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We have here another Sermon of the Prophet, or perhaps it is but a continuation of the former, for the subject is the same. The Lord expostulates with his people, and threatens to correct them.
The Chapter opens with a command to someone, and it should seem most likely to be to the Prophet, to cry aloud, in a way of reproof and expostulation. The expression is not unlike that command to Isaiah 58:1 . And if we spiritualize the chapter, and for a moment lose sight of Israel of old, and read in what is here said, the Lord speaking to his Israel now; the word, under his Almighty teaching, will be very profitable. For Reader! mark verse by verse what the Lord here saith, and see if there be not too great a correspondence in God's church, and among God's people, to what Israel is here charged with. Have not we transgressed the Covenant? and trespassed against God's law? And do we not, in the midst of all this, say, as Israel did; My God, we know thee? How often have we set up idols in our hearts, as the Kings and Princes of Israel did? How often have we been seeking alliance with creature strength, and creature confidences; setting up a righteousness of our own, instead of living wholly upon Jesus and his righteousness? Reader! do you not feel the full force of the Apostle's expostulation; what then? are we better than they? No, in no wise, for we have before proved both. Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin. Romans 3:9 . Reader! it is very humbling this, but it is thus the Lord teacheth us to profit, when we read scripture with an eye to our own state in the Church's history.
Here is a very striking passage in these words of the Lord, and is as suited to all ages as to the age of Israel. The Lord saith, that the great things he wrote to Israel were counted by them strange things. And Reader! what more strange to thousands, who call themselves Christians, than the pure doctrine of Christ's blood and righteousness, as the only possible means of salvation, and yet what so great and so glorious? Who, untaught of God the Holy Ghost, can enter into a right apprehension of that blessed doctrine; God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them? 2 Corinthians 5:19 . We shall indeed know these things to be the great things of God, if so be the Holy Ghost condescends to be our teacher. But without his gracious instruction, the mystery of godliness will be to us as strange things, and men will now, as much as in the days of Christ's flesh, call the most blessed truths hard sayings, and go back from Jesus, who never in heart walked with Jesus. John 6:60-66 , etc.
READER! Was there ever a period in the Church of Christ, when those that are divinely inspired, and called to the office of ambassadors for Jesus, needed to set the trumpet more powerfully to the mouth, and to call upon the sinners in Zion to be afraid for the impending judgments of God? Surely the Lord hath a controversy with the people, and he will plead with Israel. But, blessed Jesus! how sweet and refreshing doth it become to thy faithful ones, however few in number, that the interests of thy redeemed are safe, neither shall hell's gates prevail against the Church of Jesus. The enemy may have a momentary triumph; the adversaries of God's people seem to rejoice. The Church languishes in all her borders. But there is a set time to favour Zion, and in due season the Lord will arise to manifest his sovereignty, and the lighting down of his glorious arm. In the sure expectation of this, let God's tried ones repose, looking unto Jesus, who is both the Author, and Finisher, of faith. Shortly he will come to take out of his kingdom all things that offend; and prove himself to be the whole of salvation to his redeemed. In that blessed day of God, may it be the felicity, both of him that writes, and him that reads, (if the Lord will,) to be found among the ransomed of Zion, that shall return with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads, when sorrow and sighing, sin, sickness, and death, shall be known and felt no more.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Hosea 8". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13