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Hosea 8 (Israel and Judah)

Having shown Israel's crimes, Chapter 8 is about the judgement.

It doesn't take long to get into the consequences. In verse 1, Israel is told to sound the alarm...battle cry.

Like an eagle the enemy comes against the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed My covenant, and rebelled against My law.

Hosea 8: 1b

After everything we've read about Israel, since Jeroboam I, it's not hard to imagine God allowing Assyria to swoop like an eagle (or vulture). Terrifying; but easy to imagine. However, notice where the eagle swoops--against the house of the Lord. The "h" in house is lower case, and future sentences confirm it's Israel and not Judah, Jerusalem, or the Temple. However, what is so interesting to me is that God is still identifying with them very personally as He passes judgement on them.

It would be so easy for Him to abandon them altogether...'good riddance, you evil children.' But that's not our Lord. He is faithful beyond anything we can imagine. They are still His house.

When I was 16, just four months after I received my driver's license I rolled my car. I actually rolled it several times...and landed on the roof. Blessedly, I landed on our family property. So, although I broke the fence and totaled the car, all the property damage was suffered by our family. I ran home from the car, crying, and my mom called the police. The next day my dad towed the car around to the front of our house and left the wreckage parked there for 6 months, so I had to look at it every time I walked out the front door.

I didn't say a word to them about either of those choices...but I felt deeply betrayed by both of them.

I felt like they each made a decision that hurt me for their own benefit.

But I can see now that, I believe, they were both inviting an eagle to descend on their house to teach me a lesson. My first accident wasn't teenage fender-bender. I rolled that car side-to-side a couple of times and end over end. If it had been the tin-can cars we build today, and not the rock solid steel of the past, I would have been a pancake. And I suspect my parents knew that if they didn't take this as serious as it could possibly be taken, the lesson wouldn't land.

Israel had wrecked a whole nation, rolling it side-to-side and end-over-end and then expecting the Lord to swoop in and save them. This time the consequences had to be so great that the remnant He saved would learn the lesson and leave a path forward for the future.

Thank you, Lord that You count me in Your house, even when I've done so much against Your word. Please let me learn my lesson before you have to send in Assyria to my life.

In response, in verse 2, Israel cries out to God, "My God, we of Israel know Thee!"

But it's too late. They may know God; but they also trusted in idols, foreign nations, and false gods. If they really knew God, they would know that his name is Quanna, which means Jealous. (Exodus 34:14)

Verse 3 tells us that Israel has "rejected the good," and now the enemy will pursue him. He reminds them that they chose the kings and princes without Him and made idols of precious metal.

In verse 5 he rejects Jeroboam's golden calves- a foundational part of drawing his nation away from the Lord. He informs them that the man-made calf will be broken apart. They sowed the wind and will reap the whirlwind. The wind wipes away all the grain from the head and anything left will be eaten by strangers. Israel has been swallowed up.

Wiersbe does a good job expanding on this metaphor. They were sowing seeds by reaching out to Assyria and other foreign "saviors". They though these seeds would bring them a bumper crop of good things. But what actually grew from those seeds was a whirlwind that destroyed everything in its path.

Now Israel exists only among the nations. They replied on foreign nations like hired lovers. And now the bill has come due.

The Lord points out all of the altars multiplied across the nation meant for sinning against the Lord. They made so many strange beliefs that the 10,000 precepts they already had from Him seems strange. And even the gifts they sacrifice to Him brings no delight- as he is just one of many they offer themselves to. They eat the meat from the sacrifices without understanding that it was supposed to be a thing sacred and set apart to the Lord.

They will return to Egypt.

Hosea 8:13b

And in this context, I take that to mean, they will return to being slaves among another nation, since they defiled the Promise Land set apart for them.

The chapter ends by pointing out that "Israel has forgotten His maker and built palaces; and Judah has multiplied fortified cities; but I will send a fire on its cities that it may consume its palatial dwellings."

Judah was folded in there in the end. It still had a season left to try and turn to the Lord, but was not far behind Israel.

Things can look like they are going well. You can be surrounded with wealth and protection...but if you are not rooted in the Rock and leaning on the Lord; keep your eye out for the eagle.

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