THE SPIRIT OF EPHRAIM
I had someone ask me if I though the U.S.A. had any relationship to the "lost tribe of Ephraim." I told them that I believed it did only not in the way which many are making the connection. There are folks who would try to make the U.S.A. or the white races part of the "ten lost tribes", yet to do this requires some major rewriting of Scripture. Just one point of disagreement would be Shem (the yellow races, Hebrews included), Ham (the dark skinned race, Egypt included), and Japheth (the white race, Angelo-Saxon included). To try to make the white race part of the Hebrew (Jewish) race would be to mix Shem and Japheth.
Yet, no doubt the connection between Ephraim and the U.S. is very close (close enough to get our attention), which we will see as we look at an application of Hosea chp. 13. This is lengthy but we do hope you will take the time to look through it. There may be some material which might be of use. The connection between our society and EPHRAIM is to obvious to pass over lightly and quickly.
13:1 Ephraim was exalted and made strong as the direct result of his dead's dedication to God. Joseph served God with all of his heart and soul, with a complete dedication to God. Joseph is the only one other than Christ who has no sin mentioned of him. The result of Joseph's dedication to God and His principles of life brought tremendous blessing upon Ephraim (Gen. 48:20) even above his brothers. The blessing of strength and numbers. Read the prophecy.
Now, Ephraim inherited this. He grew mighty in numbers and strength because of the dedication of his father. Notice what this increase in strength did (the cross reference here is Prov. 18:12). Rather than this increase in strength causing humility, and thanksgiving to the God of his father, it caused haughtiness, pride. When Ephraim spoke, the rest of the tribes trembled because of his might. (Therefore the purpose of all education should be how to serve, not how to lead. "Training tomorrows leaders" should be "Training tomorrows servants, Gal. 5:13.) He exalted himself in Israel... His physical strength caused him to exalt himself. There is no record of Ephraim being humble.
Thus we see: First, his Father served God in total, complete dedication. His dad inherited the manifold blessings of God. These blessings were passed down to Ephraim from his dad. Second, these blessings caused Ephraim to be lifted up with pride and exalt himself, rather than humility. Third, As Ephraim prospered by the grace of God, rather than serve God he served Baal (simply means "lord"-- Baal would be a generic name for many false gods , Baalzebub means, "lord of the flies").
The wages of sin is death. and Ephraim died, (I Tim. 5:6). He died spiritually and he died as a nation. His sin separated him from God who is the giver of all life. He took the promised prosperity from his dad (Joseph) and used it to serve his false gods. Really the Lord is only repeating what He has already said (10:1, 11, etc.). Ephraim took what God blessed his father with as the result of his faithfulness to God and served other gods with it.
Let's look at a short application of this here and will pursue it much farther as we go along. This is exactly what we have done in the U.S.A.. We are not the physical heirs of Ephraim but we sure are his spiritual heirs. No one can deny that as we compare Ephraim's spirit with modern Christianities spirit.
Our fathers were totally committed to God. Check any good history of our nation from 1500-1750. That 250 year period saw a complete dedication to the Lord God and His laws and principles of life (Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, B.F. Morris). This nation inherited a tremendous blessing of prosperity and numbers (strength) as the direct result of our fathers dedication to the Lord God.
But, look what has happened. That blessing of God has been, and is being more and more used to pursue the false gods of this world. Materialism, lust, pride, etc.. There has been very little humility since this nation was founded and even less as God prospered it. Just like Ephraim, rather than glorify God as He prospers us (INCLUDING OUR INDIVIDUAL LIVES) we have and are using that prosperity to pursue the false gods. This is human nature and unless it is guarded against, in fact warred against, we will end up serving the gods of this world with the prosperity God provides. Wealth comes from Him, and as with all things which comes from Him, this also can be usurped by the enemy and totally corrupted.
I am inclined to think that even when people make a deal with the devil to gain wealth, the Lord says, "Okay, if it's that important to you, here you are. You will also have to pay the results" and they do. "Go ahead, try it your way" and the terrible results come to pass. "Man has been given the freedom to sin but not the freedom to avoid the results."
It doesn't matter how prosperous we seem to be, when we "offend in Baal, we die." When we recognize other "lords" over us, only death is in store for us. Either as an individual, church, or nation. The nation only reflects the individual's attitude toward God. We might add, it reflect the Christian's attitude.
V. 2, of course the context is Ephraim. They served the calves under Jeroboam. They worshipped Baal under Ahab, and here they go the next step with their individual, private lives and make images of silver. It doesn't take as much money to make images of silver as it would gold. "According..", they made gods as they felt was best. They decided what their gods should look, act and be like. "Kiss..", a sign of homage, worship (Ps. 2:12, kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are they which put their trust in Him). Might mention here, as the people worshipped the "hosts of the heavens" being unable to kiss the moon, they kissed their hand and threw the kiss to the moon. We still hold this practice today as "blowing a kiss" to someone which we cannot reach.
Now for the application: (1.) The blessings of God were given in response to the faithfulness of their fathers. (2.) Rather than this drawing them closer to God it caused pride. (3.) The pride, prosperity, caused a turning to Baal which resulted in death. (4.) (Isa. 9:13)-- We see that even though God smote them they would not return but continued on in their sin. (5.) They made idols according to their own understanding. Rather than returning to the Lord God as the plagues and droughts came they became even more committed to their false god.
We are living in a sad day. We have prospered because our fathers served, believed and obeyed God. We have used this prosperity to serve other gods. Gods of lust, covetousness, pride, etc. (might say here, gods of science, education). God has warned but rather than return to Him it has caused us to become more committed to the false gods. A very pointed example of our day of course is AIDS (as well as the rest of the VD). No doubt these terrible diseases are a direct result of the refusal to honour God's laws regarding marriage, sex and morality.
But rather than an all-out cry to reinstate God's laws in these areas the answer is more money, more scientific research and more education. So rather than the death of 13:1 causing a return to God, it causes a greater commitment to the other gods, -- money, science, education.
