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whirlwindTake your Bibles if you will, and open with me this week to Hosea chapter 8.  The title of our series this week is “Forgetting God,” from Hosea chapter 8.  As we’ve been moving through this minor prophet, we have seen Hosea obeying the Lord’s command to take and to marry Gomer.  We’ve seen the warning that when he does marry her, she’s going to become unfaithful.  Hosea and Gomer had one child, and then she ran off into a life of unfaithfulness and adultery and had two more children as a result of her unfaithfulness.  Hosea continued to raise the children and to accept them as if they were his own, naming them and caring for them.

Gomer’s life wrought her to the point where she had sown such wickedness that she ended up not being able to settle any of her debts, not being able to handle any of her business.  What she found out eventually, after running into unfaithfulness, thinking that by that she was gaining provision from the men that she was running with, was that she was caught and ensnared, and literally enslaved, as she was put for sale on the slave market to cover her debts.

Hosea shows us a picture of the redeeming love of God for His children, as he went to the slave market, placed the highest bid, the winning bid, insisted upon winning her and bringing her home, not as a slave, but back into the marriage as his wife, to bind her to faithfulness.  Hosea, of course, being a picture of God, Gomer being a picture of Israel, and Hosea preaching with his life and with his family, portraying for the people God’s redeeming love.

But as a backdrop for redemption, we have the threat of judgment.  There’s something they need to be redeemed from, and it’s their sin, it’s the sin that they had run headlong into after the kingdom split, as they set up false places of worship and golden idols and calves, and they began to bring in Molech and Asherah, and they even had set up places to worship God and all of these false gods together, so it really was like a mall.  You could go in and pick wherever you wanted to shop.  This was what their worship had become.

And we learn in Hosea 8 this morning that the people are reaping what they have sown.  In fact, two of the main verses for us this morning, Hosea chapter 8, verse 7, where the Lord tells the people through Hosea, “They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind.  The stalk has no bud; It shall never produce meal. If it should produce, Aliens would swallow it up.”  The key there is the first part of the verse—and this is the theme of this chapter—“They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind.”  Another preacher put it this way: “Deeds are seeds.”

The way you live is what you are sowing; this is the fruit that you are bearing.  And the seeds that you sow will bear fruit, good or bad.  We’ve seen that when we looked two weeks ago at the works of the flesh versus the fruit of the Spirit.  The point is, the way you live will reap fruit, good or bad.  The deeds are seeds.

We also see in verse 14, as he closes this chapter, he says, For Israel has forgotten his Maker, And has built temples; Judah also has multiplied fortified cities; But I will send fire upon his cities, And it shall devour his palaces.”

Israel has forgotten his Maker.  This word for “forgotten” does not mean simply that you went into a room and forgot what you were there for.  It doesn’t mean that you forget your kids’ names, or that you forget an appointment.  This forgetting is a willful neglect.  It is to ignore something.  You see, it’s not just that they went about their daily life and just didn’t think of God.  They purposefully put Him out of their minds.  They ignored Him.  It is to cease to care.  It’s a type of moral forgetfulness.

Galatians 6:8 helps us set the tone this morning.  In Galatians 6:7 and 8, Paul writes, Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”

As Hosea’s telling the people that they need to be obeying God and returning to Him and repenting of their sin, we’re going to find out in this chapter five ways that they’re specifically disobeying God, and this is all with this backdrop: What you are sowing is going to reap consequences.

This is reinforced in the New Testament, where Paul says, “God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”  If you reap, if you’re reaping the works of the flesh, guess what?  It’s because that’s the seed that you’ve sown.

So often when we reap horrible things in our lives—sin and wickedness and attitudes that we know ought not to be there—what do we do?  Well, we usually have a built-in excuse, don’t we?  It was either a moment of weakness, or the Devil made me do it.  We either blame our frailty, or we blame the Devil.  James 1 makes it clear.  We’re drawn into sin when we are tempted, when our flesh is drawn away.  It’s the lust that is in us; it’s not the Devil that’s outside of us.  Don’t blame the Devil.

You know, Adam and Eve didn’t even blame the Devil.  They tried, but ultimately, who did Adam blame?  He blamed God.  He said, “You gave me this woman, and she led me into this sin.”  We can blame everybody that we want to blame, but if we’re reaping these things, it’s because of what we have been sowing.  “He who sows to his flesh will of his flesh reap corruption.”

And we often come to the Old Testament, we come to the minor prophets, and to this chapter, and think, “Well, that was Israel, and that’s different, because we’re Christians now.  And we’re forgiven, and we’re guaranteed heaven.”  And we don’t think that there’s a threat of this.  Listen, you can be saved, you can be lost—this principle is universal for all of humanity.  What you sow, you will reap.  And we often think that we have eternal security—and what a great, grand doctrine eternal security is, that Jesus has us and God has Him, and we’re secure.

You can read the warnings all throughout the Scripture, can’t you?  Please, don’t fall for this idea that I prayed a prayer, I’ve shaken a preacher’s hand, I’ve walked an aisle, I was baptized, I did the motions, I filled out the card, I did what I was supposed to do, now it doesn’t matter how I live, because I have this assurance I’m going to heaven.  The fruit that we bear indicates the reality of the inner man.  And if we are only bearing the works of the flesh, that’s all that we have to sow.  This is a warning, first, against a false assurance, but it’s also a warning against this idea that grace means that we can live however we want and still go to heaven.

What you sow you will reap.  And while we will preach eternal security while we have breath—our security is found in Christ—we will also preach the whole counsel of the word of God.  Jesus says, “If you love me, you’re going to keep my commandments.  You’re going to walk in righteousness.  You’re going to hunger after holiness.”

This is the struggle of Paul in Romans 7.  He found himself doing the things he didn’t want to do, and the things he wanted to do, he didn’t.  And what is that?  That’s our daily battle with the spirit and the flesh.  How do you win it?  Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  Christ has provided a means of victory.  Paul teaches us that in Romans 7:8-9.

When it comes to forgetting God, we also learn from Deuteronomy, when Moses was telling the people what was going to come in the future, that he didn’t make it into the Promised Land, did he.  Because of his sin, because of his anger, God kept him out.  He never made it in.  Before Joshua went over with the people, Moses told the people in Deuteronomy 8, 10 through 14:

10 ‘When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. 11 Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;… 19 Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. 20 As the nations which the Lord destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God.”

There is a warning from Moses.  “Don’t forget God when you get into this Promise Land and you see God conquer your enemies, and you begin to have houses and crops and herds.”  When things turn out to be nice, a land flowing with milk and honey, when things are good and when things are easy, that’s when it is easiest to forget God, isn’t it.  Because we usually only need God in the case of an emergency.  It’s like, “Break glass and pull this alarm.”  If something goes wrong, God’s the spare tire that we get out of the trunk so we can smooth things out.  No.  This is why I say this—if He’s not there all along, if you will not preach and suffer for the gospel now while you’re free to, I promise you, you probably won’t when it’s against the law, if it actually costs something to follow after Christ.

Moses gives the warning—You’re going to reach a time of ease.  Things are going to be good.  Don’t forget the Lord.  And he defines it for us there.  He says, “Don’t forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments.”  We forget God when we disobey.  We forget that He’s there.  We forget that He’s watching.  We forget that He’s always with us.  You know, usually when we sin, we’re alone, aren’t we?  We like to think that we’re alone.  We’re never alone.  He’ll never leave us or forsake us, and really when you think about sin, that’s a frightening verse, that’s not a comforting verse.  He’s always there.  And yet, we forget.  We don’t think, we don’t give thought to, we ignore God’s presence in our daily life, as we walk after the flesh.

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