TH E K I N O ’ S B U S I N E S S
promised for both their nation and their land. Addressing Ephraim, associated with Judah, as the whole nation, Jehovah speaks o f Israel’s sad condition (vs. 4-7). Their goodness was a passing thing, transient and unstable, like the morning dew that passes away. In their willfulness they stopped their ears so that they could not receive His warn ings when He spoke of their condition, and with hardened hearts they defied Him. Yet with patience He continually bore with them, sending prophets to them and even bringing various judg ments upon them in order to arrest them in their downward course and re store them to His fellowship. But they spumed His goodness; they desired to be left alone with their sin, and gradu ally they came to look upon their God with hatred. They refused to show mercy and tried to bide their cruelty under their sacri fices; they rejected the knowledge of God, yet persisted in bringing offerings to Him. Thus their sin became as the sin of Adam (cf. v. 7, R.V.), and their dealings became treacherous. Adam’s sin is the sin of all mankind; unbelief in God’s love, in God’s truth, and in God’s deity. God’s name was dishonored. His truth rebelled against, and His person defied. Hence Jehovah, charged Israel with wickedness and waywardness, with idolatry and shame. H. T he P romise (14:4-8) After fully reviewing their iniquity and the certain results that would fol low it, the Lord graciously gave His promise to the people, that if they would return to Him with confession and the forsaking of their sin, He would receive them. He would heal their back sliding and restore them to His tender care and full protection. He would heal where He had torn, and He would love them “freely” or “without cause in them,” or “without stint.” There would be no limits to His love for them and no limits to His gracious dealings with them. - He would be as the dew upon them, refreshing and cooling and heal ing after the long hot days they had spent under His chastening hand. Once their sin was forsaken, His anger would no longer be felt by them, because it was not against them but against their sin. The result of such a restoration as this would be that the nation would coifie to a proper separation unto God, and that condition would be followed by growth, and strength. The nation would have the growth and purity of the lily, and the strength and stability of the trees of Lebanon. It would show forth beauty like, that of the olive tree, and there would be a fragrance of tes timony. Because, of these facts, others would be attracted to Israel’s God and would find for themselves the same re
vival and growth* fruitfulness and fra grance as Israel enjoyed. Thus it will be in a coming day when Israel is re stored and made to be what God intends her to be. Nations now far from God will be drawn to God and will find in Him the blessing He intends them to find (cf. Isa. 2:1-4; Mic. 4:1-4; Zech. 8:20-23). But that day cannot come for the Gentile nations until Israel her self is restored to her God and her true worship, and is forever done with her rebellion and wickedness. Ephraim is here addressed as .representing the whole nation. HI. T he E xhortation (14:9) The exhortation is for the people to become wise, prudent, and just. To be come wise would mean to fear the Lord their God, to become prudent would mean to know the truth of the Lord, and to become just would mean to walk in the ways of the Lord. Before an at tempt can be made successfully to walk in the Lord’s ways, there must be con fession and forsaking of sin and the receiving of divine enabling. Points and Problems 1. “Come, and let us return unto the Lord” (Hos. 6:1). In one respect the chapter division is unfortunate here, for the first verse of chapter 6 is di rectly connected with the last verse of the preceding chapter, which reads as follows: “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their of fense, and seek my face; in their afflic tion they will seek me early.” Here Je hovah is speaking, and He is saying that because of Israel’s rebellion and sin, He will withdraw to His “place” until they are ready to acknowledge their sin. This is, in my judgment, one of the most important prophecies of the Old Testament. It explains what the late Sir Robert Anderson called “The Silence of God,” which obtains during the pres ent age. When the Son of God came to earth in person, God had done the ut most that He could do for a sinful na tion, and when they rejected and caused Him to be crucified, God made good His ancient threat. In a certain very real sense He returned to His own place in heaven, there to remain until Israel is ready to acknowledge her offense. Now the first, three verses of Hosea 6 are both a call from the prophet to Israel BLACKBOARD LESSON
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