The Story of Self-Destruction
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

We are continuing our study of the book of Hosea. In this lesson we will be looking at chapter 13. May we remind you that we are in that section of the book of Hosea that we termed in our original analysis as messages of condemnation and consolation . Of course, there was a series of messages in the book which were entirely condemnation.

As the book is being brought to a close, the messages include condemnation for Israel, but consolation in the sense that God holds out the promise of blessing. We are not interested in your accumulating facts concerning the history of the nation of Israel for the sake of accumulation, but we are interested in your seeing, in God's dealings with Israel, in the manner in which Hosea describes, principles wherein and by which He deals with believers of any age.

Follow in your Bibles, please, as we read from Hosea, chapter 13:

Hosea 13

1When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.
2And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.
3Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.
4Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.
5I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.
6According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.
7Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them:
8I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.
9O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.
10I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes?
11I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.
12The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid.
13The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children.
14I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
15Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels.
16Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

Someone said, when I read the chapter, that they did not know what in the world could be gotten out of it. I suggested at the beginning of it that it might seem somewhat confusing unless you are familiar with that particular portion of the Word. You may have even noticed an occasional verse or two as we read this passage that would be a blessing to you, that would offer some spiritual truth; but here again, you may wonder exactly what lesson God would have for us in this portion. I am going to share with you the things that I have gleaned from the chapter, not following the order of the verses necessarily from beginning to end, but rather following the continuity of subject, regardless of where the verses might be found.

With that thought in mind, if I were going to give a title to this chapter, I would entitle it, The Story of Self-Destruction . I do not know of any greater tragedy in the world than self-destruction. We all face the danger of destruction in some fashion or other, living in an age which, as somebody has said, is the age of the quick and the dead. If you are not quick, you will be dead. There is no way to escape certain dangers that are all around us, but the greatest danger that any of us can face is the danger of self-destruction.

Spiritual Self-destruction

I am not speaking about suicide, though that is a tragedy, and anyone who has had any experience with it knows that it is tragic. I am thinking of a greater kind of self-destruction, the kind of self-destruction that is brought to our attention here in chapter 13 of the book of Hosea, verse 9, where God said:

Hosea 13

9O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself…

I am speaking of spiritual self-destruction. I wish that I could blot out from my mind some of the memories I have of individuals who began so well with God and have wound up so poorly or, in the terms of our text, individuals who began so well with God and who were the agents of their own destruction. They are lying on God's trash-heap tonight. They are on the shelf, and I do not say this in judgment; I merely recognize what they know and what I know to be true. They have nobody to blame for it but themselves.

I do not believe there is a greater illustration of the manner of self-destruction in the Word of God than is found in the nation of Israel. I would like for us to examine what is said in this particular chapter concerning the steps which Israel followed to her own destruction. I call to your attention what I have termed her former state —Israel's former state, before the seeds of destruction were sown, before they began to take root, before they flourished into a harvest that overwhelmed them. You understand that we are limiting our remarks to what is in this chapter. Much could be said about the other portions of the Word along this line, but we are thinking only of what is found in this particular portion.

Israel's Influence Among Nations

I find in chapter 13 two things that characterize Israel's former state. I refer to it as her influence with man . The second thing that characterized her former state was she was intimate with God . It is strange how those two things go together. I think I could say, without fear of contradiction, that your influence with man can be measured by your intimacy with God. Your influence with man will be determined by your intimacy with God, but you have a right to wonder why I suggest these things to you, so I suggest that you look at verse 1, chapter 13:

Hosea 13

1When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.

This is not a happy translation, for it gives you the idea that Ephraim was the trembling one. It gives you the idea that Ephraim was mumbling and trembling and shaking in his boots, but a better translation is, “When Ephraim spake, man trembled. He was a prince in Israel.” Most of the translations that have been produced since the translation of the King James version make that change. “When Ephraim spake, men trembled. He was a prince in Israel.“

There was a time in Israel's history when she was a nation of importance among the nations of the world, and when she spoke, the nations surrounding her trembled, for they knew that Israel spoke with authority, and judgment would most certainly fall if her voice was not obeyed. Not only was she a nation of great influence, she was a nation which was intimate with God. If you will glance down at verses 4 and 5, you will see why I say that:

Hosea 13

4Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.
5I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.

