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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible

Hosea 7

Introduction

God Attempted To Heal Israel Though Discipline

-- Hosea Seven --

God stood as a judge against Israel. He charged them for their unfaithfulness. Israel was like an unfaithful wife that had committed adultery. She was guilty of spiritual adultery against Almighty God. Here, in this text, God again warned Israel of the punishment that she faced because of her failure to repent of her horrible wickedness. This nation was quick to profess repentance, but short on remaining true to the Lord. Israel was living as if there was no God to take notice of her sins. Our nation also very much needs pardon and our only hope is to have our sins forgiven by Jesus Christ.

The cause of many of Israel's sins was stated in the words, "Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned." ( Hos_7:8 ) Through unholy associations Israel had been corrupted and turned away from God. They had been blessed richly, yet they did not stay faithful to the Lord. Their situation could very well describe many of our day also. . .

Verses 1-6

Israel continued in iniquity -- Hos_7:1-6 : God attempted to heal Israel through corrective discipline. To His sorrow God discovered that Israel only became worse and worse. Their sin was so evident and open that He has no choice but to condemn her. His discipline was motivated by love and by His desire for Israel to repent and be saved. He desired Israel to return to Him and be spared. However, Israel became more and more corrupt. In Israel there was no place that you could be safe from thieves and robbers. Israel turned against the will of God and His desire was that they would return again to possess His character. Sadly, they refused to do so!

Israel made the sad choice that living with crime is better than living under God's truth. God said, "they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face." ( Hos_7:2 ) Somehow that thought that God did not know the wrongs they were doing. The iniquity of Israel was before the face of God. They were wrong and very far from God and now they must pay for their sins.

The king and the princes rejoiced in the wickedness and lies of their people. The rulers were themselves wicked and wickedness kept the people enslaved to the evil government. The entire nation of Israel was in this evil spiritual condition. The baker and the heated oven pictured how that the heat of Israel's corruption had reached a point of deserving severe punishment. The people of Israel were corrupt both in a fleshly sense and in a moral sense. The description given in Jer_5:31 seems so fitting to this occasion. "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" The evil grew in their hearts, like heat in the oven, as they waited for an opportunity to do evil. When the opportunity to do evil presented itself the pent up heat of evil desires burst out into a flaming, wicked fire.

Verses 7-10

Israel did not call on God -- Hos_7:7-10 : The sins and iniquities of the people were so widespread that they engulfed judges and other leading men in society. Sin was popular and Israel did not call on God. The cause of Israel's spiritual downfall was clearly stated in the words, "Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people." ( Hos_7:8 ) Mixing with the heathen people or being a "cake not turned" made it very difficult for Israel to maintain their relationship with God. Both of these figures pictures one that is unfit for God's use.

One of the saddest things about Israel's fallen spiritual state was that the nation seemed completely unaware of their condition. "Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not." ( Hos_7:9 ) At first a man can-not see the gray hairs scattered here and there on his head, neither did Israel realize the evil that had crept into their national and spiritual lives. By mixing with strangers and accepting their idolatry Israel had lost the strength and help of God. Their time was short and they did not know it. Their hair was turning gray (their time was short) and they could not even see it. "And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him for all this." ( Hos_7:10 ) They would not seek the Lord for help. How sad!

Verses 11-13

Israel tried everything but God -- Hos_7:11-13 : Israel sought the strength of other nations as a replacement for their dependence upon God. Ephraim is like a silly dove. She does not have heart or good judgment. She just flits about from one place to another without any purpose or serious defense. Israel turned to such sources as Egypt and Assyria for help instead of relying on God. Christians sometimes do the same thing that Israel did. They make friendships and try to gain strength from those that live without God. It did not work for Israel and it will not work for us.

God said, "When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard." ( Hos_7:12 ) "It is common for those that go away from God to find snares where they expected shelters." The Lord threatened to capture (Israel) that silly dove with a net. The net that He would use was the Assyrians, the very people to whom she had flown for help. God can and will bring those down that exalt themselves and turn themselves away from Him.

God had dealt with Israel in a gracious and loving manner. Yet they rebelled against Him and refused His commands. These Jews lied about the correction that God sent their way saying they did not deserve it. They lied about all the good He had done to them, through them and for them as if He had done too little. They even attributed the things done for them by God to some idol that actually did nothing. Israel had rebelled against God. So, now destruction is their reward.

Verses 14-16

Israel rebelled more and more -- Hos_7:14-16 : The rebellion of Israel against God has brought on devastation. God was their rightful king and ruler. He had always ruled fairly and with their good in mind. Hosea sadly wrote, "And they rebel against me." ( Hos_7:14 ) They not only left God but they made every effort to get Him off the throne and to set up other gods! Israel was in misery, but still they do not look to the one true and living God. There is no repentance on the part of Israel, no call for help to God from the heart of a fallen nation.

Observe what God had done for Israel. He "bound and strengthened their arms." In return they "imagined mischief against" Him. ( Hos_7:15 ) God had faithfully provided for all of Israel's physical needs. He had also granted all the spiritual things necessary for Israel to grow before Him, and yet they rejected it all. In the last verse of the chapter we read the heart rending words, "They return, but not to the most High." ( Hos_7:16 ) They pretended repentance but did not return unto the Lord. The apostasies of Israel from God lead to their enslavement and destruction. The same thing can happen to us! Israel looked to others instead of to God for help. They found only derision, misery and destruction.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Hosea 7". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/hosea-7.html. 2014.