Introduction: I look forward to the end of these prophetic books. Notice what our God does. He paints the very bleak picture of judgment against sin but He never leaves us there.
The bleak picture with no answer is never of God. The Holy Spirit always gives hope with His message. The devil is the one who heaps out woes and troubles with no answer of hope to them.
Here in Hosea 13:16 we have the most bleak and hopeless picture painted that we could possible have: 1.) The sword. 2.) Dashed in pieces. 3.) Women ripped up.
But our God doesn't leave us here. He never does as you read these prophecies. He always has a chp. 14 of Hosea attached somewhere. A message of hope. A message of grace and mercy.
I sure am glad, because without these, say by the end of chp. 13, I would be ready to throw up my hands and say, "What's the use."
Also, he also scatters this message of grace throughout the other message of wrath, judgment against sin, Hosea 13:14; 11:8-11.
God's message has hope in it. No matter how much judgment may seem to be in store, His message is one of hope. He and His grace will win out in the end.
v.1 Return-- Hosea 3:5 Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their King; and shall fear the Lord, and his goodness in the latter days, see my notes on Hosea 1:4 as well as 3:5 and Ezek. 34:23, 24.
The prophecy here then is that Israel will answer the powerful voice of the Lord (Ps. 29:4) as He calls them to their king, King David.
Once again, we have mentioned over and over. This is not physical King David for he will not raise from the dead to claim this kingdom.
This must therefore be the spiritual David who sets upon the throne of Israel and reigns over His people, Israel.
Israel? The sheep who have heard His voice and have come running to their Shepherd, Jn. 10.
Israel? The end-time people who are the heirs to the promise made to Abraham, Gal. 3:26-29.
Israel? The end-time people who are under the headship, rule of Christ, Eph. 1:22.
End times? The last period of God dealing with man before He causes time to stop. Identified as the period from Christ about 2,000 years ago, Acts 2:17; Heb. 1:2.
See the many references as to who this is. Isa. 5:26; 11:10, 12; Jn. 3:14; 12:32, etc.
This is not saying that any "physical" seed is now excluded. To start with, who knows who the "physical" seed is? Not even they do. God alone knows. Anyone who is in this, it will be by faith in the redeemer. This excludes anyone who will not come to Him.
The OT nation is no longer in existence. There are people around who are physical defendants of that OT. Nation but only God knows who they are. I believe that God is no respecter of persons today, and His call to Christ in the individuals heart will not be according to what race of people they belong to. His call will be according to His grace.
Now, we should keep in mind though that this book of Hosea was written before the Jews return from Babylon under Ezra and Neh. These men reinstituted all of the OT sacrifices and there were some very zealous priests in that 400 years period until Christ who saw that every dot of the law regarding these things was fulfilled.
The call here is to return to the Lord. Rom. 3:11, 12; Ps. 14; Eph. 2:3 plainly tell us there is not one person who seeks after God. It is God that must seek man. So the returning here to the Lord is in response to God seeking man, speaking to him by his Holy Spirit and man answering the call to come to Him.
"for thou hast--" Man must realize he is in this fix because of his own sin. Not his wives sin nor his parents nor anyone else. Man has self-destruction built in as the result of the fall.
Who is the call to? The call to face up to his sin and come back to the Lord God? Israel.
V. 2. He isn't requesting that they bring costly gifts and offerings. His desire here, as they return, isn't that they bring the blood of bulls and goats but "word." Words which reflect the true attitude of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, Ps. 51:17.
His desire is for a broken and contrite heart. This will give him everything else.
This alone will remove iniquity. This alone will receive the grace of God. He desires our whole 'heart.' With this heart praising Him, see Ps. 69:30-32.
"Calves of our lips." Heb. 13:15, the vows of service and love for our Lord Jesus Christ, and these vows fulfilled. The covenant making and keeping for His glory this pleases God.
The "living sacrifice" is made here by vows and determination to please Him by His enabling grace.
