Inevitable Judgment
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

We want to think with you in this lesson about chapter 9 of the book of Hosea. I would like for you to follow as I read the chapter, so that we are able to fix the thought in our minds and hear what God's message is for us.

Hosea 9

1Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor.
2The floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her.
3They shall not dwell in the LORD's land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria.
4They shall not offer wine offerings to the LORD, neither shall they be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted: for their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the LORD.
5What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the LORD?
6For, lo, they are gone because of destruction: Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them: the pleasant places for their silver, nettles shall possess them: thorns shall be in their tabernacles.
7The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.
8The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God.
9They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.
10I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved.
11As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception.
12Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, that there shall not be a man left: yea, woe also to them when I depart from them!
13Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer.
14Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.
15All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.
16Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.
17My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations.

Those of you who have been with us in all of these studies know that we are in the midst of what we have referred to as God's complaint against Israel through the lips of Hosea. You see, God was going to deal with His people; but before He would deal with them, He would explain why He had to deal with them. The messages that we have been looking at for the last several weeks fall into this particular area of discussion.

It is wise to remind you that though we read them one chapter after another at one sitting, they were not delivered in that way. There may have been weeks in between the deliverance of these various messages, and if there seems to be needless repetition to you, keep in mind that there is never any needless repetition in the Word of God; and when the messages were actually delivered by Hosea, the repetition was essential, because they did not hear them as close together even as you are hearing our comments on them.

The Days of Recompense At Hand

Chapter 9 is part of Hosea's complaint against Israel, and if I were going to give a name to this particular chapter, the message that is contained in it, so that you might have something that you might carry home with you, I would refer to it as the story of inevitable judgment . The key verse of this particular chapter is verse 7:

Hosea 9

7The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.

The first part of this verse again:

Hosea 9

7The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it…

The very tenor of the verse is that judgment is coming, but somehow Israel didn't expect it to come. They felt that somehow or other, by some means hit or miss, they would miss the judgment that God said was inevitable; but as this verse of Scripture emphasizes, when the judgment came, then they would know.

Somehow or other they couldn't realize it. They couldn't comprehend it until the judgment fell, but when it fell, then they would know that the prophet had spoken true. This thought is not particularly evident in the King James text, but it is evident in the translation we share with you that is, I think, one that conveys the idea. “The time of Israel's punishment has come. The day of recompense is almost here, and soon Israel will know it all too well.” What Israel is not able to realize in Hosea's day, relative to judgment, she will realize when judgment falls.

God's Judgment According to Principle

We are making applications of truth, believing that every portion of the Word of God was written for doctrine and for reproof and for instruction in righteousness. And I might remind you that the error that Israel faced is an error that our own nation is making. The error that the individuals of Israel faced is the error that a great many people are making today, because they think that for some reason, though God has visited judgment according to certain principles in the past, God will let them escape.

Judgment is a strange work with God. It is not something that God likes to do. He never does it without reason. Oftentimes people get the idea that God is a great big bully, sitting up in the heavens ready to swat people down like flies. But that isn't true. God has never visited judgment on any person except when He had to. He has never visited judgment upon any nation except when He had to, and when He did, He always made very plain what the cause of the judgment was.

I want us to examine this passage of Scripture and see the cause of the judgment that God had to level on Israel. Though I am not going to take the time to make the application as I did just a moment or two ago, we are going to trust you to think and believe the Holy Spirit will make the application to your own hearts, because time will not permit us to stop and make every application of individual truths. But keep in mind, God works according to principle.

Israel's Spiritual Adultery

The first cause that I would call to your attention as the reason for God visiting judgment upon Israel, is what I have summed up in the word harlotry . You know what a harlot is. You know what a whore is. You know what whoredom is, and you know what adultery is. Israel was guilty of harlotry. If you are wondering exactly how a nation could be guilty of harlotry, I remind you of what the Holy Spirit has said in James, chapter 4, verse 4:

James 4

4Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

What the Spirit of God had in mind was simply this. If you and I, Israel or any nation, puts anything or person in the place of God, she is committing spiritual adultery. She is a spiritual harlot. That this was Israel's trouble is indicated, if you will look at verse l:

Hosea 9

1Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor.

Notice the definite statement, “Thou hast gone a whoring from thy God.” What did he mean by that? “You have begun to worship idols instead of Me.”

Then notice what He said in the last part of the verse, “Thou hast loved a reward upon every corn floor.” What in the world does that mean? Well, if you were living in that particular day, and observing what Israel was doing, you would realize that Israel went down to the threshing floor at harvest time and offered the first fruits of the harvest, not to God, as God had very plainly taught they should, but offered the first fruits to an idol—an idol that was made out of wood. And they said to this idol, “Here is your reward for bringing in the harvest.”

