Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hosea 9 - Israel Has Not Listened

LINK: Hosea 9 

BACKGROUND 

Remember that Israel is often referred to as Ephraim because it was the most powerful of the ten northern tribes of Israel. 


The chapter speaks of the threshing floor. This was a flat area that was built on a hilltop. The grain would be gathered there, and the harvesters would beat the wheat until the chaff (the dry, scaly protective coating of the seed of grain also called the husk) was separated from the edible grain. The harvesters would stay there overnight to protect the grain, and the prostitutes would visit. Eventually, they started worship and sacrifice to false gods there. 


The "Day of Gibeah" in 9:9 refers to the rape and abuse of the traveler's concubine in Judges 19:14-30. Hosea is revealing the depths of Israel's corruption. The reference to "Gilgal" refers to the abandonment of God for an earthly king (2 Samuel 11:15) and Baal worship by Hosea's time (4:15; 12:11). 

On the outside, Israel seemed to be blessed, attributing their abundant harvest to Baal (2:5).  Up to this point, God had been very patient with Israel. There were repeated warnings and many postponements of Israel's day of reckoning (punishment) and retribution (9:7) for their idolatry. They did not listen to God's prophets.  Their prosperity and peace would become barrenness and bondage because of their deep depravity and sin. They would be taken away into exile. They will not be able to do legitimate worship, and their sacrifices in a foreign land would not be accepted by the Lord. They would not even be able to celebrate the acceptable feast to the Lord either. Assyria would be the new "Egypt" of bondage for them. 

REFLECTION 


It has taken me DAYS to write this post. I finally left my writing desk in frustration, and God said, "Put on your shoes, listen, and walk."  I obeyed, walked, and listened (and vented about my frustration with this post). 


He led me to walk by the house of a friend (doing demolition on their house, Jeremiah 1:10) and to call out to them. They led me on a "demolition tour," and my talk with the wife was the reason God had told me to take that walk. He gave me a timely message for the wife (and for their church and some demolition work to do there, as well). 


I think we are a lot like Israel. We just do not listen. We do not allow God to break into our routine to do something because we think it is odd. I think we would have a lot more fun and less frustration if we did. I left their house and could finish this post with ease. Thanks for breaking in, God. 


So, that is the message that God had for me with this chapter in Hosea, and I just did not get it for a few days. Now I do. 


The prophets spoke and spoke and spoke, but Israel would not listen. 


Will we?



APPLICATION 


Why will you not listen? List your reasons.


Now, let your LIST evaporate into LISTening!


This book will so encourage you to listen and obey:

http://god-guides.com/

PRAYER

Speak Lord, we are listening. Amen. 
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