We are not picking on AIDS but it is one of the more well-known of all right now. We have heard "tens of millions will be dead in the 1990's if something isn't done." No doubt God is sending judgment against sin. But rather than men turning to God and repenting of their sin, look at what they are doing. They want billions spent on research and education about it all the way down to the third grade. There is no way to avoid it, AIDS is causing more of a dedication to the false gods of science and education. It should be causing men to see their hopelessness in the face of this dreaded disease and calling them to repentance before the God of heaven. It should be causing men to kiss the son...
The drunkenness of our day is treated the same as well as other areas like drugs. If we would believe all the propaganda you would think that with enough money and education any problem of man can be cured. This clearly shows us the humanist philosophy which says that the right combination of laws can save mankind. Many Christians are caught in this. This is saying that the state can save; that salvation is by serving the state with total dedication and obeying its every desire. We look to them to provide the right leaders, laws, money to combat these social ills as well as to educate people to the evils of these things.
See the thinking behind all of this? "We must teach our people (kids down to the 3rd grade) about drugs and the harm they do. We must teach about the dangers of VD, AIDS etc.. We must teach about the danger of alcohol. "If we teach all of these things then these people can make an intelligent decision and we can keep these social evils under control." No. Anything which is against God's law hold a tremendous excitement in it. Man will pursue it until they die or are saved. This is one reason why sex outside of marriage is so exiting and it loses that excitement once they are married.
This is the lie satan offered Eve. "Eve, if you will only eat of this tree of knowledge you will no longer need God's word to tell you what is right or wrong. You will be able to make you own intelligent decision." All of the understanding in the world will not enable a person to make the choice which will please God and has life in it. The way which seems right to a man is the way of death. The way that seems wrong is the way of life, Prov. 16:25.
So we see here that knowledge and education apart from God only makes the person more convinced their ways of reasoning are more correct. It makes it harder for them to follow God's ways. It only strengthens the original sin that said, "If you know enough about the matter then you can make the right decision without the word of God." Only God's word and His grace can enable man to make the right decision. In fact, that decision has already been made for us.
It is understanding God's word and applying it in the area of business, science, math, language, music, art, medicine, law, politics, marriage, the works of our hands as general labour, interpersonal relationships, sex, in fact, even in our eating and drinking. Understanding what God's word says in each of these areas, applying that law-word of God, then making the decision based upon His word and we will make the decision which has life in it. Anything less has death built in.
The answer to the massive confusion today on even "Surrogate motherhood" isn't more education, counseling, or more money for research. The answer is found in God's word and the decision is made... Surrogate motherhood is WRONG. (Remember the Challenger disaster. They sent in a bus load of "counselors" for the poor kids who had to see that on T.V.. Where were the preachers?)
Another application here much to good to pass up.
According to their own understanding... Not many people today are serving the God of the Bible. Almost all are serving gods after their own understanding. They put together a god which they can understand. They want a god who they can figure out, and that fits into their timetable. They want a god which will let them do as they desire or as they can reason out on their own.
The "church" today seems more interested in a god which will fit into the tradition of the elders (Mk. 7:5-9) than in the Lord God of Scriptures. We had a young man come see us one evening. He told of the B.B.F. College in Springfield, MO. They teach all views of creation, evolution, etc., and make no effort to cover it up. The reason given for it is that young people need to know the other side (doctrine of errors) so they will know how to combat it. This is tradition and nothing else.
The word of God is very plain on this. 1. Jer. 10:2, Learn not the way of the heathen... 2. Col. 2:3-8; I Tim. 4:7, 8, we are to avoid anything which does not build us or our children up in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thus we see that such a doctrine as "You need to know so you will know how to stand against it" is nothing but a lie of the enemy designed to win God's people away from the truth. These are enticing words used to undermine God's word.
We want a god who will allow us to keep these corrupt ideas which appeal to the flesh and to the human understanding. We don't want a God whose thoughts and ways are so much above our thoughts and ways that we need a supernatural revelation to understand and approach Him. Is this not why He had to have a literal, physical nation in the OT (Israel)? Because His ways and thoughts are so much higher than ours that we could not even begin to understand them unless He acted them out. This He did with Israel. Isa. 55:8, 9 doesn't fit well with modern theology so we must try to bring Him down to our level to where we can understand Him. Then we don't have the Lord God of Scripture but an idol after our own understanding.
To say that the Lord God permits the learning of these humanistic (evolution, etc.) teachings is to offend in Baal..and sin more..and make for ourselves..idols after our own understanding. No wonder our pastors and Christians today won't submit to the clear plain teaching on many other subjects. They have been taught in the ways of the heathens even in the "best" Bible colleges. They aren't training men to serve the Lord God of the Bible by faith, but training men to walk after their own understanding.
How can we blame our young people for serving their god in their own way (not the God of the Bible, Him you serve in His way) when their parents, teachers and spiritual leaders insist on having a god they can understand and reason out.
"I don't do that" we might say. The question then is, "How much of the word of God will we believe. 1.) That violates the traditional doctrine or interpretation? 2.) That does not fit in with what we can understand. (a) The example here, Don't learn the way of the heathen. Do we allow the teaching of ourselves, or of our children that which does not build up in the Biblical faith? Do we allow our children to be taught evolution, as just one example? If so, then are we not failing to serve the Lord God of Scripture? rather idols according to our understanding. If we refuse Scriptural teaching because it doesn't agree with the "tradition of the elders", are we not then serving a god after our own understanding? The persons who do these things (just two examples of many) might as well go ahead and kiss the calves because they did in their heart when they rejected the word of God for a way which they could understand.
"I just don't see it that way", is an idol after our own understanding and is far different from, "That is not Scriptural." We can stand and call any doctrine heresy no matter who teaches it as long as we base that call upon God's word. God, shed Your mercy and grace on Your people, (v. 14).