V. 3. "Asher will not save us." Here God is working in the hearts of "Israel." He is calling them out of their fallen condition by his mercy and grace. He is removing their iniquity far from them, as far as the east is from the west. They have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. They are offering sweet smelling sacrifices to Him as they enter into the covenant with their mouth and keeping it with their body. All by his enabling grace.
Now look, this is good, God's people here see the uselessness of depending upon the "arm of flesh." This, though, must be a work of a GRACIOUS GOD. The natural mind of man (saved or unsaved) cannot see this for anything in the world.
Note: Salvation does not remove the natural man; mind; salvation gives us the new mind which is created after Christ Jesus. This new mind must be nurtured and fed by God's word. There is also a continual choosing as to which mind we will follow. But, without the proper care the new man, mind CANNOT make the right choices.
Again, something fresh on my mind. This young man came to see me the other day. Graduate of H. A. College. We were talking about making decisions. He used the verse out of Prov. 11:30, "He that winneth souls is wise." Then he told of all the people he was "winning." Also, when it came time to make decisions he would go to other "soul winners" and ask them, instead of seeking God's word. He said he had wisdom because he was "winning souls." I have heard many others say the same thing. He has wisdom so now no need to search God's word. Just do what seemed best because he was getting a lot of professions.
As I think about this there is something to consider.
This statement is true but I believe it is misused in that sense. I believe what God said there is, "It's a wise thing to do, to 'win souls.'" Not that "winning souls" makes one wise.
One is practicing a wise thing, "soul winning" (being the result of wisdom), the other is wisdom being the result of "soul winning."
As I talked to this young man, he felt he gets he gets his wisdom (and others do also) from "soul winning" there fore, spends much time in "soul-winning."
The problem is he now sees no need to spend time in God's word seeking wisdom from God.
This is as unscriptural as it can be.
1.) Wisdom comes from a study of God's word. If Proverbs teaches anything, it teaches this.
2.) Wisdom is knowing what God says about something and then responding as God would respond to that situation. Wisdom is doing it God's way. Soul-winning in this context is wisdom. Knowing what God says, then doing it, trying to teach others for Christ.
This young man knew nothing about searching out a Scriptural principle for the situation of life. He sat and plainly told me that he had wisdom because he was "winning souls." Now, only out of ten or fifteen people came to church and out of seven months of this he only had one family in church, faithful. He saw no need to search God's word for wisdom, only searching it if he needed to 'preach.' His goal is to be a pastor.
It seems to me that this depending upon human reasoning. The mind is renewed through the word of God, not physical activity of the "arm of the flesh."
Might add, this young man saw no need to look for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. He said, "Well, if they are willing to pray, isn't that the Holy Spirit showing them their need?" Where is repentance? Where is conviction? Where is the work of the Holy Spirit breaking men and spirits over sin?
God help us. What have we gotten our selves into? We no longer need God or His Holy Spirit. We have taken over His job. Lord open some eyes! ONLY HE CAN SHOW THE USELESSNESS OF DEPENDING ON THE ARM OF THE FLESH.
Hosea 4:3, Lord, how we need you to show use the uselessness of depending upon the arm of the flesh. Show us that Asshur cannot save us. Help us distinguish and know when we are depending upon the flesh and when we are depending upon you.
--Horse-- Horses, in Scripture, are the symbol of physical strength apart from God, Ps. 27; 33:17. Worldly power, might, wisdom, etc.
God clearly says that all of the horses in the world are useless without Him, Prov. 21:31.
God's people are forbidden to use the worlds methods to accomplish His goal, Deut. 17:16.
V. 3. Here God has shown His people the uselessness of the arm of flesh. The uselessness of the worlds ideas and methods. This only comes from the renewed mind. The mind which is meditating on God's word. The mind which is being renewed after the mind of Christ.
My, how we need him to show us this today.
Might also mention here, the arm of flesh has God's curse upon it. The worlds means, methods has the curse of God on them, Jer. 17:5. The violations of God's word, principles and laws have the curse of God built into them.
Jer. 17:5-7. Notice, this is talking to God's people. V. 6, "like the heathen--" God's people depending on assure horses, and the work of their hands, Hos. 14:3. Any human means after the natural mind.
The same penalty against this violation is against God's people as it is the heathens. Death is built in.
Now, the heathens, as they try to overthrow God, are facing sure destruction. Their house will come down.
God's people who ignore God's way are also facing the same sure destruction as their house on the sand comes down, and many of them re today, Matt. 7.
The problem is that we are so far away from NT Christianity, that when we are doing our best even that has God's curse upon it. Because it does, then we feel that the evil system of the world is prevailing when it isn't. This would be contrary to hundreds of Scripture.
Are so blinded that many won't even admit they are, as this young man couldn't see the need to seek and search God's word for himself. (Do they say, "I've been to college, I know all the major things I need to know. I can now make my decisions so I don't really need to continue on with my studies of God's word?")
God' methods will prevail if we can only get God's people to use them.
I must say, for a person to go through his education, high school, or college, and not see his need to seek and search after God for his daily walk and strength, his schooling has been a failure. The money which was provided by God has been wasted and will be answered for. I have a feeling this is typical and if so, only judgment lies ahead for the 'church,' God's people. (Unless God preforms Hos. 4, and opens eyes.)
Are even Christian colleges today failing to teach the absolute necessity of seeking after the heart of God in His word and the needed power of prayer?
The service would have been better for this young man. At least he would have been reminded every day of the absolute necessity of seeking the heart and power of God in order to survive.
Only God in his mercy and grace can turn around the current trend away from Him. Only a work of the Holy Spirit will be able to open eyes and understanding in these many subverted areas.
As always, our hope lies only in Him. I believe he will do it when His time is right.
It is nothing but humanism under the guise of Christianity. It looks so close that detection has failed, and many have fallen to it.
Might mention, this brand of humanism can build "churches." It can get large numbers but only God knows what kind of numbers there are.
1.) Asshure will not save us. Human assistance is useless.
2.) We will not ride horses.
3.) The works of our hands. Here they see the folly of trusting in anything which they have made with their hands. The trusting in man's own accomplishments.
Here, then God shows them by His spirit the uselessness of anything apart from Him.
For in thee the fatherless (Ps. 68:5). His people here by His grace see the folly of their own selves and turn completely to Him. In doing so they find mercy.
14:4. Here again is His grace, "I will." The work is His. Man can not heal himself. God alone can. The falling away from God must be healed by God.
Freely-- We did nothing to merit His love sown in Christ. He freely became man. He freely shed his blood for our sins. That fellowship could be restored to the Father.
Man fell away from God by sin. The freely given grace shown in Christ brings man back again. If I did not have this hope it would be all I could do to keep from throwing up my hands with "What's the use?"
As man turns back by his grace (Eph. 2:8, 9) then his anger and wrath is also turned away. We must keep in mind though there are two wraths.
1.) The anger, wrath which results in everlasting punishment, hell, Jn. 3:18, 36.
2.) The physical (temporal) anger, wrath which is the result of His people refusing to glorify Him as God (Rom. 1:21 and 6:16, etc.)
One can be turned away by the redemptive work of Christ.
The other by obeying II Chron. 7:14.
Which is 14:4 referring to? From the looks of it mainly the second. But the second must be built on the first.
Hosea 14:5. Notice here he is referring to the temporal blessings of obeying Him by His empowering grace.
I.) The dryness (13:15) will be replaced with "dew," Ps. 72:6.
a.) Application, the desert will bring forth fruit.
b.) The grace of God will be new every day. He will be as a well spring up (JN. 4:14) and producing fruit for the benefit of both God and man. The bareness will be turned into fruitfulness by His grace, Isa. 14:1; JN. 3:17; Lam. 3:22-25, and mercy, see Acts 14:7.
II.) "lily." The emblem of beauty and purity which by his grace replaces the foulness and wickedness of the soul apart from God's marvelous work within the heart. God delights in purity of heart, soul and body.
