Hosea 13 – “I Will Be Your King”
A. Two pictures of judgment.
1. (1-3) Sinful Israel will be scattered like the morning clouds.
When Ephraim spoke, trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended through Baal worship, he died. Now they sin more and more, and have made for themselves molded images, idols of their silver, according to their skill; all of it is the work of craftsmen. They say of them, “Let the men who sacrifice kiss the calves!” Therefore they shall be like the morning cloud and like the early dew that passes away, like chaff blown off from a threshing floor and like smoke from a chimney.
a. Now they sin more and more: God never blessed Israel when they worshipped Baal, but that didn’t stop them.They kept after their idolatry more and more.
b. The men who sacrifice may instead have the idea of engaging in human sacrifice, and could be translated “the sacrificers of men.”In ancient Israel human sacrifice was almost always child-sacrifice.Hosea has already spoken of this horrible practice in Hosea 9:13 and perhaps in Hosea 5:2.
i. “Viewed together, the sin is a total perversion of values.A craftsman’s work is elevated to divine status; human beings sacrifice their offspring to a metal object from whose lifeless form they also beg help; persons embrace with adulation the images of the very animals that they use for ploughing, threshing and hauling.” (Hubbard)
c. Therefore they shall be like the morning cloud and like the early dew that passes: Because Israel trusted in themselves and in idols, they could not stand.They would pass like the early dew.
2. (4-8) Sinful Israel will be torn apart as if by a lion.
“Yet I am the Lord your God ever since the land of Egypt, and you shall know no God but Me; for there is no Savior besides Me. I knew you in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. When they had pasture, they were filled; they were filled and their heart was exalted; therefore they forgot Me. So I will be to them like a lion; like a leopard by the road I will lurk; I will meet them like a bear deprived of her cubs; I will tear open their rib cage, and there I will devour them like a lion. The wild beast shall tear them.”
a. Yet I am the Lord your God ever since the land of Egypt: Israel changed, but the Lord God did not.He is still the only God and the only Savior, and His people will be left desolate when they leave Him.
b. They were filled and their heart was exalted; therefore they forgot Me: It is a strange and terrible aspect of human nature that when times are good, we often forget the God who blessed us.When times are bad we are often more likely to turn our hearts back to God.
i. At the end of the 20th Century, Americans were in a season of unprecedented prosperity.Yet statistics show that in the 1990s churchgoers gave a smallest percentage of their income in contributions since the Great Depression.Sadly, often when we are filled, then we find our hearts exalted, and soon we forget God.
c. So I will be to them like a lion: When we neglect and affront God as He blesses, we then will often face the chastening hand of God.It isn’t because God hates us, but because we have demonstrated that we will only turn to Him when times are bad.
i. “The three mentioned – lion, leopard, and bear – were all native to Palestine and known for their relentless manner of killing prey.” (Wood)
B. God, the only hope of Israel.
1. (9-11) The rejected King and the imposed king.
“O Israel, you are destroyed, but your help is from Me. I will be your King; where is any other, that he may save you in all your cities? And your judges to whom you said, ‘Give me a king and princes’? I gave you a king in My anger, and took him away in My wrath.”
a. You are destroyed, but your help is from Me: Even when Israel feels the sting of God’s chastening hand, they can still find help from the Lord, if they will only turn to Him.
b. I will be your King . . . I gave you a king in My anger, and took him away in My wrath: God wanted to be recognized as the King of Israel, no matter which man sat on the royal throne.When they rejected the Lord as King, He gave them the kind of kings their hearts wanted and deserved, and then even took those kings as further judgment.
2. (12-16) The sorrowful judgment of Ephraim and her children.
“The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is stored up. The sorrows of a woman in childbirth shall come upon him. He is an unwise son, for he should not stay long where children are born. I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes. Though he is fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come; the wind of the Lord shall come up from the wilderness. Then his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up. He shall plunder the treasury of every desirable prize. Samaria is held guilty, for she has rebelled against her God. They shall fall by the sword, their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child ripped open.”
a. The sorrows of a woman in childbirth shall come upon him: Labor pains often come unexpectedly, are intense, and increase in their pain and duration.In the same way, judgment will come upon Israel.
b. I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: The sin and judgment of Israel is great, but not greater than God’s ability and power to redeem.He can even redeem . . . from death, so that death and the grave are mocked as defeated foes.
i. Paul quoted the Septuagint translation of Hosea 13:14 in describing our triumph over death in our sharing in the resurrection of Jesus: O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? (1 Corinthians 15:55)
c. Samaria is held guilty, for she has rebelled against her God: In the long term, Israel will see the glory of God’s redemption and His power over sin and death.In the near term, Israel will be chastened for their rebellion against God.
© 2001 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission