A Vessel in Whom There is No Pleasure
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to Hosea, chapter 8, that portion of the Word we have been studying together. If you have been with us in these studies, you will recall that we have come to that portion which is dealing with God's complaint against the nation of Israel as it was uttered by His servant Hosea. We would like for you to notice chapter 8 as the final word in this complaint that was uttered—a warning that judgment was sure and certain. Follow in your Bibles, please, as we read:

Hosea 8

1Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law.
2Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee.
3Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.
4They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.
5Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency?
6For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.
7For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk; the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.
8Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure.
9For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers.
10Yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them, and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes.
11Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin.
12I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.
13They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it; but the LORD accepteth them not; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt.
14For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.

If we were going to analyze with you at the very outset the subject matter which is in this chapter—I think it would be helpful to do so—we would suggest that the following things be kept in mind: The chapter will speak of pending judgment; it will list the provocations to judgment which are found in the history of the nation of Israel; it will describe a very practical judgment without any flourish or embroidery; it will describe a pictorial judgment.

If you listen very carefully and apply yourself as we meditate together in this chapter, you will find some provocative thoughts that should cause every one of us to think in relation to our own lives and in relation to the nation in which we live, because I think you will find a similarity therein.

Pending Judgment

Pending judgment—why is that brought to our attention? Look at the first verse of chapter 8, and notice the words:

Hosea 8

1Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law.

We are especially interested in the first statement: “Set the trumpet to thy mouth.” Actually, in the original text it is more emphatic than that. It is, “the trumpet to the lips,” without any complete sentence. When you find some definite statement such as that, you are reminded of the urgency of the situation. The picture presented is not the blowing of the trumpet. We won't hear it sound all during the chapter, but the suggestion is rather that the trumpet be placed to the lips with the idea of its being sounded at a moment's notice. Because Israel was so near the time when judgment was going to fall, God instructed that the trumpet be placed to the mouth that not a moment be lost when the time came for the trumpet of alarm to be sounded, which would indicate that judgment was coming and individuals should be ready to meet that which God was about to bring upon them.

Provocations to Judgment

We said that you would find in this chapter not only pending judgment, but provocations to judgment; that is, what was it about the nation of Israel that provoked God to judgment? What was it that caused God to say to His watchmen, “Take the trumpet to thy lips, be ready to sound at a moment's notice.”?

I would like for you to look with me at the first verse of this chapter again as we read:

Hosea 8

1Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, [notice especially these two clauses] because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law.

In those two clauses you find summarized the thing that provoked God Almighty to judge His nation. They had transgressed the covenant. What was that? They were God's chosen people. He made an agreement with Abraham and with the heirs of Abraham that they would be separate and apart for Him, that they would be a vessel which He could use for His own purpose to bring glory to His name. They broke the covenant. That is what God had against them.

Not only had He made a covenant with them, He had written down a law and explained very carefully what was expected of them, how they were to observe the law principle in their life. Instead of observing the law, they transgressed the law. This is the summary of everything that you find in the chapter because what else we are going to notice concerning provocations to judgment will be but the delineation of these two facts.

Israel's Idolatry

As we notice how these provocations are delineated—spoken of in detail—we call to your attention one word, the word altars . The provocations to judgment were related to the altars which Israel had built in direct contradiction to God's revealed will. Their transgression of the covenant, the trespass of the law, was related to their disloyalty to God along religious lines. Look at verse 4 of this chapter, where we read:

Hosea 8

4They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.

“Of their silver and their gold they have made idols.” The King James version says, “that they may be cut off.” It is not as happy a translation as it might be. A better translation is, “Of their silver and their gold they made idols and both were wasted.”

I think that is an apt emphasis. The idols could do them no good; they were inanimate objects. Because they could do them no good, the very gold and silver out of which they made them was wasted; it could have been put to better use.

To provoke your thinking, may I suggest that you give consideration to how much energy and time you may be putting into religious activity that is wasted. The same energy put into the things which God ordains, not the religion of men, could accomplish so much more.

Glance at verse 5, and notice God's address to Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom.

Hosea 8

5Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency?

