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the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 8

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-14

Chapter 8

Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law ( Hsa Hosea 8:1 ).

So God again is giving His indictment against them. Number one, they have trespassed His covenant. Number two, they transgressed His law. God had established a covenant with the nation Israel. The covenant was the basis whereby God would be their God and would bless them. "Now if you do these things, I will be your God and I will bless thee. I will multiply thy crops and I will multiply thee upon the face of the earth." And God tells of all of the blessings if He is their God and they will only worship and serve Him. "I will grant you all of these blessings, but this the basis for them. This is the covenant." And so they had a covenant relationship with God, but they had transgressed against the covenant. They had broken the covenant that God had made.

Now it is interesting that God made many covenants in the Old Testament. God made a covenant with Adam; Adam broke it. God made a covenant with Abraham and Abraham's seed; they broke it. God made a covenant with Israel; they broke it. Now God has made a new covenant with the church. In Hebrews we are told that it is a better covenant. God has established a basis whereby He will be your God and you can be His people; again, a covenant relationship. But if Adam broke the covenant and Abraham's seed broke the covenant and Israel broke the covenant, what hope is there for us? Why do we think we are any better than they are? In reality we're not, but we have a better covenant. God's covenant with Adam, Abraham, and through Moses, with the children of Israel was all predicated upon their obedience. "And if you do these things you shall live by them." God's covenant with us through Jesus Christ is predicated upon His faithfulness and my just believing in Him and in His faithfulness.

Now man failed, but God can't fail. The covenant with Israel was broken because Israel transgressed the covenant. God's covenant with me will never be broken because it's based upon the faithfulness of God to keep His Word. And God has promised that if I believe in His Son, I'll have eternal life. Glorious covenant that God has made with me, and I have no intention of ever doing anything other than believing on His Son. So, I am trusting God and the faithfulness of God, not my righteousness, not my obedience to a set of rules or regulations, but my love for Jesus Christ and my faithfulness--or actually, my faith in Him, His faithfulness, and in His work for me.

So Israel had transgressed, they had trespassed against God's law. The law of the Lord is good. Paul says, "The law is good." The problem wasn't the law. God's law was holy, it was just, it was good. Nothing wrong with God's law at all.

Unfortunately, many times God's law comes into a bad light because we oftentimes like to say, "Oh, we're not under law," like it was a bad thing, "we're under grace." And we have a tendency to sometimes sort of look at the law as something that was evil, something that was not good. No, the law was holy; it was just, and it is good. Micah said, "He hath shown thee, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee" ( Micah 6:8 ). Here in verse Hosea 8:3 : "Israel's cast off that which is good." They've cast off the covenant of God; they've cast off the law of God. They've cast off that which was good. There's nothing wrong with the law of God. Paul said the problem is with us. The law is spiritual and we are carnal. The problem isn't with God's law; it's good. David said, "Happy is the man who walks not in the council of the ungodly, nor stands in the way with sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and in this law does he meditate both day and night." It's good. "Because he'll be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, bringing forth his fruit in season. His leaf also shall not wither. Whatsoever he does will prosper" Psalms 1:1-3 ). The law good. God has given in the law the basis for a society, the basis for man living together, the basis for you to have a happy, fulfilling rich life. Nothing wrong with the law. But they transgressed or they trespassed against the law of God. They cast out the law of God, trespassed against it.

Now Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee ( Hsa Hosea 8:2 ).

But God declares He doesn't know them.

For they have cast off the thing that is good: [God, their relationship with Him, the covenant.] and thus the enemy is gonna pursue them. They have set up kings, but not by me ( Hsa Hosea 8:2-4 ):

Now in the Northern Kingdom they set up their kings. The people called for Jeroboam and it wasn't by God. God's promise was to David and to his seed. And then in the Northern Kingdom it came that there went from one dynasty to another as there were the murders, the assassination of the kings and it really became chaotic.

They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: [that is, it was not by my approval] and of their silver and of their gold have they made them idols, that they might be cut off ( Hsa Hosea 8:4 ).

So they had begun to worship and serve other gods. This is God's indictment.

Thy calf ( Hsa Hosea 8:5 ),

The god that they set up in Samaria and said, "This is the god that brought you out of Egypt."

Thy calf, O Samaria, has cast thee off; my anger is kindled against thee: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency? For from Israel was it also: that the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces ( Hsa Hosea 8:5-6 ).

So God pronounces the judgment upon their gods.