III.) "lebanon." Who is known for its cedars. The steadfastness of the tree because of its roots.
a.) Of course speaking of the firm foundation in Christ and His word. The only foundation which cannot be shaken.
IV.) Olive tree. The evergreen tree which retains its beauty in both summer and winter.
a.) The divine grace, ever supplying and sustaining freshness and bringing forth fruit, Gal. 5.
V.) Sweet odors, Rev. 5:8, by his grace, our holy life above sin results in sweet odors to Him. Our prayers also spoken of here.
All of the above speaking of the then future state of the new Israel, the church.
Eph. 1:20-23 Dwelling in the church, under the shadow of its head, the Lord Jesus Christ.
review-- We are dead in Christ yet we live in him. As the corn falls into the ground and dies. It also raises up in newness of life. We also, as Christ, must die, lose our life that we might find it and bring forth fruit fit for the masters use.
1.) Surrender to God and His will. Not seeking our own happiness as our objection in life, but seeking His. Willingness to renounce everything even our life for His benefit.
"Take up his cross--" Matt. 10:38.
The cross was an instrument of death for the condemned man to carry his own cross was to add to his burden and disgrace.
To the world there is nothing more disgraceful and burdensome than laying aside our will for someone elses will (God's). "I won't to be me," is as ungodly as it can be. We are to lay aside "me" for Him. What does He want me to do.
Taking his will/word over our desires and the desires of the world around us then letting it produce whatever shame, disgrace or sin it may. This is a requirement of every follower of Jesus.
Matt. 10:39 (16_25). Here is Matt. 19:16, again. "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
The person who is not willing to forsake everything and turn to Him cannot be saved. In exchange for that willingness to forsake all for Christ is regarded with eternal life. Christ will not be a fire escape.
Matt. 16:26. The master gives us the reason for this requirement. No man can serve two masters and the Lord will not share his glory with anyone. The person who has tried to come to him, yet holding onto those things which they want, just didn't get to him.
Now, those things may retain a hold but our Lord was very clear. Required him to leave those things behind.
Here again is where his grace enters in.
We need a good dose of his grace.
14:8. Israel is turning from his idols. He sees the foolishness of trust in all of those things.
Israel, Ephraim finally sees that "from me is thy fruit found," she sees that the Lord alone supplies all of her needs. She sees that He makes her like the green fir tree. How does she see what is referred to in v. 8? The grace of God and only by His grace and mercy, see Jn. 15. The things which drew Israel away was she thought she could find her supply else where, Hos. 2:7-8.
The natural man is completely incapable of seeing this. What a prayer that we can pray. Pray for those we are concerned about, that they would see that in Him is their fruit found.
These things written by Hosea may be hard to understand. We are promised wisdom, Ja. 1:5. But that wisdom is based on the true plan of salvation; laying aside tradition; study of God's word; as well as obedience to his word.
There are many who get a completely wrong understanding of this book.
The ways of the Lord are right, Deut. 32:4; Dan. 4:37; Ps. 18:30; 145:17; 77:19; Job. 26:14; 36:23.
God's law (except what we are told in the NT are done away with) are still in effect. The just man will walk in them.
Here will come the wisdom to know what Hosea is talking about. This book is not to be taken lightly. The just will walk in His ways, and in doing so, will have understanding.
The one who refuses to walk therein shall fall into the very things which Hosea referred to.
Is there hope? Yes, as we lose our life in him, lay aside our will for his, we can find direction in this massive confusion.
Lay aside the "I" for Him working in us. Not what I can do but what He can do through me.
One of the most difficult of lessons for me to learn. "In him is my fruit found." Only as I can allow him to work through me can there be fruit. How? Claim His strength, obey His word, Leave the results up to Him.
God has been moving in the last few weeks, He has been showing
some people that only in Christ is their fruit found. We need
to pray for the Lord to continue to show people that only in Him
is this fruit found.