They accepted the harvest as a reward for their faithfulness, not as a reward from God, but as a reward from the idol. If you think this kind of thing is not being done now, you just give a little thought to the principle again and discover that many people are giving credit to themselves, to their ability, to their employers, to their opportunities for the blessings that they have, instead of giving that credit to God, which is His due.

Their Sin Against God's Love

Much is said about the harlotry of Israel. Much is said about the horrible things they did in relation to idolatry. But if you glance down at verse 10, you read the words:

Hosea 9

10I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved.

Whenever God talked about idolatry, He thought about one special act of idolatry that superceded all the rest; and when He wanted to emphasize the awfulness of what they did, He referred to what happened at Baalpeor, the record of which is given in Numbers, chapters 22 and 23. There Balaam told Balak, the king of the Midianites, that if he wanted to lead Israel into sin, he would never do it by asking God to curse them, because God loved them too much, but he could do it by leading them into the worship of Baal.

You remember that Balaam stood and tried to curse the nation of Israel, and every time he opened his mouth, God put a word of blessing; and yet, in spite of that, Israel went after Baal. This was something, using human terms, that God could never understand, how in the midst of all of His love, they would forsake Him. They were guilty of two sins. They sinned against light; that's bad enough. If you know what to do and you don't do it, that's bad, but they sinned against love as well, and that's even worse.

You know a lot of people are given light, but they are never given any love. They are held responsible for sinning against the light even though they don't have any love. But if they sin against light and against love, God looks upon it as a double disobedience, worthy of judgment.

You will notice how He loved them there in verse 10. He said:

Hosea 9

10I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness…

That's a very brief phrase, but what it describes is an individual walking through the wilderness and finding some luscious grapes hanging from a low bough, and loving them because they were so good. Like the man who, after a long winter, went out to his orchard and found the first ripe fig on the fig tree, how thrilled his heart was. And God said that's exactly how He felt about Israel. “I loved her. Not prosaically, but I loved her with a great thrill; and yet, in spite of all that, off she went into harlotry.”

Israel's Hatred of God

There is another reason that God was going to have to visit judgment upon them, and I have summed all of that up in the word hatred. It comes to my mind because of what I read in the latter part of verse 7. Notice:

Hosea 9

7The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.

What is Hosea saying? He is saying, “You people hated God so much that you said every prophet was a fool, and the spiritual man had lost his mind.”

That's a pretty good way to indicate people's relationship to the Lord. If individuals believe that people who stand on the Word of God and declare the whole truth of the Word of God are quite peculiar, it is indication that they are not in relationship to God. Wait just a moment. I am not talking about disagreement in relation to private opinions. I am talking about what the Word of God actually says. Their hatred even reached a greater depth, as you will notice if you look at verse 8:

Hosea 9

8The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God.

You will notice the last statement there, “and hatred is in the house of God.” If I were to ask you to explain to me exactly what that verse means as it is indicated there, I wonder if you would be able to explain it. I find it very difficult on first reading to understand. It is difficult in the King James Version, because the arrangement of the words is not as happy an arrangement as it might be to convey the real meaning of the verse itself. Look at the King James version again:

Hosea 9

8The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God.

I would suggest that this translation will make it clearer because the purpose of the verse is to indicate the hatred that people had for God. This translation reads, “The prophet is the watchman of Ephraim.” We understand that because the Bible has consistently said that the prophet is the watchman over Ephraim or over Israel, the people of my God. “Yet a fowler's snare is on all his ways and hatred in the house of God.”

What's this verse saying? Simply that the prophet who was supposed to watch over the needs of Israel and bring Israel into right relationship to God was hated by the people to such an extent that they tried to trip him up every time he opened his mouth, and of all places that they expressed this hatred for him, it was in the house of God, the very place where they went to worship, the very place where they went to hear what God said.

Instead of listening to what God had to say to them, they spent their time criticizing the prophet and trying to find out some way they could trip him up so that whatever he said would not need to be accepted by the people who had heard him. This was the depth of their hatred.

Israel's Refusal to Listen to God

But there was something else. Not only was there harlotry, not only was there hatred, but there was what I am going to sum up in the one word, hearken . I use this word because of what I read in verse 17:

Hosea 9

17My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations.

Keep in mind we are discussing the cause of the judgment that God was going to level upon the children of Israel. One reason was they had gone away from Him and committed adultery. Another was they hated Him with a bitter hatred, and another was they refused to listen to anything that God had to say.

It is one thing for men to say, “I don't know what to do, because I have never been told.” It is quite another thing for men to know what to do and refuse to do it for no other reason than they don't want to do it. This is exactly what Israel was guilty of.