Notice how God becomes very particular when He said, “Thy calf, Oh, Samaria, hath cast thee off.” In Samaria there was a golden calf to which all of Israel was invited for purposes of worship instead of making the long journey to Jerusalem with all the trying things accompanied with it.

But if you look again at that statement, “Thy calf, Oh Samaria, hath cast thee off.”, I would like to suggest that here, too, is an unhappy translation. I believe you will have a better understanding of the sense of the verse if you read it, “I have rejected their calf with loathing.” It isn't that the calf had cast Samaria off, because it was as inanimate as all the other idols, but it was that God cast the calf off. He refused to recognize it, and He did so, if you please, with loathing in His heart, disgust that anyone would dare to say that that calf could be God. Not only did He cast it off in verse 5, but you will notice in verse 6, the words:

Hosea 8

6For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.

This calf of gold was made by the workmen of Samaria. The calf was rejected by God and God declared, “It shall not be God no matter how much you try to make it so. No matter how much you hope it will be, it will not be. It will be broken in pieces in time.” For God is God. He is jealous of His glory, and He will not give it to another. Though He is long-suffering and kind, eventually He brings to a natural end that which would attempt to take the place of God, as certainly as He cast Lucifer out of Heaven when Lucifer said, “I will ascend up to the place of the Most High and be like unto God.”

Israel's Alliance With the World

As we further delineate the provocations to judgment we call your attention to the word alliances , reminding you that Israel was to be a separated people. She was not to have anything to do with the other nations of the world. And yet, in verse 9, we read:

Hosea 8

9For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers.

Judah, like a wild ass, wandering aimlessly about, ran up to Assyria, and said, “Will you protect us from our enemies? We are ready to make an alliance. You name the price and we will pay it.” And we read, “Ephraim,” which is the name for the Northern Kingdom as you will recall in the last part of verse 9, “hath hired lovers.” Then notice in the first part of verse 10, emphasis is placed again upon the fact:

Hosea 8

10Yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them…

They hired support among the nations. The thought of this verse of Scripture seems to me to be very much up-to-date, because it does not suggest that they offered to pay mercenaries to fight their battles, as was done in the early days of a century ago, but it means they made gifts to these nations; they sent doles to them. They supplied them with money for improvement programs in the nations round about, with the hope that they could buy their love and their loyalty.

Before the story is over, you will realize that no love nor loyalty was bought, nor could it be bought. This sounds rather up-to-date. It does look as though we in this nation, in this generation, might learn by their mistakes. You cannot buy support nationally, privately, individually. People love you out of their hearts. They do not love you because of the monetary benefits they receive. Oh, they make you think they do, because they want on the gravy train, but the love will not be there.

The Spiritual Presumption of Israel

There is another word we would call to your attention which represented a delineation of the provocations which the nation of Israel brought before God that made it necessary for God to visit in judgment, and that is the word attitudes . The attitudes which the nation of Israel manifested toward God were such that God had no choice but to visit judgment upon them. As we read the chapter, perhaps you recognized some of the attitudes which were theirs that brought about the need for judgment at the hand of God. As we suggest to you what some of these attitudes are, perhaps you will have recognized them though you may not have used the same words to describe them. We simply use these words as an aid to your memory in keeping the facts before you.

The first attitude that we would like to consider with you that provoked the judgment of God against them we have labeled presumption . This presumption was spiritual; this presumption was political. God never likes men to presume upon Him and upon His grace. When they continue in any said presumption, then God has to visit with judgment. Please notice verse 2, of our chapter:

Hosea 8

2Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee.

If you will look at verse 13, an amplification of this same thought:

Hosea 8

13They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it; but the LORD accepteth them not; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt.

What was this spiritual presumption? That in spite of what they did and in spite of how they lived, they were in fellowship with God and accepted of Him. This is a dangerous presumption indeed. In verse 2, the prophet said, “In spite of all that they do that is contrary to the will of God, trespassing against His covenant, transgressing His law, they say, ‘My God, we know Thee'.”

We are reminded of what has been recorded in the New Testament, words uttered by the Lord Jesus Christ, when He said that there will be people stand before Him in eternity and say, “Lord, Lord, have we not cast out demons in thy name? Have we not done many wonderful works?” He will find it necessary to say to them, “Depart, I never knew you. I never heard of you, even though you called Me by name.” Israel presumed that in spite of what she did, it made no difference to God and her spiritual life would go on in just the same fashion.