God reminded Israel that though in her present state she was far from what He desired her to be, there was a day when He was very intimate with her. It all began back in the land of Egypt. Notice verse 4:

Hosea 13

4Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt…

When God described in other portions what He did for Israel in that land, He said, “He bore Israel on eagles' wings. He carried her in His bosom. He bore her on His shoulders.” All of those terms speak of the intimacy that they had together. So intimate was their relationship that God could say, in the last part of verse 4:

Hosea 13

4…thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.

You must understand that statement in the light in which God made it, because they did know other gods. In verse l, you were told that they went off after Baal. In verse 2, you were told that they went wild after Baal. They knew other gods, but what He was saying is, “Our relationship has been such that you will never know any God like Me. I am the only Savior.”

Of course, that is a lesson within itself. “There is no other name under Heaven given among men whereby men must be saved, save the name of Jesus.” We emphasize the intimacy of the expression by reminding you that once you have known the Lord in the fullness of fellowship, you'll never be happy with any substitute of any kind. You may get busy about things, and you may get occupied with many things, and you may have a measure of happiness, because the void has not yet really hit you, but if you have been on intimate terms with Him, you will never be satisfied outside of a full relationship with Him.

Intimacy Through Trials

Look at verse 5 and you will notice further indications of the intimacy to which He referred. He said:

Hosea 13

5I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.

It is difficult to read that verse with the emphasis it deserves, according to the original text, because on the surface it would seem that God was saying, “I got to know you pretty well, though I don't know you very well now.” That isn't what He is saying. He said, “I knew you in the wilderness.”

Any Christian who has ever gone through any trials—I'm not talking about these little mesquito bites of tests that most of us have. We can't live in this world without being nipped now and then, but those are not real trials—I say, I don't know anyone who has gone through any real trial, any real testing time with the Lord, but what he has come out of it saying that he has learned to know the Lord in a different, deeper way than he has ever known Him before. Some people have only a superficial knowledge of the Lord, because they have never been really tried.

When I marry young people and pray at the ceremony, I don't pray, “Lord, don't let anything bad happen to this couple.” I always pray, “Lord, keep away from the door of this home all trials and tribulations, save those which are needed for maturity.” That maturity is needed in the lives of some, and that maturity will only come as the trials and the tribulations come, and as the trials and tribulations come, you are drawn closer to God.

If you are familiar with the wilderness experience of Israel, you know that it was there that they learned to know God in a way that they had never known Him before; and that is the reason He said, “I knew you in the wilderness. I knew you in the land of great drought.” Have you ever been thirsty? It is not very difficult to bear your thirst if you know eventually you'll get home where you can get something nice and cold to drink, but if you have been thirsty and know that there is no way to quench your thirst even with something warm, you find it much more difficult to bear.

When you discovered that thirst quenched, you had a feeling of gratitude such as you would never have known before. That is the reason that God brings to the attention of the Israelites that He knew them in the wilderness and He knew them in the land of drought. He had been on intimate terms with them in their former state, but alas that former state could not continue and did not continue for reasons that we will see in a moment or two, as they are described within chapter 13 of the book of Hosea.

We pass on from a consideration of Israel's former state , to what we are going to call her present state . The present state of Israel—we use the term in a very broad sense, indicating the condition of Israel after she took her first step toward self-destruction, the state in which she is at the present time. Of course, if we are going to draw the parallel and emphasize the lesson when we emphasize the present state of the believer out of fellowship with God, we are talking about any person who has taken his first step toward self-destruction by breaking fellowship with God.

Idolatry In Israel

We have a number of words that emphasize the steps downhill. The first one that we draw to your attention is the word idolatry . Idolatry comes to our mind because of what we read in verse 1 of chapter 13. Notice it there:

Hosea 13

1When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; [notice now] but when he offended in Baal, he died.

He died? The nation of Israel is very much alive today. It is not speaking of physical death. It is speaking of spiritual death, keeping in mind that death is separation. When Israel offended by bowing down at the altar of Baal, which was an idol, it was then that the separation began.

I am well aware of the fact that most of us—probably none of us—will ever be bowing down to an idol that we make with our own hands, an idol of wood and stone; but we remind you that idolatry in the Word of God is described as that act whereby man puts anything in his life in the place that God ought to be, anything in his life in the place that God ought to be—let that sink in.

I ask you a question: What is in the place in your life where God has always occupied? What is there in your life on the throne that once you gave to the Lord Jesus Christ when you made Him Who was your Savior the Lord of your life? I'm not even going to attempt to suggest everything that could be on the throne, because so much can. But you do a little self-evaluation and see exactly where you stand in this your present state. Is there something on the throne where God usually is? If there is, you have taken your first step toward self-destruction; and if you do not have a house-cleaning and put God back in the place in your life where He needs to be, you will find yourself taking another step, just as Israel did.

Increasing Sin

This next step, I have designated by the words increasing sin . It would be a wonderful thing if you could tell one lie and not confess it and never tell another lie, although that's not best. It would be better never to tell a lie. But it would be good if we could tell one lie, and you didn't confess it, and you wouldn't tell another one, but God has so arranged our lives and His principles that that never happens. When you take your first step toward self-destruction, if you do not immediately rush back to that former state, you'll be taking another step downward as Israel did.

If you will look at verse 2, you will read:

Hosea 13

2And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.

Did you notice the statement, “They sin more and more.”? It is like a disease which rages through the body and cannot be stopped once it is surely started. They sin more and more; specifically, they sinned in the area of idolatry, making their images of silver, making their images according to their own skilled craftsmen. They were not content with making idols for themselves. They issued an edict which was expressed in the words, “Let the men who sacrifice kiss the calves.” A kiss, in the Oriental world, in the sense that we are thinking about here, was the sign of submission.

In Psalm 2, we are told that the kings of the world someday will have to kiss the Son of God, indicating their submission to Him; but Israel now is not advocating kissing the Son of God. Israel is advocating kissing golden calves—idols of stone, idols that could not possibly do anything to help anybody, yet she is rendering them homage, she has been so swayed by her belief in them. Who would have thought that the people who had been borne on the shoulders of the living God, who would have thought that the people who had been borne in the bosom of Jehovah God, would stoop to kissing golden calves? But they did.

I am quite sure that had anyone told them when they made their first visit to the altar of Baal that this would be the final end of what they were doing, they would have laughed at it and said, “Really, this isn't true. If we're going down there to the altar of Baal at all, we are going merely for the purpose of observation.” But when you go to observe, you stay to kiss. Whether you believe that or not, whether you believe it will happen to you or not, you cannot deny the evidence which is offered in the Word of God.

Ignoring God

We suggest to you that in Israel's present state, she not only was guilty of idolatry, she not only faced the problem of increasing sin, but she became guilty of ignoring God. Being ignored is a very trying thing. I think that I would rather be insulted than be ignored. I think that I would rather someone come right out and say what they wanted to say, no matter how cruel it might be, than to be ignored. I think I would rather someone say, “I loved you once, but I don't love you now,” than to be ignored. I certainly would not put myself in the place of God, but God does express His feelings in the range and realm of human feelings, and I believe that God feels the same way. How difficult it must be for Him to be ignored by those people for whom He has done so much.

Look down at verse 6, please, and notice the manner in which they ignored Him:

Hosea 13

6According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted [and God said] therefore have they forgotten me.

Of course, this verse of Scripture is based on many principles of the Word of God. God speaks of Himself as the Great Shepherd of the sheep. He said that He led them beside still waters, and He led them into green pastures, and they were fed well. They had no pastures of their own. They didn't even know where to look for them. If He had not led them into those pastures, they would most certainly have starved to death in the wilderness, but He led them into green pastures. They were well fed. Their needs were met. They were completely satisfied; and then He said, “They have forgotten Me.”

This does not mean that they forgot Him in the sense that you forget some equation that you might have studied in a mathematics course. It means that they ignored Him. They didn't take Him into consideration any more. Putting it very bluntly, they got all they wanted from Him, and then they went their own way. How many people there are today who, when they are in need, make all kinds of vows and promises to God. I'm not sure that this ought to be done. They make all kinds of vows and promises to God, but when God has answered their prayer and given them the desire of their heart, they forget Him. They ignore Him. They go on and do their own thing and leave God completely out of the picture.

I hope that you are thinking. I hope you are not relegating what I am saying merely to a nation of another era. I hope you are saying, “It could be a message to me.” God has been awfully good to most of us. We have fed in good pastures. There is very little that we have wanted, and if you do not think that is true, you just think for a moment of the folk who have been bereft of much, and you will realize how good God has been to us. Have we forgotten Him in the sense of ignoring Him? How long has it been since you have actually consulted God about the way you are living? How long has it been since you have actually consulted God about His plans and purposes for you?

Ignoring God's Will

We hurry on and suggest to you that the people of Israel, in what we refer to as their present state , were not only guilty of idolatry, increasing sin, ignoring God, but they were guilty of ignoring His will . You say, “Now, aren't you repeating yourself? Aren't you saying the same thing over again?” No, we are delineating. We are being particular now. We're getting down to the basic facts of the matter. Not only did they ignore God, I emphasize again, but they ignored His will . Please, look with me at verse 11 of this chapter, where God said:

Hosea 13

11I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.

You have to be somewhat familiar with the history of the nation of Israel to understand that passage of Scripture. You will recall that Israel originally was a theocracy. God, when He led them out, said to them, “I will be your king. You will never need any other. I'll make every provision and I will meet every need.” So it was, and Israel was happy for a while. Then she began to notice that all of the other nations had kings, and the other nations would say to Israel, “What's your king's name?” They would say, “We don't have one.” They would say, “You don't have a king? That is kind of strange. That's peculiar. That's different.” On and on it went, and they fell into one of the most used traps of Satan, the trap of feeling that you dare not be different, the trap of feeling that you have to go with the crowd, that you have to do whatever everybody else is doing, that you have to be apologetic if you are different in any way. Instead of sweetly, but firmly saying, “No, we have no king,” most people become apologetic and say, “Well, you see, I don't know how to explain it, but we're going to have a king someday.” That is exactly what Israel did. Israel got tired of explaining the difference, and they began to ask the prophet of God for a king, and the prophet of God went to God and said, “They want a king.” At first God said, “They don't need one. I'm their King,” but by and by God, in His anger, gave them a king.

You see, they ignored God's will; and God said, “All right, if you don't want to live according to My will, then live according to your own. If this is what you want, all right.” I have emphasized before, and I emphasize again, that the idea that you have what you want is no indication that it is God's will. I would like to emphasize that as emphatically as I can. Because you have what you prayed for is not necessarily an indication that it is God's will. Sometimes you ask God so forcefully and so much for what you want that God has no choice but to give it to you, and in His wrath He does. But it never satisfies. Look at verse 11:

Hosea 13

11I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.

He did, for your will and purposes cannot be lasting.

I would suggest one other thing relative to the steps in Israel's self-destruction: Israel, in addition to all that I have said, ignored God's plan . They ignored God. They ignored God's will, and they ignored God's plan. I emphasize again, we are not repeating. We are delineating. Look at verse 13:

Hosea 13

13The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children.

If you had just that translation, I don't know what you would think of it. I don't know what interpretation you would place on it, and I don't know what application you would make, but this is an unhappy translation. It doesn't convey the full meaning of the original text, so I share with you what I believe does. The verse might read, “The pangs of childbirth are here, but he is a foolish child and will not come out of the womb when the moment of his birth is here.” Do you get the picture? God said, “Israel is like an unborn child. The pangs of birth begin, and every indication is present that the time of birth has arrived, but the child makes no effort to enter the mouth of the womb, to enter the light of day. He misses the opportunity.”

This happens in the natural realm sometimes, and that is the reason babies have to be taken instead of being normally born. God knew that so He used that as an illustration of what Israel had done. Israel ignored God's plan. God said, “There is a time to be born. There is a time to enter an open door. There is a time to take a certain step.” But, using a comparative figure of speech which may not be accurate altogether, Israel was so far out of fellowship that she was not even conscious of the opportune time to act. Israel has missed much of God's blessing because she did not redeem the time. She did not enter the open door. She did not take advantage of the opportunities that were hers. This rests not with Israel alone. There are multitudes of people who have missed God's plan because they were not ready to be born in the sense that we are speaking about.

