5 February 2013Hosea 10:9-15
"I will come against the wayward people to punish them; and nations shall be gathered against them when they are punished for their double iniquity." (v. 10)
Today's passage begins on a very bleak note indeed. Hosea is continuing to spell out how God intends to punish the people for the sins they have committed. Whilst the first part of the chapter dealt with Bethel, we now move southwards to Gibeah and the sense of a respite, in terms of punishment, is not on the cards. Not only is a past war brought back into memory, but it is promised again. The previous war had been a civil one but in this new one defeat is prophesied and the outcome, that the land will be plundered, could not be grimmer. The harshness does not end there, by implication people will be taken into slavery and made to work the ground. Hope appears to be in short supply and yet it is there at the start of verse 12: "Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap steadfast love". So amidst the anger and the wrath comes a faint light that the people need to look too.
The second part of the passage continues on bleakly; all because the people have turned their back on God and tried to do things by their own methods and in their own strength. In other words, they have carried on like they didn't need God. Verse 13 goes into details: they relied on their own strength; planted wickedness; have reaped evil; have eaten the fruit of deception. The people have become immersed in a culture of sin, selfishness and denial of almighty God. The crime has been committed, the evidence has been examined and now the judgement is being metered out.
The end of the chapter is completely devastating: military strongholds will be overwhelmed, young mothers with their new born will be slaughtered and everyone will be affected. To end all the misery, the king, the figurehead, will be wiped out too, leaving them leaderless. What a terrible end to a terrible announcement!
- Does all tragedy lead back to God? Why, or why not?
- Are there times when you feel you are suffering under judgement?
- Does a loving God inflict misery on people?