in contrast to God telling Ezekiel to “set his face” toward Jerusalem. New Testament Christians look forward to seeing God “face to face,” because now we see through a glass, darkly. We are excited because we will know as we are known. But we have to make sure that we’re not like the people of Israel in Ezekiel’s day, who didn’t really “know” God. Seeing God face to face is different than seeing eye to eye with God. Seeing God face to face is an exciting and joyful prospect to those who know God through Jesus Christ, but it is terrifying for those who are known by God for their unfaithfulness, and do not know Him via Christ.

Light Gives Safety

September 12, 2011 at 9:53 am | Posted in Biblical Light, Selected Psalms | 8 Comments
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It is a pretty well-accepted truth that most children are afraid of the dark. What’s more, this fear is not always as baseless as we like to claim. Darkness can provide cover for many dangerous things. Light gives safety because it informs us of what sort of environment we are in, and what sorts of things or creatures are occupying that environment with us. Light tells us what our true condition is.

[A Psalm of David.] The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1.

People are afraid of the dark because we fear the unknown. Knowing God brings light and security when we trust Him. If you know and fear God, you need not fear anything else. If you do not know and fear God, you should fear everything else.


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