:) Finally had some time! Next week should be fun... we're heading into some messianic prophecies... :)

Happy studying!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hosea Chapter 9

Hosea Chapter 9


- “O people of Israel, do not rejoice as other nations do. For you have been unfaithful to your God, hiring yourselves out like prostitutes, worshiping other gods on every threshing floor.”
- When we sin, we have no cause to rejoice. Our rejoicing and our joy should come from the fact that we know we are redeemed from our sin by the blood of Christ. We have hope. Joy. Peace. All those things come with the knowledge that we have been saved from the pit of hell.

- But when we are living in sin... we don't have that hope. There's no reason to hope. We have been condemned by our actions to the burning pit... so why rejoice?

- Israel was unfaithful, and yet they were holding their celebration feasts, they were rejoicing... in what? Rejoicing in their so-called freedom?

- The other nations rejoiced... maybe in their strength. In their prestige. In their ability to crush other nations. Maybe for their prosperity.

- But Israel had none of these things. They were constantly running to other, bigger nations to make alliances so they could defeat the enemy. They had no prestige. Everybody laughed at this little nation running back and forth trying to survive. They were constantly being taken captive and released. Constantly beaten down. They paid off the enemy so many times, that they started paying tributes with the things that had been dedicated to the temple.

- Why rejoice? They had the blessing of God and turned and walked away. God continued to bless them... but now... He is saying fine. Go do what you like.

- We were at a funeral today, and the pastor said he'd heard that there were two kinds of people. The kind that said to God, “Thy will be done.” And the kind that God told, “Fine, have it your way.”

- Israel was finally to the point that God was letting them go. “Go, do what you want. I'll be here when you decide to come back.”

- Just like the prodigal son, Israel left home. They left their Father... And they are now finding themselves in the pigpen... having to prostitute themselves out to other nations just to survive...

- But just as in the story of the prodigal, the Father was still waiting. He let his son leave home... let him go have his way... and then sat and waited. Watching down the road every day, waiting to see if he was going to come home.

- When it talks about worshiping other gods on the threshing floors... I have a footnote that says “A threshing floor was a flat area, often build on a hilltop, where harvesters beat the wheat and separated it from the chaff. Often men would stay overnight at the threshing floor to protect their grain, so prostitutes would visit there. Because of the location of threshing floors in the hilltops, they began to be used as places to sacrifice to false gods.” (If you remember the story of Ruth and Boaz, this is why Boaz didn't want Ruth to be found on the threshing floor at daylight.)

- I want you to notice something... A place that was perfectly innocent. A place that was used for daily work. For harvesting food for nourishment... became the place of idol worship. The place that sin was allowed in.

- There was nothing sinful about the threshing floors... until they allowed sin to enter into an everyday activity.

- Anything we go to do in this life... any activity... can be a holy one... or a sinful one. It depends on where our hearts are.

- Anything we spend time and energy on, can become an idol. And anytime we choose to use something ordinary, to avoid being caught in a public act of sin... we are perverting those things into evil things.

- Working in the yard. This is good right? Keep the grass mowed, keep the place looking nice. Fix things when they break...

- But what if we mow the yard every day? And spend hours with little hand cutters making sure all the trimming is exactly so... And landscape and re-landscape every chance we get. We start spending less time with our family... and more time out in the yard. And when the family comes out to see what we're doing, or to tell us something exciting... all we want to talk about it how great the yard looks and what we're going to do with it next. People come to visit and we forget to entertain our guests. We're working in the yard. We'll stop and give a glowing report of the yard maybe... but we don't want to talk about their lives or sit down to fellowship with them... Pretty soon, you don't even allow people into your yard. You don't like the idea of them walking on your grass or messing with your flowers. Then you build a wall so that nobody can even see the yard but you.

- Now this all sounds a little silly... but when anything takes up time from our time with Christ... it's become a sin. And sometimes... it becomes an idol.

