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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Losing out (Hosea 12)

The Lord continues to assess the state of his people, Israel. They were pleased with their decision to depend on Assyria (it is the east wind referred to in verse 1); they also continued to engage in acts of deceit and violence. Verse 7 describes the dishonesty of the merchants and verse 11 refers to the idolatrous practices of the people. The people are informed again as to why the Lord will bring severe judgement on them. Time has moved on a bit from the message of the previous chapter because now the Lord also has a controversy with Judah (v. 2).

As in the previous chapter, the Lord goes back to the early days in Israel's history, this time to the experience of Jacob when he had to flee to the east because of the way he had deceived his brother. Even when he returned from there he was still using deceptive methods until the Lord met with him at Bethel and changed his outlook by wrestling with him there. The obvious application for Israel is that they should imitate their deceptive ancestor and repent and submit to the Lord and his ways (vv. 3-6).

In verses 9-14, the Lord informs the Israelites that he will make them once again a homeless people like they were in the desert. He highlights the sins of idolatry that was practised in Gilgal. It was an expression of deceit, and deceit gets people nowhere (as, in verse 12, Jacob discovered while working for Laban in order to get his wife).

Although the Lord had been good to their forefathers at the Exodus, the Israelites were determined to forsake him. Therefore it was inevitable that judgement would come. Repentance which could have averted it was not present. If they had repented, who knows what blessings they would have received from God?

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