Declaration of Intent
Until this point God has eluded to their punishment. He has said things like “if it were to yield, strangers would devour it” in 8:7 about their grain. Or “this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.” in 7:16. And now in chapter 9 He declares it.
“They shall not remain in the land of the LORD, but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean food in Assyria.” v. 3
“My God will reject them because they have not listened to Him; they shall be wanderers among the nations.” v. 17
So it is spoken. This chapter is a hard sealing of the fate of a hard nation. And a hard heart, as we can and will see.
Rejoice not, this chapter begins with, and it continues to reinforce that fact through reminders of their desolate condition in the face of their exile. Not only from their homes, but from their true love.
Not My People
We are reminded of the name of Hosea’s son at the beginning of the book as we read these pronouncements of exile, and no more reason for rejoicing. He says over and over agian that there will be no more feasts (v5), or drink offerings (v4), or glory for the nation of God (v11). Their blessing they once had as “the first fruit on the fig tree in it’s first season” (v10) is dead. They will have no more children. This is a terrible pronouncment of the evil they have taken upon themselves. It will result in the death of their children, and the war and exile that is coming will strip them of the rest.
“but Ephraim must lead his children out to him who slaughters.” v 13
My heart breaks. They refuse to see how they are harming themselves. How they have sold themselves out for a cheap security.
It’s hard to go on from here. I have to take a moment and let my heart finish it’s lament.
This feels like the end.
What else could there be after a progeny left desolate and an exile from their inheritance? They are no longer in existence. This has to be the end.
And yet it’s not. This chapter ends in their dispair, but there are 5 more chapters before the end of the story Hosea put to words.
There is still hope. God is not finished with them yet. And only because He is God. This is something we cannot comprehend. How judgement can really be just and include total forgiveness. How can this be justice when the judge suffers for the criminal. Praise God for His eternal love!
What can be our take away from this torment?
Is there any way that we can see ourselves in this stubbornly evil people?
When we can look into our hearts and see the things we selfishly cling to (despite the consequences) we see a small part of what we are really capable of against an almighty God.
What is there that we foolishly cling to, even though it is hurting us and those around us?