- Maybe you like to take morning walks. Walking is healthy. It's good for you. But maybe in your walking... you see a girl/guy periodically... and since you're just walking... you start thinking... Just letting your mind wander a little bit. “Man I love it when they wear that pair of tight shorts...” And before you know it... your innocent little morning walks... have become walks of lust.

- Now not everything you go to do is going to end in sin... but if you're not careful, and you don't put up guards around your heart, or your mind... Satan can start to pervert those innocent things... and before you even know what really happened... you're in the middle of sin...

- Main point though is this—the prostitutes didn't just wander into the threshing floor and the workers just didn't accidentally let them stay. They had to be invited... or at least allowed to stay once they got there.

- Sin can't stay in your life unless you let it. You have to guard against it... and kick it out ```when it shows up. Don't even let it stay for a visit. “Oh... just a few minutes won't hurt...” Not on your life. It'll drown you in a heartbeat...

- Is there sin in your life that you are allowing to grow? Are there corners of your mind or your heart that you avoid consciously entering because you don't want to have to clean them out? Are there things in your life that you know shouldn't be there, but you say, “I'm just not ready to deal with that yet, God.”

- Isaiah 22:1-14
- Psalm 10
- Job 1:6-2:13
- Amos 3:2-15
- I Peter 5:6-11
- II Kings 17:27-41

9:2-3- UNCLEAN

- “So now your harvests will be too small to feed you. There will be no grapes for making new wine. You may no longer stay here in the Lord's land. Instead, you will return to Egypt, and in Assyria you will eat food that is ceremonially unclean.”

- There won't even be the outward appearance of righteousness. Ceremonial cleanliness was based on what you did and did not consume, touch, wear, etc. It was all about outward appearance.

- But the people of Israel would no longer even have that small comfort. They wouldn't even be able to fake their faith to anybody else. Their harvests would be so small... that in desperation, they would go back to Egypt and Assyria...

- There's nothing clean in Egypt or Assyria... they will have to eat things that are unclean.

- When we turn away from God and go back out into the world, we are leaving sacred, clean things behind us. There's nothing but uncleanliness in the world. So when we turn and go back to Egypt... there's not even the outward appearance of being righteous. We can't even fake it...

- Are you faking righteousness? Are you living the outward life, and denying the inward? As my pastor said this morning, are we “Clean on the outside, but a mess on the inside?”

- Ezekiel 4:1-17
- Proverbs 4:13-27
- Matthew 23:1-36


- “There you will make no offerings of wine to the Lord. None of your sacrifices there will please Him. They will be unclean, like food touched by a person in mourning. All who present such sacrifices will be defiled. They may eat this food themselves, but they may not offer it to the Lord.”

- That last line kind of sums it all up. We are unclean. Nothing we bring to offer God is acceptable. It's all been defiled.

- Now this is not to say that sin is okay... but in a sinful state... it's okay for us... but in our sin... we should not turn and try to offer something to God while in our sin.

- It's like somebody who has food allergies... Strawberries might be okay for you to eat... but if you give it to them... there's going to be major consequences.

- God will love you no matter what... but He is a pure God. We cannot give Him impure things and expect Him to be okay with it.

- We don't have to be perfect when we come to God... only repentant. He'll do the rest. But if we come to God in our sin, expecting to stay in our sin... trying to make amends without repentance... God won't accept it.

- “What then will you do on festival days? How will you observe the Lord's festivals?”

- The festivals were celebrations of the Lord's goodness. His salvation, His love... How do you celebrate something you've never experienced? How do you bring sacrifices to God when you haven't decided in your heart that He is truly God?

- I was talking to a friend of mine last night. He was just baptized in February. He's been a music leader in a church for about a year now. He's been a Christian for oh... 5 or 6 years maybe? But he said, this year, he realized... he knew a lot about God... but he didn't KNOW God. He kept feeling like something was missing... so he prayed that God would put a thirst in him for His Word. And God did. And somewhere along the way, he realized that he wasn't truly following God.

- The people of Israel were the same. They were going through the motions. They hadn't accepted that God was Lord. They wanted to be lord of their own lives... and they wanted to look righteous... without putting any heart into it. They didn't KNOW God. They knew about Him... they knew why they needed to celebrate the festivals... but they did it because it was time for the festival... not because they were excited for what God had done.

