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.

Salt or Scum?

December 19, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Ezekiel, parables | 3 Comments
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God instructed Ezekiel to moan and groan like a man in pain.

Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh.

Ezekiel 21:12

God would use Jerusalem’s enemies as His “sword.” They had made friends with, and, even worse, become the sinful lovers of, God’s enemies. God’s people had failed to use the “sword” He had given them to conquer their enemies: the sword of His Word. As a Christian you are supposed to battle His enemies with the Holy Scriptures.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Ephesians 6:17

Ezekiel delivered God’s warning to King Zedekiah:

I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.

Ezekiel 21:27

Ezekiel Chapter 22 deals with the overthrow of Jerusalem, which would be particularly bad. The siege, hunger, and pestilence would give way to outright slaughter, matching the wickedness that took place when the idol-worshiping Jewish people began to bring their outside sins into their own homes.

Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths. In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness. In thee have they discovered their fathers’ nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution. And one hath committed abomination with his neighbour’s wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father’s daughter.

Ezekiel 22:8-11

This wickedness mirrors the times in which we live, and sounds like a description of an afternoon talk show or a supermarket tabloid. Like in the days of Noah, God sees that every imagination of the thoughts of men’s hearts is only evil continually.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

II Timothy 3:1-3

Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken. The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

Ezekiel 22:27-30

The political leaders were corrupt, and they were engaged in wicked cooperation with the religious leaders and false prophets. Ezekiel had attempted, as a son of man, to find a man to make up the hedge and stand in the gap – to fill the hole in the wall that Ezekiel had dug to act out the fleeing king and leaders. But these corrupt leaders were too anxious to dig the hole and escape through it – to escape with their stuff. There were other prophets who were willing, but the fact that God had to seek them out meant there were not enough of them or their sins were so great that Jerusalem could not be spared.

In Chapter 23 God gives Ezekiel the parable of the two sisters who prostituted themselves and committed adultery against God. This is a particularly explicit passage of Scripture and one that is tough to exposit in mixed company. Verses 25-30 describe the punishment and humiliation of a prostitute by an army, including the cutting-off of the ears and nose. When God begins to describe the types of sins that are a sign of terrible judgment coming, and He uses the term covenant-breakers, remember this is a very serious term. Those who have entered into a covenant with God, and then break it, are like a wife who has become a whore or an adulteress, and they are subject to severe punishment.

Aholah is the name of the older sister in the parable, and is used for Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom, Israel. Aholibah is the younger sister who represents Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom, Judah. Aholah means “her tent” because the tent associated with the tabernacle in Samaria was not God’s tent. Aholibah means “my tent is in her” because the temple in Judah was still known as God’s dwelling place, even though the glory of God had departed as shown in Chapter 10 of Ezekiel. Aholah sinned first and cheated on God, and Aholibah followed her example. God punished Israel and miraculously saved Judah. However, Judah’s sin was even greater because she ignored the warning. She called out to her lovers instead.

In Chapter 24 God told Ezekiel to utter another parable – the parable of the boiling pot. The imagery goes back to Chapter 11 where the people in Jerusalem considered themselves to be the choice cuts and considered the exiled Jews in Babylon to be the scraps. The false prophets, politicians, and religious leaders accused people of being unpatriotic if they didn’t build houses, spend money, and pile up their “stuff.” There is an old saying that “a watched pot never boils,” but God is always watching.

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city! I will even make the pile for fire great. Heap on wood, kindle the fire, consume the flesh, and spice it well, and let the bones be burned. Then set it empty upon the coals thereof, that the brass of it may be hot, and may burn, and that the filthiness of it may be molten in it, that the scum of it may be consumed. She hath wearied herself with lies, and her great scum went not forth out of her: her scum shall be in the fire. In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee.

Ezekiel 24:9-13 (emphasis added)

God’s people are supposed to be the salt of the earth, but instead they were the scum of the earth.

The Prophet “Paddles” His Audience

September 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Posted in Ezekiel | 2 Comments
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In Chapter 16 Ezekiel’s sermons began to grow in intensity. The religious leaders of his day had come to call on him, hoping to be entertained by the “crazy preacher man,” but they got more than they bargained for when the prophet started comparing them to a cheating wife.

And in all thine abominations and thy whoredoms thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, when thou wast naked and bare, and wast polluted in thy blood. And it came to pass after all thy wickedness, (woe, woe unto thee! saith the Lord GOD;) That thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place, and hast made thee an high place in every street.

Ezekiel 16:22-24

Hosea had a similar message.

Ezekiel had preached about the unfit vine and the adulterous wife. In his third sermon, in Chapter 17, he got very specific in his prophecy and used the image of three cedar trees. These represented kings. The first two were wicked – King Jehoiakin, who had already been deposed by Nebuchadnezzar, and King Hezekiah, who was King at the time of this prophecy. These two wicked kings were compared to the coming King Messiah:

Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent:

Ezekiel 17:22

Here is the pattern of Ezekiel’s witnessing. He used his O.A.R.S.

1. He O.pened the Word of God: “The word of the Lord came unto me, saying…

2. He A.lleged. He held up their exposed idolatry next to the Word of God. Sorcery and idol-worship had previously been condemned by God in the Book of Deuteronomy.

3. He R.easoned. These religious leaders knew their history. They knew their kings and their genealogies, and they could comprehend the comparisons between the great cedars – and the leaders of the enemies of God, who were being used by God – to eagles.

4. He S.hared by preaching and proclamation. Ezekiel, the “man of God” – called the “Son of Man” – sat in the house of God and used the Word of God to proclaim the Son of God.

Spiritual Cheating

July 22, 2009 at 9:01 am | Posted in Biblical neighbors, Ezekiel | 24 Comments
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The Bible shows that, throughout history, God’s people have been given the responsibility of being witnesses to their lost neighbors, while being warned of God not to join in with any sinful practices.

However, in the Old Testament we find, time and time again, God’s people succumbing to the worldly and fleshly activities of unbelievers they lived among. This is still a problem today, as Christians grieve the Holy Spirit by crossing the line, and going from being “in the world,” to living like we are “of the world.” To show the seriousness of this in the Lord’s eyes, He likens such unfaithfulness to fornication and adultery.

As God’s people began to dabble in idol-worship, pagan religious practices, and making treaties with heathen nations, rather than trusting in the Lord their God, He used the prophet Ezekiel to speak forth some of the strongest language in the whole Bible.

Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbours, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger.

Ezekiel 16:26

Believers today must avoid the temptation of committing spiritual prostitution. We must not invest the great blessings we enjoy into worldly, or flesh-driven, pursuits, even those of our neighbors.


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