Northern Exposure

Lance Ponder's picture

Hos 2:10-12 Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall rescue her out of my hand. And I will put an end to all her mirth, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her appointed feasts. And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees, of which she said, ‘These are my wages, which my lovers have given me.’ I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall devour them.

If Israel’s people could see through their kings’ apostasy is it any wonder that the surrounding nations could see their hypocrisy? In the decades prior to Assyria’s assault Israel experienced considerable economic prosperity. They built up their military and invested in the popular cult temples alongside their own YHWH places of worship. The figs and vines were literal sources of income as well as figuratively representing the fruit of idolatry. Israel trusted in its own power to gain wealth, literally and religiously. By saying “I will make them a forest,” God was saying that Israel would become full of itself, puffed up with pride and arrogance, all the greater to fall when the beastly Assyrians came. In much the same way we often take God for granted today. We put our trust in our own hands and intellect. We think with our technology or money or even our good works we decide our own fate. We delude ourselves when we think to steal God’s sovereign authority.

Hos 2:13 And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals when she burned offerings to them and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers and forgot me, declares the Lord.

Simply stated, it was Israel’s idol worship that so severely angered God. The first three commandments, written by God’s own hand in a piece of rock, clearly tell us that God is jealous and we are to have no other gods. The third commandment says not to “take the name of YHWH in vain.” This literally means we are not to associate God’s name with false worship or false oaths. Doing these things is blaspheme because man robs God’s name of authority and power and assigns it a place with falsehood. Any time we forget God and chase after the desires of our carnal nature we break these commandments and anger God.

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