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We have here the threatened visitations of the Lord upon Israel, on account of transgressions. And if we read those awful denunciations of God, and keep in remembrance their accomplishment in the Babylonish Captivity, the whole is explained to us.
I beg the Reader to remark with me, how much the Prophet dwells in all his Sermons, upon that feature of character which is so lovely and gracious; I mean the Lord Jesus being the Husband of his people. Though Israel had gone a whoring from her God; and worthless, and base as this was, yet, Reader, do not overlook the Lord's grace in Israel's unworthiness. Israel could not have been charged with this crime of unfaithfulness, had not the Lord been her Husband. And while we find the Lord lamenting this perfidy of his spouse, as he doth continually in those scriptures, can there be a higher proof than that the Lord, through the whole of his complaints, is manifesting grace that Israel may return? Isaiah 54:5 ; Jeremiah 3:1 . Oh! how truly blessed is such a view of Jesus!
Looking with an eye to the captivity in Babylon, the Lord threatens Israel with removing them from the holy land. Indeed, an unfaithful wife ought not to dwell under the roof with her injured husband. The Lord is very jealous for his honor. And when that Israel no longer dwells in the Lord's land, how shall she enjoy the Lord's sacrifices?
Reader, I beg of you to observe the Lord's grace still to Israel. How tenderly doth the Lord mourn over his captives, when beholding them void of ordinances. What will ye do, saith the Lord? If there were no other expressions than these of the kind, I cannot but think that these are enough to prove, that the whole of what is said in judgment, is all with an eye to mercy! Egypt, and Memphis, are here spoken of as the cities of desolation to Israel.
Reader! do not fail still to pursue the subject with an eye to the Lord's grace, for the whole Chapter is full of it. The Lord, to whose comprehensive view, all things past, present, and future, form but one and the same object; beheld the visitation as at the door. His watchmen had shown it. The event cannot be passed over. But pray remark, how tenderly the Lord still speaks of Israel, in the days of his espousals. The Lord found Israel, like grapes in the wilderness; that is, as grapes are peculiarly grateful in such a place; so Israel was to the Lord; pleasant and delightful. See Jeremiah 2:2-3 . Reader there is a peculiar aggravation in the sins of God's people, after they have known the Lord. This is to wound the Redeemer in the house of his friends. Zechariah 13:6 .
There is the same strain in this part of the Prophet's discourse as in the former: and the whole sum and substance of the sermon, is the Lord's grace and Israel's unworthiness. But I hope the Reader will not fail, under the teaching of God the Holy Ghost, to discover that the chastisements of the Lord here spoken of, are the chastisements of a friend; and all that is here spoken by the Lord, in reference to punishment, is with the view of sanctifying his dispensations to his glory, and Israel's recovery in Christ Jesus. Hosea's text to this and every sermon in his prophecy, is suited in that blessed scripture; O Israel thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. Hosea 13:9
BLESSED Emanuel! how can I fail to behold thee, in this Chapter, under the endearing character of the Husband of thy Church; while hearing my Lord thus expostulating with his Israel of old, for their whoredoms and fornications! Indeed, indeed, precious Jesus! thou hast married our nature, in having taken that pure portion of it, which thy Father gave thee, into union with thyself. And thou hast thereby most plainly and fully proved, how great and unequalled the love thou hast fixed on thy spouse the Church. And didst thou not know, holy Redeemer, how unfaithful and unworthy thy wife would prove? Yea, Lord! thou didst not only know it, but didst declare it. I knew thou didst say, that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and be called a transgressor from the womb! Yet such was thy love, that this did not stop the graciousness of thine Almighty purposes; neither prevent thy union, or the manifestation of thy tender affection to thy people. In every age, to the worthlessness of thy chosen, thy grace hath been shown; neither hast thou kept back thy loving mercy from thy redeemed, even when like Israel here, thy Church hath gone a whoring, and set up the stumbling block of iniquity in the heart! Oh! Lamb of God! what patience but thine could have borne with the sins of thy people; yea, with the unceasing rebellions of the hand that now writes? From the first moment that thou didst pass by, and beheld our whole nature cast out to perish, and polluted in our blood, and didst bid us live to the present hour of thy Church; who shall recount most among all the members of thy redeemed, the greatest recoveries by grace, amidst the greatest undeservings of nature? Whose song on earth, or whose note of salvation in heaven, shall be the loudest in praise of Jesus's love? Precious Lord Jesus! while I read Hosea's prophecy; behold the relation of Israel's sins, and thy mercy; while I call to mind how thy long suffering hath been exercised in the thousand and ten thousand instances of all thy people, from that period to the present; yea, from the garden of Eden, through all the ages of the Church; and to continue until the consummation of all things; I feel constrained to cry out in the language of thy servant the Prophet; who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage. Thou retainest not thine anger forever; because thou delightest in mercy. Yes! precious Jesus; thou wilt turn again; thou wilt have compassion upon us; thou wilt subdue our iniquities, and thou wilt cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Hosea 9". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12