- This weekend is 4th of July. In the USA this is Independence Day. The day we declared our independence from Britain. Which is great... but 250 or so years after the fact, we forget that we fought for independence. This day has dissolved into a day of fireworks, camping, cookouts, and... a day off from work...

- What are we celebrating? Are we celebrating the fact that we are a free nation? Do we remember that there are those who are still fighting for our freedom? Or are we just taking advantage of a national holiday and going camping for a weekend?

- Yeah we remember what day it is... and why... but it's been so long ago, that we have forgotten what it meant to not be free. We 250 years later... have never experienced anything but freedom... so we can't imagine another life. And we have started to take it for granted.

- Israel had forgotten what it meant to be rescued. They had just started to live life... without thinking about God in any of it.

- This morning the pastor's sermon was on the heart. He asked the question “do you know what's in your heart?” and “What is your heart desiring?” If we have started thinking about God as an accessory to our life, rather than a necessary, life sustaining part, then the answers to those questions, might be the same as the people of Israel at this time. We're going through the motions without a real relationship with God. We're living the life we want, and sending unclean offerings to God.

- So what is in your heart? What are you desiring more than anything? Are your desires God-centered, or self-centered?

- Hebrews 10:26-39
- Romans 5:12-6:23
- Ezekiel 36:1-37:28
- Psalm 51; 37
- Ephesians 2:1-10
- Galatians 5:16-26
- I Peter 4:1-19


- “Even if you escape destruction from Assyria, Egypt will conquer you, and Memphis will bury you. Nettles will take over your treasures of silver; thistles will invade your ruined homes.”

- Judgment is coming. Even if we escape from one thing... there will be another, and another, and another. And if we happen to escape from every earthly judgment... eventually there will be the final judgment... and that one... I guarantee we won't escape from.

- God sends judgment to get our attention. He sends reminders that He's still in charge... if we accept the punishment, repent, and turn to follow God... then He forgives us and we get on with our walk... but if we look at that punishment, and turn away in anger, or decide that we will do what we want to no matter what God says... then He will send another, and another... hoping that we'll turn around and realize that He's still there waiting!

- There are always consequences for our actions... when we turn from God... eventually, He stops protecting us from the consequences. “What can go wrong, will go wrong.”

- Eventually God will say to us, just as He said to Israel: “The time of Israel's punishment has come; the day of payment is here. Soon Israel will know this all too well.”

- Israel turned away from God's reminders again and again. They insisted on turning to prostitute themselves to other nations and other gods. They ran to everything and anything for support and help except the One Thing that really could help them.

- “Because of your great sin and hostility, you say, “the prophets are crazy and the inspired men are fools!”

- They looked at the Word of God as nothing. The prophets were crazy. They didn't know what they were talking about. God wouldn't really say those things to His people. Ignore the prophets. They are all fools. Wisdom is what you make it. It has nothing to do with God.

- When we hear the Word of God and turn away from its direction or make fun of it... scoff at it... it's like slapping God in the face.

- God's prophets, and teachers, and preachers... they speak the Word of Truth to your hearts. It's your decision whether or not you choose to take it to heart and listen and let God change your life accordingly... but they come with Word from the lips of God Himself. We should not take it lightly.

- Israel had started mocking the men of God who spoke for Him. “The prophet is a watchman over Israel for my God, yet traps are laid for Him wherever He goes. He faces hostility even in the house of God.”

- This was not only talking about prophets of Hosea's time... but this was also looking forward to Christ. Everywhere Christ went the Pharisees were trying to trick Him into saying something or doing something that they could jump onto as sin. Something that would cause Him to be seen as the enemy to the faith. (Sound like politically correctness in this country?”

- Do not think that we are any different. If we speak truth to a lost and sinful world... they're not going to like getting their toes stepped on. They're not going to accept you with open arms. Just because you are living a life in Christ, doesn't mean it's going to be easy. Even within the walls of the church... there will be problems sometimes in speaking truth...