V. 3, ..cloud, ..dew, both have a promise of some benefit. For a while it looked prosperous to serve the calves, but look what was in store for them. You will find that the ungodly nations seemed to prosper the most just before their downfall. Remember the prosperity of Solomon and Jeroboam II?
The early dew promises hope but is soon "passed away," as the chaff. The grain fell out but the chaff is blown away. How? With the whirlwind. They sowed to the wind and now they reap the whirlwind which blows them away (8:7).
An illustration here would be the ability to seed the clouds to cause a tornado. Here the cloud is "seeded" by ignoring God's law-word and the whirlwind develops. The tornado blows them away (see 13:9).
Smoke... As you look at it coming out of a chimney it seems to have a substance to it. Just wait a minute, it will be diluted and gone, Prov. 10:25. There never was any substance to it and it will soon show there wasn't. (We see smoke so thick that it looks like you could walk on it. This is an illusion.) Here is a picture of the false security which is offered in a false prosperity. Prosperity apart from God's word. It looks good and promising but it will be exposed for what it really is one day. The house will fall.
Their own understanding may have some prosperity in it but it is only smoke. Hosea 6:4; 8:7; 10:1. This book is full of this principle. Ephraim served his gods. He prospered and felt that the Lord God was overlooking his idolatry. Actually, God was only holding back judgment in his Mercy hoping Ephraim (and Israel) would return to Him Rom. 2:1- 11. Someone says, "I am not doing all God wants me to do, yet I am prospering." It is like smoke. That prosperity will pass away. Only what is done to God's glory will last.
How many people do we know and have known,-- They have put God and faithfulness to His word on a shelf. They seem to be prospering any way. They still have good jobs, cars, houses and material things. It looks like God is blessing them in their indifference. We sit back and say, "Look at that, what profit is there in my trying to do right? They aren't and look at how God is taking care of them," (Ps. 73). They look prosperous but their foot is in a slippery place and the closer we are to Christ the better we can see this. If we get away from Him we cannot see this because this will be through the eyes of faith. Faith tells us their end is established, no matter how prosperous they seem.
V. 4, of Egypt.. He reminds them that He is still the same Lord God which brought them out of Egypt. Not only did He bring them out with a high hand of power and might (it's good to remember His miracle working power), but He also is the same God of Deut. 28; The same One who promised a blessing for obedience and a curse for disobedience. It is good for us to remember His miracle power, especially in our salvation. It's good to remember His delivering power and mercy. His love shown to us in Christ Jesus. His grace toward us as we look back over the changed life of where He brought us from. The list is endless of His goodness to the sons of men.
Just as important, if not more so, is the remembrance that He is also still the same Lord God today as He was in Deut. 28 (Heb. 10 & 12). He has rewards for obeying Him and judgments for ignoring Him. In fact, we need to be reminded even more of this because the truth is so easily corrupted. The enemy comes to us and says, "God is such a good God of love that you don't really have to worry about His judgment against your sin of indifference." He is the same God as delivered His people from Egypt and His people STILL have the same responsibility to Him.
Notice He is also Saviour. He is the one that saved them. This alone would give Him the claim over them. It wasn't the works of their own hands; it wasn't the gods after their own understanding. IT wasn't the calves which they kissed. (Isa. 40 fits good in here. In fact, 40-55 [45:5, 6, 18, 21, 22; 46:5, 9, etc.]: Also notice the many times God speaks to Ephraim. It wasn't the false gods which redeemed them so why serve them?)
Example: Isa. 28:1-8. As we said, the spirit of Ephraim seems to be the most prevalent of any. His father Joseph paid the price in purity. He spent many years in prison, faced many false accusations as well as put his life on the line in order to remain pure and holy before his God. God honoured and exalted him more than we can imagine. Along with this came a tremendous promise of blessing to his children and especially Ephraim, the younger. But rather than using or seeing this prosperity as a call to serve the Lord God, Ephraim used this to serve himself. He was lifted up with pride and rebelled against the God of his father.
Oh, my! How typical of the spirit within God's people today. Our fathers paid the price with persecution, suffering and ridicule of all kinds that they might serve and be true to the living God. God poured out His unlimited blessings upon them and their children. But rather than this prosperity being used to serve God and advance His kingdom it was (and is being) used to exalt ourselves, just as Ephraim did there in Isa. 28 and in many other places.
Now, there is nothing wrong with God's people enjoying the prosperity which God honoured their fathers with but the problem is, are they enjoying this prosperity at the expense of obeying God's principles of life?
Look at what the Lord here is telling them. Hosea 13:5, 6 (here is a application). He knew His people in the wilderness; in the time of drought. Here we are again, it seems His people today know Him during this time also. When things aren't going to well we have plenty of time to search, seek and serve Him. Many promises are made here. The list is endless of the vows and commitments which are made. You would think Joseph himself had come back to life as His people get right with Him. They put aside their idols. They renew their commitment and start serving Him once again.
VV. 5-6, God's people make the vows. They do this with the very best of intentions. Things calm down and smooth out. He leads them to the green pastures and once again things start working out. They start eating good and sleeping good once again. Their conscience leaves them alone. They get out of the wilderness, they have food to eat and water to drink. Then look what they do. 13:6 They have forgotten me. (Here is Ecc. 5:4-7 acted out).
The spirit of Ephraim is very much alive and well and in control today. The temptation is to forget Him when things go good.
I had a individual call me at 4:00 a.m.one morning and they told me they had hit bottom and needed help so we arranged to meet with each other. I talked to them and they told me they were afraid to try again because they had tried before and failed. We talked some more and it turns out that when they got saved (again, at that time on the very bottom) God lifted them up. He set them free from all of the ungodly lusts and desires and the individual lived for and served the Lord for a few months. The Lord gave them a good job and even a promotion on that job within those 3 or so months. They got lifted up with pride, thinking they had accomplished the change in their life. They laid aside their personal time with the Lord (prayer and Bible study), became unfaithful in church and it wasn't but a very few days until they were right back in the same mess. This has been quite a while ago and things just keep getting worse and worse for them. They knew it is the Lord dealing with them and they are fearful of the results of the way they were going. They forgot God when they were filled and watered (exalted). They used what God provided when they vowed to Him, to serve the wicked desires of the flesh.
