Friday, January 22, 2016
More On Israel’s Destruction
“Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images.” (Hosea 10:1)
Israel was like a seedless grape vine. The fruit had no seed and thus could not reproduce naturally. They cannot be propagated except by special techniques, and if left to themselves will die out. People often prefer seedless grapes, because they don’t have to deal with the seed, and people preferred Israel”s practices because they didn’t have to deal with God’s commands. Just as many people today think those seedless grapes are normal, Israel thought their religious practices were right.
“Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images. For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us? They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field.” (Hosea 10:2-4)
When God intervenes, Israel will begin to realize there has been a problem. God will destroy their altars and idols, and take away their independence, and they will finally understand it is because they have not feared him. They had promised to serve God, but not kept their vow. As a result God’s judgment was coming like poisonous weeds growing in the furrows of plowed field because they tend to collect the water.
“The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Bethaven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it. It shall be also carried unto Assyria for a present to king Jareb: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel.” (Hosea 10:5-6)
The destruction of the golden calves at Bethaven, the House of Idols, would cause fear among the rulers of the tribe of Ephraim and the nation of Israel. The priests and worshippers would be saddened that there was no longer respect for their beliefs, and that gold would be given as a present for the Assyrian king. Ephraim and Israel would lose their pride.
“As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water. The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.” (Hosea 10:7-8)
The king in Samaria would be destroyed as if he were no more substantial than a little foam. The high places where they worshipped idols would be destroyed and the altars overgrown with thorn bushes and weeds. In total depression, they would cry out for and earthquake or landslide to kill them.
“O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah: there they stood: the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them. It is in my desire that I should chastise them; and the people shall be gathered against them, when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows.” (Hosea 10:9-10)
The tribe of Benjamin tried to protect the men of Gibeah from punishment in Judges 20, and four hundred years later, Israel was still protecting people from the consequences of their sin. It was God’s purpose to chastise and correct them, and he would bring the people against them like israel came against the tribe of Benjamin when they joined themselves to Gibeah.
“And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn; but I passed over upon her fair neck: I will make Ephraim to ride; Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods. Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.” (Hosea 10:11-13)
Ephraim was like a young cow that had been trained to pull the threshing sled around the threshing floor. It was relatively easy work and they could eat as much of the grain as they wanted. Now they are going to be put to much harder work pulling the plow with someone riding them while Judah would guide the plow and the rest of the nation of Israel would break up the dirt clods. They needed to get down to the business of serving God and put away their sin. They had gotten lazy and rebellious, convinced they could just keep on like they had done before.
“Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Betharbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children. So shall Bethel do unto you because of your great wickedness: in a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off.” (Hosea 10:14-15)
There would arise a great conflict among the people of Israel, and they would be destroyed as completely as Solomon had destroyed some of the cities of Ammon, Moab, and Syria. The house of God would turn on them just as they had on others because of their sin, and in a brief battle, their king would be captured and killed.