God's Indictment Against His People
TEXT: Hosea 4:1-2; 6-10
TOPIC: God’s Indictment against His People
Pastor Bobby Earls, FBC, Center Point, February 25, 2007
Then – The Prophet Hosea is one of the most intriguing of all the prophets of ancient Israel. Remember that a prophet was a special messenger of God sent forth to proclaim God’s word to the people of his day. His message was more often a message of forth-telling than fore-telling. That is, a prophet spoke forth boldly God’s word of truth as opposed to speaking a fore-telling word about the future.
Hosea is unique in that he is a vivid picture of God and His relationship with Israel. Hosea was told by God to go take a wife of harlotry, a prostitute. So Hosea fell in love with and married a woman named Gomer. (That should have told him something!) But Gomer was an unfaithful and adulterous wife. She bore Hosea children but they were not his children. ( a little girl named Lo-Ruhamah, no mercy; a son named Lo-Ammi, not My people)
So the prophecy of Hosea is really a picture of the relationship between God, represented by Hosea, and God’s people, represented by Gomer, the adulterous wife.
Beginning with chapter 4, God reveals His judgment or His indictment against His people. Chapter 4 is a courtroom scene. God is the judge, the prosecutor and the jury. His people, Israel, are the guilty defendants.
(Read the Scriptures – Hosea 4:1-2, 6-10)
I. GOD’S CASE AGAINST HIS PEOPLE, 4:1-2
1 Hear the word of the Lord, You children of Israel, For the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: “There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. 2 By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed
Hosea begins his message by appealing to his authority, the word of the Lord, v.1a.
A. THE CHARGES, 4:1, For the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land:
A charge meant a complaint in a legal sense. God is prosecutor, judge and jury against Israel. God’s charges included three things:
1. No Truth, “There is no truth or faithfulness, integrity (refers to the consistency of faithfulness which Israel lacked.)
2. No Mercy, or mercy (or loving-kindness (hesed) which refers to the ways God expects His people to act toward one another.)
3. No Knowledge, or knowledge of God (means more than the accumulation of facts or information alone. It involves the intimate, personal relationship which God desires to have with His people.)
B. THE EVIDENCE, 4:2, By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed
1. Swearing, By swearing or cursing
2. Lying, and lying, (deceiving)
3. Killing, killing (murder)
4. Stealing, and stealing
5. Adultery, and committing adultery
All of these sins are social sins that violate the Ten Commandments, and sins that can be found on the front pages of today’s newspapers.
II. GOD’S CASE AGAINST HIS PREACHERS, 4:6-10
God also brings charges against the spiritual and political leaders of that day. God holds leaders especially accountable for the influence they have over the masses. The bible says to whom much is given much is required.
God’s case against His preachers included the following:
A. Rejected Knowledge of God – God Rejects You, 4:6
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
They perish because they do not know God and they do not know God because they do not know His word. God holds His preachers and teachers responsible for failing to instruct God’s people in His word.
B. Forgotten the Law of God – God Forgets Your Children, 4:6 because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
God warns that our neglect of God’s word would have a dangerous impact upon future generations.
C. More Preachers – More Sin, 4:7
7 “The more they increased, the more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame.
The more who entered the priesthood the worse the people sinned.
Their “glory” refers to their position as a spiritual leader. God says he will cause this glory to become shame.
D. Like People – Like Preachers, 4:9
9 And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their deeds.
The priests would become like the peasant, (pe’-sents) the common, ordinary citizen.
III. GOD’S CLOSING ARGUMENTS, 5:15-6:6
15I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”
1Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. 2After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. 3Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth. 4“O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? O Judah, what shall I do to you? For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud, And like the early dew it goes away. 5Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of My mouth; and your judgments are like light that goes forth. 6For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
God says He has had enough. He has done all He can do to get His people to repent. God had even hoped the people’s suffering would turn them back to Him.
6:1-2, Israel does repent but their repentance is superficial at best. Like so many modern day revivals. People are moved emotionally. They regret their sin but do not truly turn from them to God. They quickly return to their former lifestyle without any significant or permanent change.
Hosea is a master-preacher. Notice how he describes the pitiful spiritual condition of the people of his day. And notice too, how they also fit the characteristics of Christians in our own time.
A. A Morning Cloud or as Early Dew, 6:4
For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud, And like the early dew it goes away.
Here one minute and gone the next. Not lasting. Short-lived.
B. A Cake Not Turned, 7:8
“Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned.
A half-baked cake or a cake done on one side only. Disappointing, does not live up to expectations. Looks good on the outside but not ready on the inside.
C. Gray Hairs, 7:9
Aliens have devoured his strength, But he does not know it; Yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, Yet he does not know it.
Losing their strength but ignorant of the change. Gray hair speaks of the decline of life. Spiritual decline always begins internally. Long before the prodigal left home he determined in his heart and mind to leave. He was prodigal in his heart before he was a prodigal in a foreign land.
D. A Silly Dove, 7:11
“Ephraim also is like a silly dove, without sense—they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.
Unstable, flitting from one thing to another; not willing to trust God alone.
E. An Unfaithful Bow, 7:16
They return, but not to the Most High; they are like a treacherous bow.
Unreliable, cannot be depended on.
Does your life fit these descriptions? Your spiritual life is not lasting, not deep, not honest, not stable, not dependable.
While God summons His people to give an account of their unfaithfulness to Him, He also expresses His grace in forgiving His rebellious and adulterous people.
Have you acknowledge your personal sin against God, and your unfaithfulness to Him. If so, rest assured that He is a merciful God who will forgive you your sins and trespasses against Him if you repent and turn to the Lord in faith.