As we talked I pointed out that they were not in that mess because Christianity didn't work for them but because they wouldn't "work" Christianity. They knew that as long as they kept up their personal walk with the Lord (including the assembly together) they had the victory over ungodly lust but when they let down the flesh gained control in a very short time.
Now, I am not saying that this personal walk is the "magic formula" over the lusts of the flesh (Ja. 1:12-17) but here is where it starts. If Christianity is not fulfilling the claims of God's word in your life, the problem is not in God's word. It works if we will work it. A person who claims Christ and yet they survive "just fine" without this personal walk really don't have any claim on Christ because I Cor. 3:16, 17 makes it very clear. A person who lays God on the shelf is headed for destruction. Whether an individual, family, society or nation and it doesn't matter how good things look right now, it is smoke.
As we pointed out I Cor. 3:16, 17 to this individual they said, "I know, that is exactly what God is doing to me. He is destroying me and I must change." We reminded them that God wasn't destroying them, they were destroying themselves, to which they agreed, (Hosea 13:9).
Things may look good to a young person right now but they cannot ignore God's claim upon their life and expect anything except Hosea 13:9 to come to pass. They can spend a fortune on doctor bills but the answer is found in serving God.
VV. 7-8, these people prospered under the promised blessings of God. They used that prosperity to serve their own understanding. Now God becomes as a wild beast toward them, lying in wait and at the right moment they will be torn apart. This is something because this is exactly what this individual said to me. "I'm being torn apart. I don't know what to do. My life is ruined and I'm headed for destruction." (This person was 23 yrs. old.)
Here God is waiting as a wild beast. The people are enjoying the prosperity promised to their father, Joseph, who served God with his whole heart, soul and being. They are using this prosperity to serve the idols according to their own understanding. God withholds His judgment in His mercy, yet they refuse to return to Him.
As a dam holding back the water of chastisement, it is about to burst. It is about to leap upon them as a wild beast from his hiding place and rend them asunder. (See II Ki. 2:23, 24. Here, for mocking the man of God, (therefor God), the bear rends them. Be not deceived, God is not mocked, Gal. 6:7. See also I KI. 13:24. Here the man of God disobeyed God, didn't do what he knew he was to do, allowed someone else to influence him away from the clear plain instructions of God. A lion met him and slew him. Notice, neither the bear nor the lion ate the victim. Only rent, slew them.)
VV. 5-9, the application (allegory, Gal. 4:24; Rom. 15:4) is just to good to pass over lightly. The devil, for all he is cracked up to be, is only a tool in the hand of a Sovereign Lord God. He really is only a "rod of chastisement" in the hand of our Lord Jesus Christ (Isa. 10:5). We know that he will deny this but all power is our Lord's. So the devil can only do what he is given power to do.
The individual sat there and told us they knew they were being devoured by the devil. Why---? Because they quit doing what they knew they should have been doing, I Ki. 13:24.
If the prophet had obeyed God the lion would not have touched him. Notice also in that story. No matter how good or holy the source of the suggestion might be, if it doesn't correspond to the revealed word of God, we are to avoid it. The other prophet who influenced him away from obedience was, no doubt, a man of God as he claimed to be. God may have even told the second prophet to go and offer the meal to the first prophet. Why? To try the prophet's faith. Now, the first prophet was lead astray by his own lusts and those lusts not put there by God but by the flesh, Ja. 3:13, 14.
The lion here would be the natural result of obeying the lust of the flesh over the desires of the Holy Spirit. We can hang it up, the lion will be right there to devour the person. (See I Pet. 1:7-9; 5:8.) The prophets (II Pet. 1:19, 20) will come, even sent by God, to try our faith, that we might be strengthened and receive the reward (I Pet. 4:12-13). Do we claim to love God and want to obey Him? There will be a "prophet" to try to get us side-tracked, Deut. 13:1-5. Notice Jn. 15:17. The prayer is for the Father to keep His people true to Him and His word in the midst of the evil around them.
It is mockery to God for a child of God to think he can lay aside his responsibility to his Lord and escape the bear or lion. God makes it clear over and over. A child of His who avoids his responsibility either in his personal or public walk with Christ will be attacked by the lion. If that attack is not there then the person is not saved. Why should he attack one of his own?
This person knew exactly what was happening and why. They knew they were in the process of being devoured. We pointed out to them that there is nothing worse than dieing in the devil's slaughter house and they knew that was where they were headed. God had made it very clear to them. (They have since served jail time, yet still just as hardened in their sin.)
This is exactly what God tells Ephraim, "You are destroying yourself" (Israel here in v. 9). A person can blame everyone and everything else under the sun, as well as spend themselves into the poor house but the doctor can do nothing. Why? They are doing it to themselves. God gives us the principles of life.
This is exactly the message to God's people today as we take the prosperity which God gave to this nation as a direct result of our fathers walking with Him and serve the idols of our own understanding. The bear is about to leap out and rend those who are mocking God. As they say, "We don't need You over these areas of our life, God. You stay over there in Your house and we'll stay here. You do Your thing and we'll do ours (and part of ours is telling You how to do Yours)." God is not mocked and He has His tool, the wild beast, the bear, in the bushes along the road, and when the time is right, he will receive his command and he will come out and kill those who mocked the Lord.
When is the time right? We don't know. Only the Lord knows His schedule. The only thing I know, it's time for God's people to quit mocking God. It's time for God's people to turn from their disobedience in what they know their responsibility is, and turn back to HIM. He has the bear and the lion on the chain. They will ONLY move at HIS command.