For they have sown the wind ( Hsa Hosea 8:7 ),

By their turning away from God, by their establishing the idol worship, by their transgressing against the covenant and trespassing against the law they had sown the wind.

and they shall reap the whirlwind ( Hsa Hosea 8:7 ):

Oh, what a lesson this ought to be to our nation today. We have been guilty now for several years of sowing the wind. Gradually, the courts have been ruling God out of the public life of the nation. The courts recently ruled in Arkansas that scientific creationism is nothing more than religion in disguise; it cannot be taught in the school and thus the children cannot be taught any alternative to the evolutionary theory. I think this is a very sad and tragic judgment and I think that it will have great repercussions. For the teaching of the evolutionary theory has already had great repercussions in our society.

It would seem that the schools would wake up pretty soon, the public school system, to realize that it is bankrupt. Their educational processes are bankrupt. We teach the children that they are animals and then we wail and cry because they act like animals. And in many of our public schools they have to hire police protection for the teachers to keep them from being assaulted by the little animals in their classrooms. It's sad. The public education system has become a zoo. Califano who used to be in charge of the Health, Education and Welfare Department, as he was leaving office said, "The worst place you could place a teenage child is in a public high school." Quite an admission. But why? Because we've sown the wind. We have tried to take away any real base.

It has no stalk: ( Hsa Hosea 8:7 )

That's what the Lord says.

By allowing the influence of Dewey and Watson and the Huxley's, we've allowed the existential philosophy with its humanistic base to pervade and to prevail in our public education system. And thus, the challenge of what is good and what is evil, and the rejection of any universal base of good, the rejection of any absolutes. Reflected in our art, modern art, which if you can understand it you're weirder than I am. It doesn't have any true form. Now there are pictures that I can understand, that's a farm and that's a fence around the farm and that's a cow out in the pasture and I can see that, and anybody can see that. But some of these modern forms of art where they stand back and throw the paints at the canvas and they put cow in the pasture next to the barn and look as I may, I can't find the cow in the pasture.

It's like when I was a kid and I used to study the plaster on the ceiling and look for the pictures in the plaster on the ceiling or looking for the forms in the clouds. And you can, you know, your mind can see things and as a child your imagination is very vivid. I used to see all kinds of things on the ceiling; you know the irregularities in the plaster there. Of course, these poor kids today with acoustical ceilings, what can you see in an acoustical ceiling? But, you know, lying in bed and you're sick and all and you have nothing to do but look up at the ceiling. And it used to be with this textured plaster, you could make out different things in the ceiling. And sometimes I'd say to my brother, "Look! That looks like a horse up there!" "I don't see any horse." "Ya, look at that." "Blaah, I don't see a horse," you know. Well, I could, you know, but it is like seeing Orion chasing the Bull, you know. It takes a little imagination, but you can make it out.

But modern art, you see, what does it do? It testifies that there isn't an absolute. It's what you see in it, that's what counts. And every man sees what he wants. But the effect of existentialism is that of separating us. It takes away a unified base. It makes me an island; it makes me all alone in this big vast universe because no one is else is just quite like I am. No one else sees the same things I see, and suddenly I feel all alone and very lonely in a big vast universe because existentialism has isolated me and made me an individual and I've got to now start from my own human base, humanism. And I've got to now interpret all of the things the world around me as best I can and relate to them as I can without any base of where to start. Not having any rights or wrongs, it's all how I relate to it, how I feel about it, how it affects me. There's no stock, there's no base, and it leads to despair; it leads to hopelessness.

But not only is it without stalk,

the bud shall yield no meal ( Hsa Hosea 8:7 ):

A life lived after the flesh will bring a person to emptiness. Pursuing your own fleshly ambitions will not bring you satisfaction but only a deeper hunger that cannot be fulfilled. It'll yield no meal; it's all chaff. You go to eat it and there's no nourishment, there's nothing there. Life becomes empty like chaff.

And if it does yield [any flour] any meal, the strangers will come and swallow it up. For Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein there is no pleasure ( Hsa Hosea 8:7-8 ).

Cast off by God. Dwelling among the Gentiles for two days, but in the third day they're gonna live and be raised up.

For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers. And yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them, and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes. Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, the altars shall be unto him to sin. I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as strange things ( Hsa Hosea 8:9-12 ).

Whenever a man begins to count the law as strange things he's in trouble.

They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of my offerings, they eat it; but the LORD does not accept them; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt. For Israel has forgotten his Maker ( Hsa Hosea 8:13-14 ),

What a sad and tragic indictment. The people have forgotten their Maker.

and they're building temples, and Judah has multiplied his fenced cities: but I'll send a fire upon his cities, and shall devour the palaces ( Hsa Hosea 8:14 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Hosea 8". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/hosea-8.html. 2014.
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