This is the continued message of judgement from the Lord.
In verse 1, Israel is told not to celebrate as the other nations do, ending in harlotry. The imagery is of the men who slept on the threshing floor during harvest, to protect the crops; and prostitutes would come to them, since they were sleeping away from their normal family situation.
Ultimately, they will end up back in the slavery of Egypt, whether it actually be Egypt or metaphorically in Assyria- but not to remain in the Promise Land.
Verses 4-6 describe the sad state of affairs when their won't be drink offerings, their meat offerings won't please the Lord, the bread will defile rather than bring life. Instead of festivals they will be taken captive. As I have noted before, so much of our life is provision from God that we don't even see and appreciate. He set up this system for them that gave them what they needed while they were close to Him; and they expected that those blessings would continue to flow without them upholding their portion of the covenant.
Verse 7 announces that the days of punishment and retribution have arrived. The prophet (Hosea) is supposed to let the people know; but they dismiss hm as crazy. Their sin and hostility is so great, the prophet's message cannot get through.
The same is true today. Those that try to maintain the truth, even simply, obvious truths, such as gender, find themselves facing hostility. Even something blatantly obvious, such as trying to protect the children from extreme perversion or provide women the same safe spaces they've had for decades, is met with violent hostility.
Hosea describes Israel as grapes in the wilderness. Fresh fruit is the desert. But they chose shame and detestable behavior. Their glory flew away. Birth, pregnancy, and even conception will stop. They will be bereaved until no man is left. Woe, indeed, when he departs from them.
Although Israel was planted in a pleasant meadow, they will end with no new life. Slaughtering their own children, miscarrying, and dry breasts. New life is from God. We can't do even these basic biological functions without Him.
He actually states in verse 15 that He has come to hate them.
- Because of their deeds, He will drive them out of His house. We may think our stuff is our own. We may think our lives are our own. They are not. They are His and He will give and take according to His will.
- I will love them no more. Ouch. Not much more to add to that.
- All their princes are rebels. So goes the leadership; so goes the country. And vice versa!
- Their root is dried up. they will bear no fruit. Even when they bear children, I will slay the precious ones in the womb.
- Cast away for not listening.
- They will wander among the nations.
That is grim.
When the faithful, long suffering God comes to the end of the line with you; He will let go. There is a season to turn to Him and a season when it is too late.
Not the message of bunnies and roses we'd like to think of about God, but He is consistent and we are given a zillion chances.
This is the last chapter of the judgement of the Lord. Hope for restoration in coming.
However...today is not that day. The agriculture analogies continue.
In verse 1, Israel is described as a luxuriant vine. However, the richer they became , the more they worshiped and sacrificed to idols.
Because their heart is faithless, He will now tar down those false altars and pillars.
In this judgment they will see that the king they had been exalting made very poor decisions on their behalf.Suddenly, all that they worshiped and sacrificed too will be shown to be hollow and unable to help. Jeroboam's calf, that started it all, cementing the divide between Israel and Judah, will be mourned over as it carried to Assyria as a tribute to their king.
Somewhere in verses 6, 7, and 8, I am starting to see language that reminds me of Revelations. I think we've moved into End Times prophesy.
For sure the end of verse 8 when they begin to beg for the mountains to cover them and the hills to fall on them. (Revelations 6:16)
And verse 9, for sure, sounds like the final battle of the apocalypse, "Will not the battle against the sons of iniquity overtake them in Gibeah?"
Verse 11 describes Ephraim as a trained heifer that worked because she wanted to; but now God will place a heavy yoke over her and she and Judah will plow. To me, that says that they had been given freedom; but now, they energy will be required to do work not of their own choosing.
The MacArthur Bible Commentary points out that the "threshing" that the trained heifer did was light work because they walked around unmuzzled and crushed the grain. Conversely, now Israel and, eventually, Judah, would be yoked together and doing hard labor- without access to the food the threshers could snack on, because they worshiped and sacrificed to false deities.
Verses 12-15 wrap up, like a summary. They are told to sow with a view to righteousness and reap in accordance with kindness. They've let the ground go fallow and now God will use them (with His heavy yoke) to break up the ground that has gone fallow.
For it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you.Hosea 10:12b
They plowed wickedness and reaped injustice. The fruit of this was lies. When they trusted in their own strength, they were believing a lie, as when they relied on neighbors and idols.
- tumult will arise among your people
- fortresses destroyed
- the city of Bethel destroyed (center of idol worship)
- mothers and children dashed into pieces
- the king of Israel completely cut off
When this judgement was complete, the era of the kings came to an end. Judah has a bit longer, but their experiment of having a king like their neighboring nations bears the final fruit of the the death of the nation and a very long season of wandering.
Sin and folly always bear the ultimate fruit of death and separation from the Lord.