Read Hosea 5
Judgment Against Israel
5 “Hear this, you priests!
Pay attention, you Israelites!
Listen, royal house!
This judgment is against you:
You have been a snare at Mizpah,
a net spread out on Tabor.
2 The rebels are knee-deep in slaughter.
I will discipline all of them.
3 I know all about Ephraim;
Israel is not hidden from me.
Ephraim, you have now turned to prostitution;
Israel is corrupt.
4 “Their deeds do not permit them
to return to their God.
A spirit of prostitution is in their heart;
they do not acknowledge the Lord.
5 Israel’s arrogance testifies against them;
the Israelites, even Ephraim, stumble in their sin;
Judah also stumbles with them.
6 When they go with their flocks and herds
to seek the Lord,
they will not find him;
he has withdrawn himself from them.
7 They are unfaithful to the Lord;
they give birth to illegitimate children.
When they celebrate their New Moon feasts,
he will devour their fields.
8 “Sound the trumpet in Gibeah,
the horn in Ramah.
Raise the battle cry in Beth Aven;
lead on, Benjamin.
9 Ephraim will be laid waste
on the day of reckoning.
Among the tribes of Israel
I proclaim what is certain.
10 Judah’s leaders are like those
who move boundary stones.
I will pour out my wrath on them
like a flood of water.
11 Ephraim is oppressed,
trampled in judgment,
intent on pursuing idols.
12 I am like a moth to Ephraim,
like rot to the people of Judah.
13 “When Ephraim saw his sickness,
and Judah his sores,
then Ephraim turned to Assyria,
and sent to the great king for help.
But he is not able to cure you,
not able to heal your sores.
14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
like a great lion to Judah.
I will tear them to pieces and go away;
I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them.
15 Then I will return to my lair
until they have borne their guilt
and seek my face—
in their misery
they will earnestly seek me.”
Hosea 5 has much to teach us about the character of God. Specifically, this chapter teaches us about God’s wrath and our pride. God’s anger towards Israel is described as unrelenting, crushing, rotting, and mighty. The image of a cup poured out is used to describe the overwhelming and unrelenting fury of God (v. 10). Next, God is described as “a moth” and like “dry rot” to Israel (v. 12). This is depicting that God will slowly eat away and destroy Israel. Finally, God’s wrath is compared to a lion–mighty and fierce. Israel can do nothing to stop His wrath; in fact, they deserve it. Verse 4 states, “Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God.”
The first 14 verses of Hosea 5 paint a picture of the Israelites being guilty and how deserving they are of God’s punishment. But, if Hosea 5 ended there, we would have an incomplete view of the character of God. Verse 15 is the most important verse in understanding God’s wrath. His wrath comes with a purpose: to push the Israelites to earnestly seek him. God’s anger is not for the sake of destruction or His enjoyment; it is for the Israelites’ own good. The only way for them to truly seek God is in their distress, which illuminates Israel’s pride, showing their need for God.
We are just like Israel. Our deeds are similarly deserving of judgment. Our pride is at the center of our rebellion, and we too, have earned the full wrath of God poured out on us. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves from it. But God, in his love, made a way for us to be restored even when our deeds do not permit us to return. Romans 5:9-10 says “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by from the wrath of God, for if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Only through believing in Jesus can we be saved from God’s wrath. Only by understanding that we were enemies of God, but instead been saved by Jesus, can we fully grasp our need of our Savior.
- Where has pride taken root in your life and caused you to rebel against God?
- How does understanding that God’s wrath is accompanied by His love stir your affection towards God?
- How can you remind yourself of God’s mercy today?
LORD, I pray that you would help me see the pride in my life. Uproot that pride and allow me to surrender to you. Don’t let me become too stubborn in my ways. Humble me LORD. Help me to understand your power and greatness. LORD, you had full right to condemn me; I am a sinner. But LORD, in your wrath, you provided a way through Jesus that I could be reconciled. Allow me to better understand the depravity of my state, so that it stirs in me awe of who you are. Let me live in that today.
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