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Then in verses 15-19 of Hosea 4 we read, “Though you, Israel, play the harlot, let not Judah offend. Do not come up to Gilgal, nor go up to Beth Aven, nor swear an oath, saying, ‘As the Lord lives’— 16 “For Israel is stubborn like a stubborn calf; now the Lord will let them forage like a lamb in open country. 17 “Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone. 18 Their drink is rebellion, they commit harlotry continually. Her rulers dearly love dishonor. 19 The wind has wrapped her up in its wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.

There is no honor among the people. But there is a drop of mercy here in the message of judgment, just as there always is. Looking at Israel’s sin Hosea speaks to Judah. He entreats them not to follow in Israel’s footsteps. Don’t imitate Israel stubbornness. Israel is going her own way and God is about to abandon them to their enemy. They love their sin. They will be vulnerable and exposed like a lamb feeding alone in an open field. Israel’s rulers, we are told, love dishonor. Doesn’t it seem that way, that politicians and rulers gravitate toward dishonor?

It says there it will be as if the wind snatched the nation up and carried it off and they will be put to shame for their idolatry. It is not that they will be ashamed, but they will be put to shame – this is where they are shamed by their enemies and humiliated and abused by them.

What we have learned then is that in this indictment, God tells His people that they have no restraint (nothing is holding them back from sin), no knowledge (they rationalize sin), no satisfaction (they refuse righteousness), no understanding (running toward national ruin), and no honor (stubborn pursuit of shameful things). This indictment has been proclaimed because there is no partiality with God. In Romans 2:5-11 we continue with Paul writing, “5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.”

The good news here is that God is not partial. The bad news is that if we continue to seek what we want, if we continue to pursue iniquity, just as Israel did, then there will be consequences. These consequences include indignation, wrath, tribulation, and anguish. Who needs that? Who wants that? Who? The one who pursues sin seeking to satisfy self through disobedience to God’s Word and Will.

Here then we see that Hosea is telling the people that they are where Gomer was – for sale to the highest bidder and the winner is about to be Assyria. Hosea teaches us about redemption, but what if Hosea had not gone to redeem Gomer? What if God abandons His people to the nations around them? What if there is No Mercy? This is what they deserve to be sure, and this is what is coming if they do not repent and return to Him. His lovingkindness should be reason enough for their return but if not, then they will be let go, turned over to reap what they have sown.

May we be turned by the lovingkindness of God rather than crushed by His chastening hand. May we be quick to repent and seek reconciliation and slow to seek satisfaction by means of iniquity. And may we rejoice today that the indictment against us has been handled by our Advocate, who “wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us… having nailed it to the cross.” (Col. 2:14).

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