Sunday, August 19, 2007
In these two chapters Hosea continues to accuse the people of Israel of their sin. Since there is substantial overlap with Hosea 3-5, we will be looking only at the novel parts.
1. In Hosea 3-5 God accuses people of Israel of idolatry. What kind of people does he address in Ch. 4-5?
Seems like that in addition to common folk, specialized accusations are laid upon priests (4:4-10) and Israel rulers (ch. 5).
2. What are the new accusations that appear against these three groups (people, priests, rulers)?
a. Don't have mercy
b. Don't have faithfulness or truthfulness,
c. Don't have knowledge of God
h. Adultery (Physical)
a. Reject knowledge
b. Ignore law
e. Feed on the sins of the people
a. Being a trap to common people
b. Border conflicts
3. What are the new curses?
a. All the beasts will die
b. Priest will stumble
c. Rejection of the priests and their children
d. Priests will never be satisfied
e. Leaving them alone
f. Lose roots
g. God's withdrawal
h. God will be like rot and moth and lion to Israel
1. A feeling that you get when reading the passage is that God is very angry. This is not the God of Hosea 2 where he carefully plans the curses in such a way as to teach people to distrust the idols. Yet here, it seems like there is little connection between the problem and the punishment. Does God have the right to be angry in this way?
From a Bible dictionary:
Anger asserts itself in attitudes of indignation and acts of aggression, both expressing a sense of outrage and a wish that appropriate punitive hurt overtake the wrongdoer. The imagery of anger is based on fire. Anger’s similarity to fire may be observed in its spontaneity, in the difficulty with which it is contained and in its destructive power.
God anger. God is often described as being angry. Sometimes it appears as a deliberate anger, as in Hosea 2, sometimes as a quick-tempered anger as in Hosea 4-5. Yet God’s anger is not automatic or predictable, nor is God ever “out of control.” This kind of anger is not arbitrary or disfigured, as human anger often is. While God shows quick-tempered emotion toward sin, God is slow to anger, which means he is slow to act on his anger. There is probably tens of years that have passed between promises in Hosea 4-5 and actual judgment. And what God has finally done is much less than what he "felt" he will do, as apparent from the ending part of Hosea 11.
2. What can we learn about human anger from God's anger?
Anger threatens human self-control, prudence, and good judgment: ordinary speech describes angry people as having lost their ‘temper’ (equable balance) and ‘head’ (wisdom) and as being ‘mad’. Human anger often leads to sin, and hence we should be slow to anger.
James 1:19-20 (NIV)
19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
The same conclusion is also made in many proverbs. In NT, anger is often mentioned in the lists of sins.
Yet Scripture also speaks of anger as motivating admirable action too (see 2 Cor. 7:11; Is. 59:16; 63:3–6). Anger may be righteous or unrighteous, justified or unwarranted, virtuous or vicious, constructive or destructive in its effects, depending on what one is angry at, and on one’s own prior character and commitments.
The best place for us to learn about anger is from Jesus, because he was God and without sin (and hence has perfect anger) and also a man, so was bound to behave like one. Indications of anger on Jesus’ part appear in Mark 1:43 (at the prospect of unwelcome publicity), 3:1–5 (at the Pharisees’ ill-will and indifference to suffering), 10:14 (at the disciples’ arrogance towards children), 11:15–17 (at the desecration of the temple; cf. John 2:13–17), 12:24–27 (at the Sadducees’ complacent errors about resurrection); Matthew 16:23 (at Peter’s rejecting of his prediction of the cross), 23:13–36 (at the Pharisees’ sham religiosity); and John 11:33–38 (at the repellent legacy of sin, namely death). In light of the NT insistence that Jesus, the Son of God incarnate, was totally sinless (John 8:46; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:22), these passages must be held to show that anger at what dishonors God, so far from being sinful, may be just the reverse – a truth already modeled in the Psalms and prophets (Ps. 139:21–22; Jer. 15:17).
3. Should we, as Christians, be afraid of God's anger?
God's anger for sin has been eternally satisfied or deflected (NT uses the word "propitiation") by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We, Christians, are no longer in the hands of angry God:
1 John 4:10 (NIV)
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Romans 5:9 (NIV)
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
God is still angry with those who have not repented of their sins (Rom 9:22), at people who try to justify themselves by obeying the law (Rom 4:15), at disobedience:
Ephesians 5:5-6 (NIV)
5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.
These apply to non-Christians or to false Christians. Can God be angry at Christians? In short term, yes, just as he was angry with Peter on so many occasions. The ones elected by God are saved eternally from his wrath (even though they deserve it as much as others do).