We must bring our message to a conclusion, so I would suggest that you look with us now at what I have been pleased to refer to as Israel's latter state . We have examined her former state, when she was in fellowship with God; her present state, when she was out of fellowship with God, and her latter state, which extends over a long period of time and which is characterized by a number of things, as a result of her loss of fellowship. It is part of the downward trail towards self-destruction.

The Insincerity of Israel

I use the word insincerity to present one of the characteristics of the latter state. I have used that word because of what we find in verse 3 of this chapter:

Hosea 13

3Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.

When a man is out of fellowship with God, nothing that he does will be bonafide. When a man is out of fellowship with God, nothing that he does will be true and basic and lasting, so God described Israel as a morning cloud that had promise of rain but never produced any, as the early dew that would make the ground look beautiful and green but did not last long. As a matter of fact, if you didn't go out when the dew was out, you would never know there had been any moisture on the ground.

It was like the chaff on the threshing floor. The chaff and the wheat were mixed together, and the individual looking at the bulk would not know the difference between the chaff and the wheat; but on the threshing floor, it was thrown into the air, the wind was blown through the floor, the chaff blew away. It wasn't worth anything.

Of course, the fourth figure of speech that God is pleased to use to describe such insincerity is smoke. Smoke comes up a great heavy cloud, and it looks like it might be very important, but it becomes nothing, soon gone, dispelled in the midst of the clouds, and no longer present for anybody to see.

Instruments of Punishment

The latter state of Israel was characterized not only by insincerity, but it was characterized by punishment . Notice the instruments of punishment that were used to bring Israel to a sense of her need of God, a realization of her disobedience to the Lord. In verse 7, we hear God saying:

Hosea 13

7Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them:
8I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.

God describes himself as a wild beast in the form of a lion, a leopard, a bear, and an indescribable kind of beast. There is a prophetic significance in relation to Israel, for if you read chapter 7 of the book of Daniel, you will find every one of these beasts mentioned, representing Gentile dominion. What God told Israel was, “Because you have your way, you have what you want. You are out of fellowship. I'm not going to have anything more to do with you. I'm going to turn you over to Gentile nations of the world.” That is where Israel is today in her present state. In these latter days, in her latter state, she is in the hands of the Gentiles, and they do with her what they will. The fact that Israel is in the land of her own, does not change this in any sense of the word.

Hosea was looking down through the corridors of time when he made that statement, and that prophecy was a distant prophecy. One that was nearer to his own day is described in verses 15 and 16 of the chapter, where we read:

Hosea 13

15Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels.

God uses the east wind, which He calls the wind of the LORD , as an instrument of punishment in His hand. If you are familiar with the history of this era, you know that He had reference to the Assyrian whom He brought against the nation of Israel as an instrument of punishment in His hand to remind them that every disobedience receives a just recompense of reward.

Eventual Chastening for Disobedience

Make these applications to your own heart, and recognize that the individual, whether he be Israelite or Gentile, who walks out of fellowship with God, will have a life that is marked by insincerity, by insecurity. Nothing will last. All will be on a less than permenant basis. Because God is just and will not let disobedience go unpunished, His chastening hand must eventually fall.

I have said repeatedly that I have a burden for the unsaved, and I do. I am spending my life giving out the Word of God in order that the unsaved come to know Christ. I have a great burden for the unsaved, but I carry a heavy burden for believers. I have a burden for the children of God who don't seem to realize that once they have received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, their life is no longer their own. When they step outside of God, God has no choice but to lay His chastening hand upon them.

Now, think. God does not chasten the sinner. He extends His loving arms; but you, His child, He must chasten if you forget your relationship to Him, because He cannot ignore the record that has been piling up, the record that has been consistently and constantly being stored away for remembrance. I would suggest to you that in Israel's latter state she had compiled what we refer to as an irrevocable record . It's good to have a pencil with an eraser on the end of it if you make as many mistakes as I do. But when we are speaking spiritually, some things you cannot erase. There are some things that are recorded and must be faced. Such is the suggestion concerning the nation of Israel in verse 12, where you read:

Hosea 13

12The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid.

This might lead you to believe that Ephraim has managed to hide his sin, and that he might hide it from man and so might you. It wasn't too difficult to be a hypocrite. It's not to difficult to sin in secret, if you have a little finesse about you. If you have a few brains, you can manage to fool nearly anybody. It's not difficult. I've never seen anything to be proud about if you get away with something.