The Political Presumption of Israel

Their presumption politically is found in the first part of verse 4, where we read:

Hosea 8

4They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not…

If you recall anything about the history of Israel, you will remember that a long, long time ago in relation to the period of time that we are speaking about, Israel wanted to be like the other nations of the world; she wanted a king. God was her king. He was meeting all her needs, but she said, “We don't want to have to go around and when people say, ‘Who's your king?' say, ‘God is'.” “Well, who is God? Where's His throne? Where's His palace? We don't want to have to go around apologizing. We would like to be able to say, ‘Oh, we have a king and he is taller than any man in the whole nation, and we built him a beautiful palace'.”

So, God said, “All right, you may have a king, but I want you to know that every king you have, I will choose. You will not choose them yourselves.” But the time came when they rejected the godly line. They refused to have the king of God's choice and began to appoint their own kings, and God says, “This is presumption. How dare you presume to take upon yourselves the responsibility which is rightfully mine.” God was provoked to judgment by their presumption. I trust that you will make the application that is needful in your own heart and life.

Perversity That Brings Judgment

There is another word that would describe the thing which provoked the judgment. I have used the word perversity , because it seems to me to be a good word to describe what is presented in verse 3 as one of the things that provoked God to judgment. In verse 3, we read:

Hosea 8

3Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.

You will notice, please, as you look at the text that the words, the thing that , are in italics, which indicates that they are not in the original text. The translators put them there for smooth reading and sometimes for clarification. Sometimes in the effort to make it easy for us to read the Scripture, the import of the original text is lost. Actually what the verse says is, “Israel hath cast off with loathing good.” Everything that was good Israel cast it off. She not only cast it off in the sense that they were negligent in relation to the discharge of duties, which were right, but they cast it off with the same kind of loathing that we talked about earlier when we said that God cast off the calf of Samaria with loathing. Just as God hated that gold calf, which people said was God, the people hated the good that was laid before them to do.

This in direct contrast to what God's Word said: “Seek good and pursue it.” It is in contrast to what the Holy Spirit of God has recorded in the New Testament. “Covet earnestly the best gifts” (I Corinthians 12:31). Instead of seeking good, they cast off everything that was good.

We have Christians today who go about saying, “What harm is there in this and what harm is there in that? Or is there any harm in this, or is there any harm in that?” That is a poor thing for Christians to do. Christians ought to be asking, “What is it about this thing that would edify and build me or someone else up?” But even those Christians who go about wondering what harm there is in this or that would not go so far as Israel did to examine something, pick it up and look at it, and if it turned out to be good, throw it away. They just didn't want to have anything to do with it at all.

Some translators are convinced, and there is evidence that might be convincing, though not totally so, that verse 3 could read, “Not only Israel hath cast off the thing that is good, but Israel hath cast off God.” God is good, and when the child of God is casting off that which God chooses best for him, then he is rejecting God.

Forgetting God's Word

There is another thing that indicated their perversity. Not only did they choose evil instead of good, but if you will glance at verse 12, you will notice something that is indicated concerning the attitude they ought to have had in relation to God's Word. Verse 12:

Hosea 8

12I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.

When it came to the Word of God and the things with which they should have been familiar, when someone read to them from the Word of God they said, “Who in the world said that?” They ought to have known it came from God. They were so perverse that their mind was cluttered up with every message of man that blotted out completely the message of God.

We suggest something else that would indicate an attitude of heart that would bring about the provocation of judgment on God's part, and I have used the word cried to describe it. You might look down at verse 14, where you read:

Hosea 8

14For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.

We will be back to this verse in a moment or two, but suffice it to say now that when the time of preparation against danger came, they did not take God into consideration. Instead they built their fenced cities and their fortifications and their temples, and they said in so many words, “We don't need God. If we are rich enough and well fortified enough, we can get along without Him.” This is pure perversity in the light of the revealed will of God.

