“When I would have healed Israel,
Then the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered,
And the wickedness of Samaria.
For they have committed fraud;
A thief comes in;
A band of robbers takes spoil outside.
They do not consider in their hearts
That I remember all their wickedness;
Now their own deeds have surrounded them;
They are before My face.
They make a king glad with their wickedness,
And princes with their lies.
“They are all adulterers.
Like an oven heated by a baker—
He ceases stirring the fire after kneading the dough,
Until it is leavened.
In the day of our king
Princes have made him sick, inflamed with wine;
He stretched out his hand with scoffers.
They prepare their heart like an oven,
While they lie in wait;
Their baker sleeps all night;
In the morning it burns like a flaming fire.
They are all hot, like an oven,
And have devoured their judges;
All their kings have fallen.
None among them calls upon Me.
Have we ever been in a place where we had the supply, the resource needed by another, offered it and had it refused only to watch that other one suffer needlessly? This is the picture Hosea paints of a nation deserting their God, who chose them! They go their own way, follow others who only turn on them in their time of need. And all the while, God waits to help them and they do not turn back. We too, as a nation, have gone astray; each to his own way.
Isaiah 53:6 KJV – All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
The picture is not a picture of the end. There is hope. “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus came; we look forward to celebrating His coming. But it doesn’t stop there. He gave his life. This life gift was the needed sacrifice to pay for the sins of all mankind. And He died as the penalty for sin is death. But it doesn’t end there! There is an empty tomb that promises us the same eternal life he demonstrated. He wasn’t a victim of death; death was his victim! Where, o death, is your sting?
“1Corinthians 15:55 NKJV – “O Death, where [is] your sting? O Hades, where [is] your victory?”
Hosea 13:14 NKJV – “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes.”
We grieve at the loss of loved ones; but it doesn’t end there! We will rejoin them, and there is comfort in knowing that they are with the Lord. Life, not death is the promise to those who accept what Jesus came to do and did. Life, not death is the promise to those who turn back to the Creator who loves them. Life, not death is the promise to those who become one with the Son and the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit and live now through eternity. Blessed be the name of the Lord!