I'd be inclined to be ashamed of my own children for lack of intelligence if they couldn't fool me, if they couldn't get away with something; but, thank God, by His grace, I don't think they do. It wouldn't be anything to brag about if they fooled me. You're not bragging about anything if you think you are getting away with something, but you might as well face this: You can't hide it from God. No matter whom you might hide it from, you can't hide it from God, because the record is there. This passage of Scripture does not refer to the suggestion that you have an ability to hide things from God; rather, it suggests that a permanent record is made of your sin, and that is the reason that I like the translation that we see before us today: “Ephraim's guilt is tied up in a scroll. His sins are kept on record.”

Someone may say, “I didn't know a Christian had to answer for his sins.” Well, he isn't going to have to go to Hell for them, because the Lord Jesus Christ died for sins past, present and future. However, I don't know where you get the idea that just because you have received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, your disobediences are going to be ignored by God. They are not. The record is kept, and until you confess them on the basis of I John, chapter 1, verse 9, you're still going to be dealt with about them.

Thank God, what man cannot erase, God can, through the precious Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am glad that when we become conscious of our disobedience and we acknowledge it to the Lord, He remembers our sins no more forever. But some folk can be pretty careless and get an awful lot of sin written on that scroll and get the record book awfully full and then wonder why things are not going as they should.

I would like to close with an appeal that is found in the chapter and with a word of assurance that is presented in the chapter as well. First, a word about the appeal. Notice, please, verse 10, where we read:

Hosea 13

10I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes?

God said to Israel, “I'll be your king. Do you know anybody that can do what I can do? I'll be your king, and I will be glad to be your king.” When He said it, He was appealing to Israel for acceptance. God says the same thing to you. If you have moved God off the throne of your life and you have been doing things the way that you want to do them, God reminds you that He will be your king if you will let Him.

A Threefold Assurance for Israel

A word of assurance, primarily related to Israel, but a lesson for us. In the word of assurance, we call to your attention what is recorded in verse 14:

Hosea 13

14I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

That verse suggests a threefold assurance. First is an assurance of regathering , because when you read in verse 14, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave,” I believe He is referring to what is recorded in Ezekiel, chapter 7, when He said that someday He would bring back the nation Israel from the graves of the nations wherein they had been buried so long.

There is a promise of resurrection when He said, in this same verse, “I will redeem thee from death.” In Daniel, chapter 12, verse 2, we are reminded of the promise of resurrection, when He said, “They that sleep in the dust of the earth shall arise, and shall arise to a new life—an everlasting life.”

I don't know whether you realize it or not, but this quotation here in verse 14 is a wonderful one. “Oh death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.” Do you recognize it? It meant an awful lot to the Apostle Paul, and it should mean as much to you. Turn in your Bibles, please, to I Corinthians, chapter 15, and let us notice what the Apostle Paul had to say about what this quotation meant to him. First Corinthians, as you know, is a great resurrection chapter. The Apostle Paul is speaking about the victory over death which is ours through the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. Notice in verse 54:

I Corinthians 15

54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, [and this is the saying that he is talking about] Death is swallowed up in victory.
55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Many translations of Hosea, chapter 13, verse 14, emphasize the verse in question form instead of statement form.

One last word from Hosea, chapter 13. If you will go back to the verse at which we are looking, you will notice that I have a third word to describe the message. That is the word repentance . In the very last part of verse 14, it is recorded:

Hosea 13

14…repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

Some people think that that means God will never receive a man who repents, that God will never receive a man who says, “God, I'm sorry.” But, that is not what it means. The repentance, according to the construction of the original language, is a reference to God. “Repentance,” God said, “shall be hid from Mine eyes, in the sense that I'm not going to take back anything that I have said. I have said I will be your king. I have said I will regather you from the nations of the world. I have said that I will resurrect you from the grave. I have said I will give you victory, and I will not go back on My word.”

Conclusion

You alone know what your state is. Can you look back to what we termed your former state , when you had influence with others because you were intimate with God, and wish that you were in that state once again? Do you recognize your present state ? One step after another toward self-destruction you have taken? You haven't gotten quite down to the basement, but you're well on your way. Let me remind you that your latter state , when God is left no choice but to lower His chastening hand, could result in your self-destruction.


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