- A friend of mine went to visit his family a few months ago. He went with the plan to save his dad. He was going to convince his dad that he needed Christ. Well... the rest of the family ended up coming to Christ... some uncles, aunts, siblings, his mother... but his dad... no such luck.

- Not every person you speak to about Christ is going to turn and accept Him. It may take many years and many different people all speaking truth to them for them to finally see the light. They may ridicule you, rebuke you, hate you... but you still have to speak Truth. One day... they will see the light... you just may never know about it.

- So remain faithful... speak truth to any and all... and hope and pray that somewhere along the line, they will truly hear.

- Is there someone in your life that you have not yet spoken truth to? Even in a little way? We can live our lives hoping that our lives preach the gospel... but it doesn't always work that way. Spoken word is necessary... even if it's a small word... So is there someone you need to speak to?

- Lamentations 3; 4; 5
- James 2:1-26
- I John 4:1-18
- Romans 2:1-29
- Matthew 12:30-37

9:9-13, 15-16 DEPRAVATION

- “The things my people do are as depraved as what they did in Gibeah long ago. God will not forget. He will surely punish them for their sins.”

- footnote- “A couple had stopped to stay overnight in Gibeah when some wicked men gathered around the house and demanded that the man come out so they could have sex with him. Instead the traveler gave them his concubine. They raped and abused her all night and then left her dead on the doorstep (Judges 19:1-30). That horrible act revealed the depths to which the people had sunk. Gibeah was destroyed for its evil (Judges 20:8-48), but Hosea said that he whole nation was now as evil as that city. Just as the city didn't escape punishment, neither would the nation.”

- This story was much like the story of the angels in Sodom and Gomorrah with Lot. Right after that incident, the city was completely destroyed. Did you know that even today, the site where they think Sodom and Gomorrah sat, still has no vegetation or growth whatsoever? Nothing will grow there. When God destroys something... it stays destroyed... lol

- The same kind of things that had been going on in Sodom and Gomorrah, were happening now in Israel. These sins were depraved. This means that they completely went against natural human nature. Their sins didn't even make sense in the human sense. They were completely perverting natural things in their sin... and seeing nothing wrong with it. The men that showed up on the doorstep asking for a man to be sent out so they could have sex with him all night... didn't think it was wrong... Their minds had ceased to comprehend the evil in their sin.

- In I Timothy 4:1-5, it talks about people walking away from what is truth to follow deceptive spirits or demonic spirits. The end of verse two says that these people have had their consciences seared with a hot iron. Or that their consciences are dead. (depending on your translation). The hot iron means that every time your conscience rose up to tell you that you're wrong... the iron was applied to dull away that feeling of wrongdoing. Eventually, the searing makes the conscience dead. No longer does sin effect you the way it used to. Things that once seemed so wrong, so detestable, made you sick to think about it... you can commit those sins... and not feel any remorse at all.

- Israel was becoming a nation of conscience-dead people.

- It wasn't always like that. “O Israel, when I first found you, it was like finding fresh grapes in the desert. When I saw your ancestors, it was like seeing the first ripe figs of the season. But then they deserted me for Baal-peor, giving themselves to that shameful idol. Soon they became vile, as vile as the god they worshiped.”

- As they turned to follow after Baal... their lifestyles started to reflect their worship. When you are worshiping something evil, something demonic, something impure... your life will become those things. If you worship money... then you will become ever more greedy. If you worship your family, your home, then you will lose sight of other people and become entirely focused on how those things reflect on you.

- So... “The glory of Israel will fly away like a bird, for your children will not be born or grow in the womb or even be conceived. Even if you do have children who grow up, I will take them from you. It will be a terrible day when I turn away and leave you alone.”

- The glory of Israel was the blessings of God. God's presence among His people. And He was going to take it away from the people. No more would they be called blessed among the nations.