From the looks of things, He is about to give that command as He did with Ephraim (and Israel) here in Hosea. But we have hope. Even in His anger, His hand is still stretched out to His people. They can return to Him and they will have His mercy rather than His anger (Prov. 28:13, 14). See also Joel 2:12; Jer. 3:12, 13.
It would seen though the spirit of Zephaniah 1:12 is the spirit in control today. The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil (judgment). This is the spirit which Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea (and the other prophets) had to contend with. This is the spirit today and most will not even recognize that the bear is the result of mocking God when he does come. (Just a note in passing. On the Disney channel [cable], they had Mickey Mouse in Russia. He was escorted around that nation by their mascot. The Soviets sure were proud to have the American mascot, a mouse, escorted by their mascot, a bear. Is there a significance here?)
V. 9, thou hast destroyed thyself-- (4:6, 9, 10; 7:2, 13; 8:1; 10:1, 2, 13, etc.). Hosea reminds them of this many times over. This is not only Hosea's message but the basic message throughout all of the prophets (examples: Jer. 32:23; 11:17; 5:25; etc.). Evil, destruction cannot be blamed on the Lord, which takes us back to James 1:13-15. The Lord clearly states that our own lusts leads us into sin. Just as sure as night follows day, that sin has a result attached to it (Rom. 1:17, 18; 2:2, 6, 11; 6:16; I Cor. 3:16, 17; Heb. 12).
As we face destruction in our lives we can place the blame no where except on ourselves. Society is facing total collapse (death) because we have removed God (His principles of life) right out of it.
The leopard is about to spring; the bear is ready; the lion is roaring; the wild beast is prepared and there is no one to blame except ourselves. We have chosen to forget God as did Ephraim and Israel. Nothing can destroy us but sin and that sin completely of our own doing, for God can have no part in it. He can allow our faith to be tested and tried but the following after that sin is from our lust of the flesh.
On the other end though, any "upward climb" is of God. Any help is of Him. Barnes' makes a good point here (Minor Prophets I, pg. 130). "Thy captivity, Israel, is from thee; they redemption from Me. They perishing is from thee; they salvation is from Me. Thy death from thee; they life from Me; They evil from thee, they good from Me. Thy reprobation from thee; they predestination from Me. Thy dereliction from thee; they calling from Me. Thy misery from thee; they bliss from Me. Thy damnation from thee; thy salvation and beautifying from me."
Now, the other side of the coin. Every aid to withdraw from that sin is from God. The "thing" which keeps us from falling is from God alone who is the only source of mercy and salvation. This is revealed here in the OT but much clearer in the NT, called GRACE (Heb. 4:16; Ja. 4:1-10; I Pet. 5:5, 6-11; and Ph. 2:13, etc.. See Lam. 3:22).
No one will be able to lift their hand toward the Lord in that day and say, "Look what you allowed to happen--." Nor can they do it now. The clear plain simple truth is that we destroy ourselves. I know those who try to blame the preacher, their parents, environment, spouse and an endless list of others but they did it to themselves. Maybe they wouldn't believe the preacher; study the word of God; apply God's principles; pray; tithe; assemble together. There is an endless list of what God has written down, then how we can avoid this destruction. It's no ones fault if we don't avoid it.
As we said though, Hosea doesn't leave us on this "down note" but points God's people back to our only source of help, HIM.
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8/19/86 Hosea 10:13
V. 10 Notice the margin reading of this verse. First, "I would be thy king." Then "Where is thy king?" Israel's king (named, Hosea) at this time was in prison.
There could be several things here:
1.) We go back to Hosea 8:4. They set up civil authorities, kings, without God. They ignored God and His word as they set up their civil authorities.
a.) And, not only did the people ignore God, but so did the leaders. The kings and princes also ignored God and His word.
2.) This could also be a reference to their first king, King Soul, who they pressured Samuel the judge to appoint for them, I Sam. 8.
(Here God then is reminding them. "You chose a king over me, to be your judge and deliverer. You are in a fix now, you have destroyed yourself, (13:9), where is that king that you wanted so bad that will deliver you from your self-destruction. Let him rise up and deliver you (Deut. 32:38). I wanted to be your king but you wouldn't let me.
Now, let's see you deliver yourself. You got yourself involved in this.
a.) Notice though back in I Sam. 8, the king they got, Saul, was the result of rejecting the Lord as their King, Judge and Deliverer, v, 7, 19. The reason they wanted this king was not that the king could lead them closer tot he Lord, but that they might be like all of the heathens around them, v. 20.
We see that God's people failed to see the direct relationship between their failure to glorify God as God over every area of life and the rise of the oppressors.
Rather than repenting and returning to God as Lord, and true King they cried out for a king so they could be like the heathens around them.
This demand here in chp. 8 for a human king was a direct result of rejecting God and wanting the strength which the heathen king represented in heathenism.
God's displeasure and wrath was not caused by their desire for a king. It was kindled by the demand to have a heathen, human means of salvation and protection, v. 5 and v. 20, rather than Him.
b.) Their request for a king was not wrong in itself, Deut. 17:12-15.
What made it so wicked was the reason they wanted the king. They wanted him to take the place of the Lord their rightful king, to do for them what the Lord wanted to do.
This applies to many areas of our lives also. The desire for a good job is not wrong in itself. Only it takes the place of our dependence on the Lord is it sin. (By education of course, I mean a godly, Christ centered education.)
The same principle applies to everything. Anytime we look to anything to do for us what the Lord alone desires to do then it is sin.
Now, back to Saul. Was he God's choice or the peoples choice? Here we have a strange situation.
I Sam. 9:16. The Lord tells Samuel he is going to direct a man to him that is to be anointed as captain over his people. V. 16 says he is doing this because of the cry of the people. In response to their desire. V. 20, Saul is the desire of all Israel. (I don't think they knew him by name as an individual but he was the king of man they wanted for king.)