We said that judgment was pending. We said that there were provocations of judgment in the chapter and we said we would find some very practical descriptions of the kind of judgment that was going to fall upon these people. There is nothing fancy about these pronouncements concerning judgment that was going to fall; they are intensely practical. We read that they were going to be driven before their enemies, and if you will glance at verse 3, you will see the emphasis on it, because there you read:

Hosea 8

3Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.

Notice especially the statement, “The enemy shall pursue thee.” The idea is that when God turned the enemies of Israel loose against the nation, they would flee before the enemy, the enemy fast on their heels.

Not only were they to be driven before the enemy, there was to be devastation of the crop which they had planted, both from nature and from the invasion of the enemy, for if you will look down at verse 7, you will read:

Hosea 8

7For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk [that is, the grain hath no stalk] the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.

There just isn't going to be a harvest. That's what God said. The crops are going to be devastated. Then He said, “If by chance there will be a small bit of crop, the enemies, the strangers will swallow it up.” So whether it's by nature or by the invasion of the enemy, the crops were to be devastated.

Dispersion of Israel

Another thought of practical judgment we have described by the word dispersion , and it comes to our minds from the first statement of verse 8:

Hosea 8

8Israel is swallowed up…

Who has swallowed them up? Look at the last part of that verse:

Hosea 8

8…now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure.

The dispersion is further emphasized in the chapter when you keep in mind what is recorded in verse 10:

Hosea 8

10Yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them, and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes.

The suggestion is that they shall be returned from the land where they have been dispersed in God's own time. Verse 13 emphasizes the same truth:

Hosea 8

13They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it; but the LORD accepteth them not; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt.

Very literally rendered it is, “They shall return to another Egypt.” God will send them off into Egyptian bondage as once He did before, because of the sin that He could not ignore.

A Threefold Manifestation of Judgment

The last thing we would suggest as a practical means of judgment is found in the last part of verse 14, where He said:

Hosea 8

14…but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.

This has not been particularly inspiring, but it should serve as a warning that when God speaks of judgment, He does not refer to something that is symbolic, something that has no reality to it; it is a very practical and real thing. He would paint the judgment that was to fall in terms that would grip the hearts of those who heard Hosea speak, for He wasn't content merely to present the practical judgment that was to fall upon the nation. He presented in this chapter what we refer to as pictorial judgment under a threefold manifestation: the eagle, the whirlwind, and the vessel. Look at verse 1, please:

Hosea 8

1Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law.

You notice the first few words of that statement, “He shall come,” are in italics. That indicates what we have always said. They are not in the original text. It detracts from the emphasis you find in the original Hebrew, for actually what is read is, “As an eagle against the house of the Lord.”

I am sure had you heard Hosea declare that in the day in which he preached it, you, with the background the people had then, would have shuddered, because there would have come to mind all the implications of that simple statement, “as an eagle against the house of the Lord.” For there was in the mind of Hosea and in the minds of the people the picture of an eagle suddenly swooping down upon its prey out of the far distant sky. If you have ever seen any pictures of eagles swooping down through the air at something flying through the air, and picking it out, hitting the mark, you realize that God used this figure of speech to remind the people that when the Age of Grace has come to an end, and the sands of God's love have ceased to flow, judgment will be certain and judgment will be sure. It is inescapable.

Harvest of the Whirlwind

The second word that he used to present the judgment pictorially is the word whirlwind . If you will look down at verse 7, you will find a statement that you have heard repeated time and time again, many times by people who did not realize what the significance of it actually was. Look at the first part of verse 7:

Hosea 8

7For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…

Oftentimes this is misquoted, saying “They have sown to the wind.” Well, if you sow to the wind, the wind blows everything away that you sow; that isn't it. It is a matter of comparison and contrast. “They have sown a small bit of seed that could be compared to the wind as the wind is contrasted to the whirlwind.” A whirlwind was a very real thing to the people in Hosea's day, for this word that is translated whirlwind , very literally can be translated “a raging storm upon the Red Sea—a hurricane.”

I have never been in one, thank the Lord, but I have talked to people who have been in hurricanes and tornadoes, and they have been quick to tell me that if I ever had been in one, I would have a feeling about them that I did not have now. I am sure that's true.