- I know this walk with Christ ultimately has nothing to do with what we've done... but our relationship with God depends a lot on how we walk and talk with God. God will never forsake us. He will never leave us without hope. But when we turn away from God... He will eventually say “Fine. Have it your way. I'm here when you decide to come back.”

- God won't force us to stay with Him... but when we walk away... we can't walk away into stubborn sin and expect God to bless that which is evil and sinful. He is a pure and holy God... He can't soil His name... He won't bless you while you are determined in your sin.

- Children, or your fruit, the produce of your labor, those things which you work to achieve, will not be born or conceived. And IF you do happen to succeed in something you do... “I will take them from you.”

- “I have watched Israel become as beautiful as Tyre. But now Israel will bring out her children for slaughter.”

- “I will drive them from my land because of their wicked actions. I will love them no more because all their leaders are rebels. The people of Israel are struck down. Their roots are dried up, and they will bear no more fruit. And if they give birth, I will slaughter their beloved children.”

- There's no foundation! There's no root! They're not rooted in God anymore... so they're not getting any nourishment. Without roots... there is no hope of being fed.

- Everything you try to accomplish without God will be destroyed. It will be as if a wild fire burned through your fields. Or as if there has been a drought and all that you have planted and put effort into has been reduced to dust and has blown away. And you will keep working towards a goal! You won't look at it and say, “Oh. Something's not right here... maybe I should talk to God about that... maybe I need to change something...” No! You'll keep right on trying to do what you know doesn't work.

- They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

- We know sin doesn't work. And yet we still try to get away with it. We still try to convince God that... one little thing won't hurt us. It won't be a big deal. If He can just let us do this one thing... But no. All we're doing is lining up all our achievements to be brought before the judgment seat and cut down in front of our eyes. Nothing lasts but those things that are founded in Christ.

- Jude 1:3-23
- II Peter 2; 3
- Luke 3:43-45
- John 15:1-16
- Deuteronomy 28:15-29:1

9:14, 17- HOSEA'S PRAYER

- “O Lord, what should I request for your people? I will ask for wombs that don't give birth and breasts that give no milk.... My God will reject the people of Israel because they will not listen or obey. They will be wanderers, homeless among the nations.”

- The only prayer that Hosea felt that was worth praying for Israel, was that they wouldn't prosper. They wouldn't have anything in their possession to take away. They wouldn't be given things only to see them fade in front of them. They wouldn't even have a home...

- Have you ever prayed “Whatever it takes” over someone? That's a hard prayer. To pray that God would do whatever it takes in a person's life to get them to see their need for Him... that could be anything. If that person is incredibly stubborn and set on rebellion... that could mean the death of people close to them. And depending on who you are to them... that could mean the death of someone close to YOU too... That could mean that they lose everything and end up living on the streets. That could mean that they end up in a car accident and crippled for life.

- God knows what it takes to save a life... but before we pray that prayer, we have to be ready to be part of the answer... even if the answer is a hard one.

- But here was Hosea... asking that Israel would be denied everything important. That they would lose everything they hold dear. “Wanderers, homeless among the nations.” And they were... and are.

- Israel scattered throughout the nations. Over the last 500 or so years, they have slowly been moving back to Israel... but until WWII, there wasn't really a push for them to go back. They were fine where they were. But when persecution started... not just in Germany, but in Russia, in Poland, in Italy, in Austria, all over Europe... Britain provided a little piece of Palestine for a Jewish homeland... and Jews, who didn't speak the same language, who weren't used to the climate, who may or may not have been Jewish in religion... started coming back home. But until that point... there was no home.

- Israel was indeed scattered to the wind. Homeless wanderers.

- God has a purpose in mind for our lives. What we can accomplish, what we can do to forward His kingdom... Is someone praying “whatever it takes” over your life? Maybe they did in the past... So is there someone you can pray that prayer for in return? But are you ready to make the sacrifices necessary to see that prayer through to fruition?

- Psalm 14; 104
- Jeremiah 29:8-14; 10:17-25
- Proverbs 28:2; 4; 9; 13-14
- Deuteronomy 5:22-33

No comments:

Post a Comment