Chp. 10:1, I believe the Lord did this in response to the heart cry of His people, not because it was His desire or perfect plan. It looks like 10:19 only confirms this. Saul is the direct result of rejection of the Lord God.
10:24, "--whom the Lord hath chosen." But did He chose him because of the "desire" of the people, 9:20?
If we go back to the prophecy of Gen. 49:8-12, we will find that the promise of the reign over God's people was given to Judah not to Benjamin, therefore, Saul could not have been God's choice.
To say he was would put the Lord in violation of Gen. 49:8-12.
Also, Samuel and the people would have known the prophecy but they chose a son of Benjamin anyway. Why? I Sam. 9:1; 10:23, 24, he appealed to the flesh. They should have protested that Saul was from the wrong tribe if they really wanted God's will.
(Here would be an application of Jer. 28:9. If the Lord had truly sent him here he would have been from Judah. Was he testing his people to see if they would walk in his ways or not?)
Truly sent him here he would have been from Judah.
Also, Jer. 17:5, was Saul a means of bringing this curse upon them for trusting the strength of man (a king) rather than God?
Jer. 5:31; Isa. 24:1, 2; 9:13-17, shows us that the Lord judges sin by giving leaders after our own heart. When the servant is covetous then he gets a master who is also covetous. This also goes into every area of life. The angry servant gets an angry master, etc. The servant is self-willed, stubborn, rebellious and self-sufficient (without God), then so will be the master.
Following Saul on. I Sam. 11:12, the people were determined that Saul reign over them. 12:1, again, Saul the result of the peoples cry for a king. I Sam. 12:9-11, Samuel points out how God reigned over them and protected them from their enemies.
12:12, the people chose Saul in place of God reigning over them. They got in a hurry because they wanted to be like everyone else (the heathens around them). They did not wait for God to prepare a man after His own heart and raise that prepared man up to be their leader. They got impatient as they feared the world was passing them up.
I Sam. 12:14. Samuel points out that if the people and the king will serve God and obey Him in everything, they can still prosper even though they chose the king outside of God's will.
* We can marry outside of God's perfect will and plan and still prosper by obeying Him. V. 15, but if we don't obey him, his hand will be against us.
V. 17. Samuel identified Saul then as the result of sin, (great wickedness).
V. 19. The people confess the sin of asking for a king. Pressuring the Lord to give them a king. Thereby rejecting Him as their king. Hosea 13:10, angered the Lord so he gave them one in his wrath, Saul. In his displeasure He allowed them to have their choice.
I Sam. 12:20-25, though continues the promise. If they and their king will serve God with their whole heart they will prosper. They did for two years.
Now follow on into chp. 13. On down to v. 8. When there was no pressure on, Saul did fine. In the peoples haste to have a king, God had not had time to prepare a man who could stand up under pressure.
The pressure comes. There will be testing but remember, Saul had been a favored son of his dad as well as a favored son of Israel, I Sam. 9:1-8. He had servants and cattle.
It looks like he had not been through God's school of hard knocks to learn patience and to wait upon the Lord.
Note, I Sam. 24:1, 2, again, the people had been impatient in demanding a king. They get a impatient king.
Saul tarried (13:8) 3 days but not quite long enough.
13:11-13, he did foolishly. God promised him and the people prosperity, even though they were impatient, if they would obey him in everything. They didn't, so here, Saul looses the kingdom.
The Lord was raising up a young man. Preparing a man out of the tribe of Judah. He wasn't a great man in the peoples eyes as was Saul but he was in God's eyes.
If the people had only waited a few more years God would have had him ready.
How many blessings of God do we miss because we cannot wait upon Him? Impatience cost Saul a kingdom.
How close do we come to God's perfect will when we pressure God into giving us our own will? We get so convinced that our will is His will, and forget to pray, "Lord, I refuse anything except your will."
Following Saul on. I Sam. 11-35. Saul turned from obedience to the Lord and now within just a few short years, God turns from him, sorry He had even set Saul up as king.
15:23, Samuel tells Saul that he is rejected as king because twice now he has rejected God, 13:13; 15:22. V. 26, again, "The Lord hath rejected thee---" v. 28, "The Lord hath rent the kingdom---"
15:35, again, the Lord clearly states that Saul is rejected.
16:1 God chooses a man this time. Not someone which looks good in the worlds eyes, in fact, just the opposite. Someone who seems "foolish" in the eyes of man, but God's man just the same, 16:7, 11; I Cor. 1:27. David was not someone man would choose. God's seldom is reasonable to human understanding. Saul fits man's description of king just fine. David didn't.
16:13, 14, 15. Now, something to think about. God rejected Saul because Saul rejected God. The Lord now anoints David as king. Does this make Saul usurper on the throne. Are there two kings over God's people here? One after the flesh, one after the spirit?
Here is too good of an application to pass up. It seems that we have "two kings" inside of us fighting for control for our kingdom. But King David, (Jesus) will not fight for control. Old King Saul, the man which appeals to the flesh, he will fight like crazy. He will try to slay David but he won't succeed. He will even strike up a friendship if it will leave him in control.
He will lie, cheat, steal, whatever is needed in order to keep his throne and be able to pass it down from generation to generation.
Notice David only fought in self defence although he didn't really fight Saul. Only fled from him.
Also, even before David was placed on the throne he fought and delivered God's people from some difficult situations, I Sam. 30:26.
Another things, David would not sit on the throne until the old king which the flesh enjoyed so much was dead. The old king would not willingly yield to the new King David but did everything within his power to prevent Him from coming to the throne.
Neither will our King (Jesus) today forcefully over take the throne even though it is promised to and is legitimately His, the thorn in our spirit.
He will not assume His rightful throne until the old fleshly man is forcefully evicted, put to death, by his people. The rightful heir to the throne, King Jesus, will not rule over His people until they put Saul, the flesh, to death, Rom. 12:1.