The Consequences of Disobedience

God is just and because God is just, He cannot let disobedience go unpunished. Sometimes we parents do. Sometimes we let disobedience go unpunished, because we don't know about the disobedience. Sometimes we let disobedience go unpunished, because we don't know exactly how to punish it. But God is omniscient; He knows everything. He is omnipotent; He can do anything. He has no problem like that. So any individual who disobeys God, or any nation who disobeys God, is going to have to suffer the consequences.

I am not talking about the final day of judgment. I am talking about the consequences of disobedience, those consequences being suffered in our everyday life. You know, a lot of people think, “Oh well, Judgment Day is coming. I know that, but it is a long time till I am dead, so I don't need to be concerned.” Listen closely, for at the moment I am talking to born-again believers. If you are a born-again believer and a child of God and you disobey Him as Israel disobeyed God, then you won't need to wait until Judgment Day. You will suffer the consequences here and now, because God chastens those whom He loves.

I would like to point out to you some of the consequences which Israel suffered as they are recorded in this chapter, that you might use them as warning flags in your relationship to God. Perhaps you will decide after you look at these consequences that having your own way in relation to the things of God is not so important after all, that doing what you want to do regardless of what God wants you to do is not so important after all.

Barred From Fellowship

The first consequence we would call to your attention is one that I am describing for want of a better way to describe it, as no fellowship . What is the consequence of Israel's disobedience to God? They were barred from fellowship with God. Their fellowship was broken. Look with me, please, at verse 3 of this chapter, where God said:

Hosea 9

3They shall not dwell in the LORD's land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria.

I am aware that we are talking about a nation, and I am aware that this reference to not dwelling in the land is a literal reference—the children of Israel, literally, physically, bodily being put out of their land and sent into Assyria. But if you read verse 3 along with the other verses related to it, you will discover that this fellowship was deeper than a mere emptying of the land. It included a number of things.

For example, in verse 1, it included the loss of joy. Look at verse 1, and notice the words:

Hosea 9

1Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people…

Any individual who has ever been out of fellowship with God will be able to say that they have lost their joy. It was David who said, “Restore unto me the joy of my salvation” (Psalm 51:12). A born-again believer, oh he may smile, he may sing, he may dance, he may put on a good front; but when all the noise and the excitement has quieted down, and he has to live with himself, he is miserable, because a person who is out of fellowship with God has to be miserable. There is nothing else left for him.

No Access Through Prayer

Not only was there no joy, but there was no access before God for these Israelites. Notice verse 4:

Hosea 9

4They shall not offer wine offerings to the LORD, neither shall they be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted: for their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the LORD.

He goes on to say that their sacrifices when they are offered will be like bread that is eaten in a house where somebody is lying dead. According to Jewish ritual, if food was found in a house where somebody was lying dead, the food itself was unclean and any individual who are of it was unclean. And they could not go into the temple for worship until they had been cleansed. All this boils down to a very simple little statement: There will be no access to God for the person who is out of fellowship.

You see, when you are out of fellowship, you can't pray. There is only one prayer that you can pray, to be perfectly accurate, and that is the prayer of confession, according to I John, chapter 1, verse 9. Anything else you ask God for God will not do, because you have no access, no hearing before Him. It is a terrible thing to live without being able to contact God when you want to. Israel was in that position.

The consequences which she would suffer in addition to no joy and no access were very matter-of-fact. I have described them by the words no food , for the sake of alliteration—no fellowship, no food. The reason that I use the words no food is what is revealed there in verse 2, where you read:

Hosea 9

2The floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her.

That means exactly what it says, that the harvest would not be reaped. They would suffer material lack because of their disobedience to God. Of course, in this Age of Grace, God does many things to chasten, and He doesn't always operate in the same way, but quite often God brings men to their knees by refusing to bless their material endeavors. The only way that they can awaken to the fact that they are out of fellowship with God is when things are not going right and they don't understand why they are not going right, and they ask God about it. Then they find that they are out of fellowship with Him.

Fruitlessness of Israel

The last thing along this line that I would like to suggest to you, I have indicated by the two words no fruit . What are the consequences of disobedience? No fellowship, no food, and no fruit. I have used the words no fruit , not in the sense of fruit that you pick from a tree, but in the sense that the Bible uses it—the fruit of your loins, your children.

Children in our day are not exceedingly important, it seems. I read somewhere, that our governments have tried to operate, run our lives from the cradle to the grave, and now they are attempting to decide who is going to enter the cradle. Children are not very important in this day. Everybody is scared to death about the population explosion. Cut down your families, pass a law, have one child and no more, and all of that sort of silliness which shows an absolute ignorance, a gross ignorance, of God's Word in the purpose of mankind upon the earth.