The reason that I say that to you is that the people who listened to Hosea speak that day had seen the raging storms upon the Red Sea, and when they heard Hosea say, “You have been sowing wind, but when you reap the harvest, it is going to be a raging storm like the storms you have seen on the Red Sea,” they had an idea what he meant.

May I suggest to you, Beloved, that all too many people today when they sow the wind forget that the whirlwind is inevitable. The Apostle Paul expressed it in different words, but applied the same principle when he said, “He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that soweth to the spirit shall of the spirit reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6:8).

A Useless Vessel

Perhaps the most significant picture of the kind of judgment that God was going to bring upon the nation is described in the word vessel . Look, please, at verse 8:

Hosea 8

8Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure.

Israel, because of her associations with the nations, forgetting her high and holy calling, selling herself out cheap to the nations of the world, had become a vessel in which there was no pleasure. It would be more practical to describe this vessel as a vessel which was useless, because that's the real meaning of the word pleasure —no use in the vessel at all. God had such high hopes for Israel. When He created this nation by a miracle, just as a potter molds a vessel, He molded her for a purpose. Then, forgetting her purpose, she cheapened herself among the nations. As another translator has it, “and when God looked upon her, He looked upon her as a vessel for which He had no use.”

God has placed a warning here for nations and individuals. When a nation forgets her destiny, she becomes a vessel that is of no more use to God, because He cannot use her for other than that which He intended she be used for.

It seems to me that more tragic than nations is what I have observed down through the years in relation to individuals, as I have noticed that individuals missing the purpose that God has for them have become vessels that are of no use.

The Apostle Paul was concerned about this. In chapter 9 of the first Corinthian letter, he said that he kept his body under. He was serious about everything he did, and he said the reason for it all is that, “After I have preached to others, I don't want myself to become a castaway.” He wasn't talking about a boat cast loose from its moorings, roving about on a sea with no certain goal. The word could be translated disapproved , laid on the shelf . “I don't want to become a useless vessel,” he said. I have met some useless vessels in the time I have been around, and I don't think there is anything quite so pathetic as a vessel not being used for the purpose that God intended.

I would encourage you to be very, very careful about your relationship with God, that you know what He wants you to do and to do it so that you not become what we have been thinking about, a vessel in whom there is no pleasure, a vessel for which God has no use.

Presuming Upon God's Mercy

In closing and by way of summary, I want to remind you of some provocative thoughts, some thoughts in this chapter that ought to be provocative for every one of us. Some of them we have looked at; most of them will be new for your thinking. One comes to mind here as I glance down at verse 5 of this chapter, where I read:

Hosea 8

5…how long will it be ere they attain to innocency?

It's that last part of the verse in which we are interested right at the moment. I have used the word presumption , which we have used before, to describe what is suggested to my mind by this question, “How long will it be before they attain innocency?” Perhaps you are saying, “Why do you use that word? What is there about presumption in that verse? It is just asking a question, ‘How long will it be ere this nation attains innocency'?” That is the way the King James version presents it, but that is not the actual rendering of the actual text. If this were the rendering of the text, “How long will it be before they attain innocency,” we could say, “In a moment, in the briefest period of time that can come to mind.” It would take them no longer to be pure than it would take you to be pure if you as a Christian have sinned, because in I John, chapter 1, verse 9, you are familiar with the instruction of God's Word that your purity, your cleansing, can be as quickly restored as it takes you to confess the sin which you have committed.

So there is not much point in asking the question, “How long will it be before they attain innocency?” In the light of the context, it would even suggest that they might be able to perform some kind of penance to encourage God to declare them pure. That isn't the thought of the verse at all. I think Phillips has caught the thought of the verse when he said, “How long shall they escape scot-free?” That is the reason I used the word presumption —how Israel presumed upon the mercy of God, how Israel presumed upon her place and her standing. She was saying in so many words, “We are who we are. We can do what we wish, and nothing will happen to us.” Or she could do as often she did, say, “God hasn't done anything to us as yet; what makes you think He is going to do anything to us now? He hasn't punished us yet; why will He suddenly begin to punish us now?”

This is presumption. God leveled a question at them that every thoughtful person ought to consider if he is out of fellowship with God, if he is walking in the pathway of disobedience: How long, how long can he expect to escape scot-free? Presumption is a foolish sin.