He will not force himself upon God's people anymore than David would. The people almost had to force David to reign but Saul did gladly.
Also notice the natural man will chose the reign of Saul any day over David. Saul was/is a very undisciplined man. He may wait on God for awhile which suits him. Then, he will go ahead with his plans. He will do as best please him.
He allows not only people to force him to lay aside God's requirements but he will blame it on the people if he gets caught doing his own thing.
But, the people 'clammered' 'cried out' for him and the Lord let them have their way.
Notice something else here. God's people have been rejecting the reign of the proper king since there has been a people of God. Remember the cry, "We will not have this man reign over us." They cried out, "We have no king but Caesar," Lk. 19:14; Jn. 19:15.
Far to often this is still the cry and sad to say it is usually a cry led by the "religious leaders." Those who claim that the Lord is restricted today in His reign. (They are the ones called by God to determine where the Lord can reign and where he can't.
God's people like having two kings to chose from. When they want to be spiritual they run over under David. When they want to be carnal, (secular) they go back to Saul.
Notice Saul (I Sam. 31:5, 6) had to kill himself because no one would lift up their hand against him. So he is today. We must put him to death. We must nail him on the cross because David will not reign until we do. Follow the first couple of chapters of II Samuel. You will see that David had to almost be forcefully put on the throne. So he will in our lives. He will not forcefully take the throne, control our lives. We must, by any act of our will, take him and set him up in authority over each area.
Some day though He will be king and every knee will bow and every throne will confess but until then the choice is ours. Who will we allow to reign over that area of life.
Saul, the man which appeals to the flesh and allows us to do as e think best or David. The man in the wilderness.
One lives in the palace and has the praise of men. He has a huge following from within. God's people. The large majority like Saul, but he extracts a large price.
Then there is David. He lives in the wilderness. With him it requires discipline and self-control. God supplies all of His needs and He is the one who one day will be the total absolute ruler. God's choice. But is He ours?
The continual choosing. Who will we serve? Saul, the man who appeals to the flesh. David, the man after God's own heart. So much easier to follow after Saul. He appeals to the natural man but his end is death.
Notice one more thing. When Saul was first king, all went well for a couple of years. But then the pressure came. The pressure revealed what kind of a king he was. Very weak and undisciplined.
The pressures came on David and they revealed just the opposite about him.
Again, pressure only reveals what we are. It does not make us what we are.
Also: One of the major teachings of Scripture is that God gives leaders after the hearts of his people. He did her with Saul. But in his mercy and grace he also gave David to them. I believe to show them the kind of reign and king os society is possible under a leader which follows after God. Not because the people deserved it but by God's mercy. They cried out to God until He got tired of hearing them and answered their cry.
We had better be careful what we cry out for. We may get it.
I know we are told to continually cry out to God, Lk. 18, but we need to make sure it is not impatience which is crying out here as it was with these people.
Also, that our cry isn't motivated by ANYTHING other than wanting to be pleasing to our Lord. Here their intense cry was motivated by wanting to be like the heathen. Our cry had better be just as strong, "Not my will but thine be done."
Civil authority is not wrong in itself. God gave civil authority, it becomes wrong when it takes the place of God. When the people look to it to supply what God is to supply.
Also notice that civil government becomes evil when the hearts of God's people become evil. Rather than curse the civil authority we should be "cursing" the evil in God's people which caused the evil civil government.
The same goes for liberal pastors. They are only there in authority because God's people went to the dogs and maybe now there are no people of God left in the liberal churches. I am inclined to think though, there are enough who claim Christ and his word in each church which could throw out the liberals if they wanted to. Problem is though, Jer. 5:31, "his "people love to have it so."
They like Saul around so they can feel they are still serving God as they obey what they feel is best.
Lord we need your spirit to cause us to walk after your commandments, Ez. 36:26, 27.
8/20/86 God wanted to be their king. They refused to let Him instead of crying out for a man. God in His anger gave them a king. Now he tells them, "Okay, you have your king that you cried so long and loud for, go to him for your help."
1.) We must chose between the things which appeal to the flesh and which we enjoy or the things which appeal to God and he enjoys. Even those little "harmless" thoughts which arouse pleasant but wrong emotions.
It is a active choice which we must make before God. "God I chose against these thoughts which I enjoy but are not Christ honoring and I chose only thoughts which please you."
The people chose Saul because he appealed to the flesh. David appealed to God.
2.) The people cried out continually to God and God allowed their prayer to be answered even thought it was contrary to what He wanted/had for them.
We also are to cry out continually but our cry must be based in the example our Lord gave to us, "Thy will be done."
In fact, as he prayed, "Never the less not my will but they will be done."
Yes, we should cry out day and night to God but at the same time we make those cries to Him we must be keeping the spirit of "I want nothing which is not God's perfect will for me." "I chose to reject anything which is not of God."
3.) King David, Jesus, will not right for control. Only by an act of our will he take the control of that area of our life.
I'm amazed at the reports I get back of the total uncontrolled anger which professing Christians allow to control them. That uncontrolled anger is not of God nor His spirit. That is the spirit of the adversary and needs to be stood against and dealt with.
If you can't deal with it on your own them come see me. There is a tremendous battle going on. (Flesh) Saul fighting for control. When we accept the offer made by the flesh to turn from God we have entered into devil worship, witchcraft. Saul turned from God's standard to His, our God says he was practicing witchcraft.
To reject God' standard over us is to reject God. To reject God will cause him to reject us, not in the since of lost but he will take his protection from us and turn us over to the adversary.
Hosea 13: 12, 13. Sinners, (the human heart) feel that because God didn't catch up or repay today that we have gotten away with sin (Ecc. 8:11). But God is storing up wrath against sin (Deut. 32:34, 35). It will catch up in due time (Ps. 1:21. Unconfessed sin stores u a flood behind a dam (Rom. 2:4-6).
The same as a woman can hide conception for a time, but the birth-pains will reveal the truth.