Israel had not got that far yet. Children meant a great deal to Israel, and so God said, “I am going to withhold children from you.” I know that this is a bit old-fashioned, but I believe the Word of God, because the Word of God is true. I believe God can withhold children and I believe He does withhold children for purposes known to Himself. It is not for us to say; it is for God to do, but I would like for you to notice for the purpose of the remark I want to make, what is recorded in verse 16:

Hosea 9

16Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.

There you see that He is talking about the fruit of the womb, children. What's He saying? He is saying, “As long as Israel is away from Me, I am going to cut down on her population. I am not going to permit children to be born in any sizeable numbers. A few will be born, but not many. And those that will be born will be lost in the slaughter of the battle, because I will not permit production while individuals are out of fellowship.” If you will look at verses 11-14, you will see the same thing emphasized:

Hosea 9

11As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception.

If you read it backwards, you find the three stages that are necessary to bring birth. And God said, “I will prevent very single step.”

Then you will notice in verse 13:

Hosea 9

13Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer.

He said, “I had great plans for Israel. I planned for her to be like the mighty city of Tyre. I planned for her to be a populous city, but she won't be. Because of her disobedience, she will bring forth children to murder.” The idea is that she will bring forth children for no other purpose than to send them off to war and let them be slaughtered.

Hosea's Prayer for Israel

In verse 14, you have one of those interjections that you find often in the prophecies, where the prophets themselves are overcome with what has been revealed to them and they are moved to pray. In verse 14, Hosea is moved to pray, and he said:

Hosea 9

14Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.

What he was saying was this: “Lord, I want You to do something for them, but Lord, I don't know exactly what to ask You for.” And then, realizing the awfulness of the prophecy he had just given, he said, “Lord, the best thing that You can do for them is to prevent birth.” So he said, “Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.” If it is going to be as terrible as it appears to be, then just don't let children be born. That's what Hosea said.

One application I want to make here, lest you miss the point. We have been talking about the fruit of the womb, physical birth. Spiritually speaking, there is a tremendous lesson, it seems to me, for it indicates that when an individual is out of fellowship, there will be no spiritual fruit in his life. When you have time, read what is recorded in the book of Galatians, chapter 5, verse 22, what is known as the fruit of the Holy Spirit. This is produced by the Holy Spirit in the believers life: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, and so forth. When a person is out of fellowship, there is no such fruit produced, and there will not be for no other reason than the individual in question is out of fellowship with God.

Wanderers Among the Nations

This is the subject matter of the chapter with the exception of one thing that I want to share with you in closing, and that is what for want of a better way of expressing it I have described by the words the climax . What is the climax of all of this? What is the climax of disobedience to God and being out of fellowship with Him? The climax is all included in one word—wanderers . If you will look there in verse 17, you will notice it:

Hosea 9

17My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations.

Keep in mind we are talking about Israel, and if you want irrefutable proof that God's Word is true, here it is. God said when Israel had disobeyed to the point that He had to visit them with judgment, they would become wanderers among the nations of the earth; and from that first dispersion when Israel was sent away into Babylon until that ultimate worldwide dispersion in 70 A.D, the nations of the world have been the burial place of the nation of Israel. Even though we rejoice to see in our day that that they have returned to their own land in unbelief, the beginning has hardly begun. They are still wanderers upon the face of the earth.

But we are making applications. We are not talking only about Israel. We are endeavoring to point out to you the parallel that may exist in the life of the individual who is away from God, the born-again person who is out of fellowship with God. He, too, is a wanderer. Oh, you may say, “I don't know about that. I have lived exactly where I have lived at the same address all this time.” We are not talking, in your case, about physical wandering. We are talking about spiritual wandering.

No Peace Without Fellowship

I would like to suggest to you that that word wanderer is elsewhere translated “restlessness,” and it is even used to describe the restlessness of the waves of the sea, when God points out, “There is no peace saith my God to the wicked” (Isaiah 57:21).

I have no way of knowing, of course, whether you are out of fellowship or not, whether you have been out or not, but I want to say this to you: If you are out of fellowship and have been for very long, you don't need me to emphasize that you are restless. I would say to you, if you have not been out of fellowship for a great length of time, come back into fellowship with God before the restlessness begins, for it will.

And if, perchance, you have been privileged to walk at the direction of the Holy Spirit and your fellowship has not been broken, don't let it be broken, for in everything that I have illustrated for you there should be evidence that nothing that the world has to offer you is sufficient to take the place of the riches you have in the Lord Jesus Christ.


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