Ignoring God's Revealed Will

As we suggested to you, there is another thought and for this thought we have chosen the word unconcern . Israel was marked by a tremendous unconcern and it is brought to my mind in a verse that I called to your attention a few moments ago, about which I said we would have a bit more to say. Would you look at verse 12:

Hosea 8

12I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.

When God was puzzling over Israel and all that she had done that had provoked Him to judgment, He said, “I have written down all of the things that I want them to know” [this is proof of the fact that the Word of God was a written word long before many, many think it was] “yet they sound strange in their ears. They sound almost like a foreign tongue to them.”

Again I would suggest that Phillips has caught the spirit of the verse when he paraphrases, saying, “If I were to write out for him the ten thousand instructions of my law, he would look upon them as foreign rule and of no concern of his.” This is why I have used the word unconcerned . I would provoke your thinking by asking you, are you so little concerned about the Word of God that when various portions of the Word of God are brought to your attention, relative to that thing which you are doing which is inconsistent with the revealed will of God, you say to yourself, “That's something I don't know anything about. And besides, it doesn't apply to me.”?

I don't know how often I have talked with individuals when they have been seeking the mind and the will of God, and I have shown them a passage of Scripture which declared plainly what God's will and purpose was, and they saw it and understood it and then they shrugged their shoulders and said, “I don't think it applies to me.” They had no concern about it at all. “Oh, it might apply to somebody, but it doesn't apply to me. I am an exception to the rule.”

Several years ago I saw a young lady and I read her the Word of God, and I pleaded with her not to do what she was going to do. I showed her the Word, and she said, “It doesn't apply to me.” That young lady I saw recently, eleven years after I sat and said to her what I said, and do you know what she said to me eleven years later? “I don't suppose you will want to talk to me, because when you talked to me eleven years ago, you showed me very plainly from God's Word what was expected of me, and I didn't do it. I told you it didn't have any application to me.” And then she said, “Perhaps if you don't want to talk to me, you can convey this information to others. It did have an application to me, but it took me eleven years to learn it. It had an application, but it took me eleven years to realize it.”

I say, Beloved, to provoke your thinking, if you find something in the Word of God, please, for God's sake, don't ignore it. It does have an application to you. It should be a concern of yours.

The Danger of Forgetting God

The last word I would suggest we consider by way of provocative thought is the word forgetfulness . Are you forgetful? Oh, you say, “Why no, really, I have a very good memory. I have a little system all my own where I can remember things.” I am not talking about that. I am talking about what is suggested to us in verse 14 of this chapter:

Hosea 8

14For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.

Israel hath forgotten his Maker. Let's don't just dismiss that lightly. Really, it wasn't that he had forgotten his Maker in the sense that he never thought about his Maker. We read in this chapter how he talked to God and said, “God, I belong to you.” God was very much in his mind. He even took his sacrifices—we read it here in this chapter—and offered them at the temple, as he had always been in the habit of doing. It wasn't that God was out of his mind. It was that he was not taking God into consideration in anything that he did. And since the big problem at this particular time in Israel's history was the invasion of the enemy, instead of going to God and pleading with God for the protection that God could give, God was forgotten.

Israel began to work out in her own way and her own method, her own deliverance, and she failed miserably. Again we would suggest to you a translation that I think catches the spirit of the verse. It reads, “For Israel hath forgotten his maker and built palaces while Judah has built fortress after fortress.” Israel had an idea that is adopted by people today—if you can make it big enough and impressive enough, people will fall prey to it; if you talk long enough and talk loud enough, people will be impressed with your importance.

You notice that I said people , not God. These individuals forgot God. They built their fortresses and their palaces and they thought, “We, with our might and our prosperity, don't need God.”

Conclusion

The last statement of the chapter is a simple message from God, “In spite of all this I will send the fire upon the city and it shall devour the palaces thereof.” Beloved, you can't forget God. You can't leave Him out of your life. We can't leave Him out of the life of our nation. I hope we will learn before our cities go up in flames. I hope we will learn it individually before all that is near and dear to us is consumed in the flames of God's chastening love.


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