Today: [Hosea 5] God Chastises the Silent Majority. In chapter 5 of Hosea the prophet cries out against those in all levels of society who refuse to get involved. In the final decades before Jerusalem falls and the temple is destroyed it is apparent that calamity is on the horizon, but the leaders and the priests and even the peoples refuse to heed the voice of God through the prophets and they refuse to come to the aid of their suffering brethren. For this reason, God withdraws Himself awaiting the day that the thinking of those who hold themselves aloof from the needs of others is reformed and they call to Him out of a pure heart.
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[Hos 5:1-15 KJV] 1 Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king; for judgment [is] toward you, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor. 2 And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I [have been] a rebuker of them all. 3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, [and] Israel is defiled. 4 They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms [is] in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD. 5 And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them. 6 They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find [him]; he hath withdrawn himself from them. 7 They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions. 8 Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, [and] the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud [at] Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin. 9 Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be. 10 The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: [therefore] I will pour out my wrath upon them like water. 11 Ephraim [is] oppressed [and] broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment. 12 Therefore [will] I [be] unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness. 13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah [saw] his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound. 14 For I [will be] unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, [even] I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue [him]. 15 I will go [and] return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.
In v. 1 of our chapter Hosea calls out to three groups of people who are held in accountability in the nation. He calls to the king, the priests and the house of Israel because of corruption in the nation that has been worked in Mizpah and in Tabor. V. 2 says that the revolt and rebellion of the people was profound against God to do violence to their neighbors in spite of the clearly issued rebuke of God against the merciless hearts of the people against one another. Many people feel if there is not direct prohibition of some course of action they choose to take that there is no accountability. The word of God however is clear, whether we choose to heed the word or see it as relevant to a choice we might be making, we are nonetheless accountable. In the nation of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah, there were aspects of the law of God that were never adhered to:
1. There is no indication that the people from Joshua’s day to the end of the kingdom EVER celebrated Jubilee and the forgiveness of debts.
2. There is no indication that they ever allowed their fellow Jews to go free from them once they had sold themselves into indentured slavery (as the law commanded every seven years)
3. There is no indication that the land was ever allowed to lie fallow every 7 years, in spite of God’s command that this be so. As a result, the people went into captivity for 70 years that God might reclaim His Sabbaths.
4. There is no indication that the high places and the groves were ever fully removed from the people, therefore they were pluralistic in their practices, worshipping God at the temple and practicing vile pagan rites in the groves and at the altars of foreign deities, which practices they felt constituted no discrepancy in their Jewish culture.
V. 4 describes the people as refusing to frame their doings in the context of divine accountability and therefore they would not turn to God because as the verse says a spirit of whoredoms was in the midst of the nation, compelling them by demonic influence to be incapable of willingness to know God or recognize His truth in their midst. This is the very same spirit of whoredoms that caused the Jews in Jesus’ day to refuse to acknowledge the Messiah they claimed to wait for even when He stood directly before them. In their purposeful and self-centered blindness they crucified the very Lord of Glory.
Because of their self-imposed pridefulness both Ephraim and in north and Judah in the south will fall in their iniquity. Even though v. 5 says that they do seek the Lord with their flocks and their herds they will not find Him for He has withdrawn Himself from them. We see this today in church culture, where 1000’s gather in huge churches across this country and across this land, yet the inveterate willfulness reflected in the choices made by the Christian demographic show a refusal to make a connection between systemic evil in our society and personal accountability we all bear for the state of the nation. We blame liberal decadence, or the LGBT community, or some other people group, but we must remember that with the intensity we level blame, we establish our own guilt. In all of this God constitutes this as an act of spiritual treachery against the Himself.
We can look at the generations coming up after us and question where did they get their morals, and from what darkened ethic do they choose their priorities, but v. 7 goes on to declare that we we have begotten strange children it is because we have forsaken the God of our own youth and received generationally the recompense of the idolatries of decades gone by in the 60’s the 70’s the 80’s and so on. How could we ever have made as a people the choices we made in decades past and not concluded that the implications of those choices would be visited upon our children and our children’s children as we look on with astonishment at the lack moral compass and the absence of spiritual hunger in the whole of the generations after us?
V. 8 declares that it is time to blow the trumpet because Ephraim will be desolate in the day of her rebuke. What does this mean? Ephraim, if you look back at the book of Judges and the book of Joshua was the largest and most formidable tribe in Israel, yet time and time again she found reason not to go to war. They held back when Joshua called them to fight alongside their brothers. They were elsewhere when Gideon fought the Midianites. Yet when the battles were over they would come roaring out of Mount Ephraim demanding their share of the spoil on threat of civil war. This is the false militancy of which we see much in the church. The people roar and complain and rattle their tongues like sabers on social media about the ungodliness and decadence of our culture, yet they are not in the fight, they are not doing ANYTHING differently but when a gain is made they demand their share of the glory when all they did was repost some fake news story on their Facebook profile. Because Ephraim saw the sickness of Judah, and her struggle but did not come to her defense, the Father declares in verse 13 that her wound would be incurable.
Who is Ephraim? Ephraim is what we used to call the silent majority. Ephraim is that person who wants to voice an opinion without getting involved on or doing anything any differently in their lives. Ephraim is that attitude in our culture that says as long as the problem is not in their backyard then it isn’t relevant to their lives. Because of this attitude, wherever it exists, God declares that there will be no rescue of them because they went not with their brothers to the fight. For this reason, in v. 15 the Lord declares He will return to His place and not respond until the people in their unnecessary affliction will choose to seek His face early and in sincerity.
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