It is the unwise son who feels he can hide his sin. It will catch up just as sure as a woman's birth will catch up.
V. 14. God's has pronounced physical destruction upon Ephraim which had to and did come to pass. Yet in the very next breath he promises to ransom them. To redeem them.
Ransom means to pay the price. Redeem means the next of kin buying back someone from servitude. Of course this speaks of Christ, I Pet. 1:18, 19. This speaks also of his identification with sinful man, Heb. 2:11. This speaks of His ransom for many, Matt. 20:28; I Tin. 2:6.
ephraim was not delivered from death and the grave. This is pointing to Christ delivering His people from death, Heb. 2:14, 15; I Cor. 15:54 and the grave.
The prophet could not see that he was speaking of the ones in Christ yet he knew of the promise of mercy and grace for God's people.
V. 15. (See my notes on 13:1) Hosea tells them again, reaffirming 10:1 and others. No matter how fruitful Ephraim is or has been (in fulfillment of the promise to his father back in Gen. 49:22; 48:20), the end result of his pride and arrogance is destruction.
As the hot, dry, useless east win from the wilderness will be the Lord to him.
The spring will dry up. His prosperity will be gone. The fountain will dry up. The treasure, strength and prosperity will be a spoil. Samaria, the capital of Ephraim will become desolate. The inhabitancies will be at the mercy of the invaders which God is sending against them for their sin.
Why? Ephraim, Israel has rebelled against God. She forgot her God. She forgot where her strength came from. She got lifted up with pride. She used the prosperity which God gave her to serve her own covetous desires.
As we said at the start of this chapter. Ephraim as well as Manasseh, the tribe of Joseph, have passed off the scene.
God foretold their destruction and desolation and it came to pass just like He promised. Even by the time of Christ, the area of Ephraim, Samaria, was just a confused mess. Even they did not know what or who they worshipped, Jn. 4:22.
We find something interesting in II. Ki. 17:25-41. Here we have the record of God fulfilling Hosea 13.
The capitol of Israel was Samaria. As He speaks against Samaria, he is speaking against all of Israel. Israel at this time separated from Judah.
II Ki. 17:1-23, then, we have the record of God removing Samariah (Israel) and why He did it. V. 23 clearly tells us that Assyria came against Samariah in fulfillment of the prophets.
The capitol of Israel as well as the nation, fell. The king of Assyria carried away the best of the land. (Actually the Lord removed them. The king of Assyria only carried out the Lord's judgment against His people).
In place of those he carried away he brought in people from other lands to inhabit the land. These, of course, brought in their pagan religions. They intermarried with the Israelites which were left.
They all served the pagan gods so the Lord God sent lions among them. They knew why the lions were there so they requested the king to send a priest to show them how to serve the Lord.
He showed them just enough to keep the lions out. This made the 'new' religion (referred to by our Lord in Jn. 4) a very confusing manner of worship. It was a cross between truth and error, just enough truth to keep the lions at bay, not enough truth to keep the blessings or the hand of God upon them.
I believe we have reached this stage in the 'church' today. Not an 'all out' service to the Lord, but just enough to keep the lions at bay.
God judged the house of Joseph for their pride. Ephraim is gone. Did he come back for awhile under Ezra and Neh.? I won't take the time to look it up but I am more inclined to believe that was the house of Judah much more than the whole of the nation.
Notice in both of the genealogies, Ez. 2 and Neh. 7. Ez. 2:1 identifies those who came back as part of the ones Nebuchadnezzar carried away. He carried away Judah not Israel. Also Neh. 7:6 also identifies the inhabitants of the rebuilt Jerusalem as those who Nebuchadnezzar had carried away. Again, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah. All through Neh. you will find references to the Jews.
So then the large portion of those who came back were of the ones Neb. carried away or of the house of Judah. Although all the people of the land were now known as Jews, named after the city, Jerusalem.
There was about 250 years between the two judgments and most of the ones carried away by Assyria were absorbed into the heathen nations by now (the return). There was only 70 years from the time Judah was carried away until the return under Ezra and Neh. so Judah still had a 'good' line left.
1.) There was a return under Ezra nd Neh. The temple was rebuilt. The offerings and sacrifices started again. This fulfilled many of the physical prophecies which the prophets spoke of before the judgment of Neb. coming against Judah.
2.) "Thompson Chain Bible" gives a good outline of the 'picture' which these returns shows to us, (Analyses of Books, pgs. 195, 196).
Today Ephraim is gone in fulfillment of many prophecies. The U.S.A. (white races) cannot be the heir to Joseph no matter how many false teachers many claim we are. But, as we pointed out at the start of this chapter, the English speaking white races are sure heir to the spirit which Ephraim had and was judged for.
"Look how great we are. By my own might we have prospered, etc." I'm afraid, not only are we heir to the spirit of pride which Ephraim was controlled by but we are also heir to the judgment which Ephraim received for his pride.
Hosea 13 is a perfect description of the attitude and spirit which is prevalent, not only in the white English speaking race, but it is far to typical of the spirit within the church today.
We have inherited a tremendous blessings from the faithfulness of our fathers and that tremendous blessing has been used to peruse covetousness rather than in the pursuit of his kingdom, the kingdom of God, As commanded by our Lord, Matt. 6:33, etc.
Samaria (Israel) was delivered to ungodly Assyria for his spirit of pride, (13:1 "he died").
God's people today are fools if they think they will not be delivered to a ungodly nation for refusing to glorify him as God over every area of their lives, Rom. 1:22.
This was the attitude of Israel (Zeph. 1:12) yet this did not spare him. The only thing which will spare God's peoples is seeking Him and live, Amos 5:6, 8. Only repentance and returning will turn away His wrath against sin. Physical wrath or judgment, Christ took our 'wrath' against eh sin of rejecting him, Joel 1:13; 2:12; Jn. 3.
13:16, came to pass. It always does.