1 February 2013

Hosea 9:10-17

"Because they have not listened to him, my God will reject them." (v. 17)


Hosea continues to announce God's judgement against the northern kingdom of Israel (Ephraim) - a judgement based on their idolatry and refusal to listen to the one true God. 

The passage begins with an account of the Lord's election of Israel. God found Israel "like grapes in the wilderness" and like the "first fruit on the fig tree" (v. 10), metaphors that recall God's choice of Israel from among the nations. The prophet, however, quickly turns to Israel's idolatry at Baal Peor (Numbers 25:1-5). There, Israel made idols and so turned away from the God who had led them through the wilderness. The idolatry of Hosea's contemporaries had its precedents in history. 

Given such idolatry, harsh consequences are to follow for the people of Israel. The glory - and reputation - of Israel will be no more as they are exiled to Assyria (verse 11). Children will be slaughtered (verse 13), and the people of God will become "wanderers among the nations" (v. 17). This is a difficult and painful prophecy.

The wicked leaders are partly to blame, with Gilgal (verse 15) representing the place where kingship was first inaugurated (1 Samuel 11:14-15). "All their officials are rebels" (v. 15) the prophet claims, reflecting the succession of scheming and idolatrous kings at this stage in Israel's history.

In light of the unfaithfulness of Israel, God will reject the nation (verse 17). We know from Hosea's later chapters, however, that such rejection is not the final word, and that God will "heal their disloyalty" and "love them freely" (Hosea 14:4).

To Ponder

  • What role do you think leaders have in helping the Church remain faithful?
  • Does God still judge nations today? If so, how? 

Bible notes author

Ed Mackenzie

Dr Ed Mackenzie is the Discipleship Development Officer for the Methodist Church and an Associate Lecturer at Cliff College. He lives in Derbyshire with his wife Ali and their two sons.