hos 10.2Take your Bibles and open with me this week to Hosea chapter 10. In this chapter we will examine divided hearts, disloyalty, deceit, destruction, and the coming war that will consume the nation. Another message of hope, right? Yes, actually it is. This message is titled, “Break Up Your Fallow Ground.”

God through the prophet gives them another warning – reminding us of Numbers 14:18, “The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty.” – and in this warning He tells them again how to prevent destruction and judgment – God tells the people how to fix it! He tells them how to repent and walk in righteousness. The question remains, will they listen?

Hosea begins this chapter in the first 4 verses by addressing the people about their Divided Hearts. God’s Word tell us, “Israel empties his vine; he brings forth fruit for himself. According to the multitude of his fruit he has increased the altars; according to the bounty of his land they have embellished his sacred pillars. 2 Their heart is divided; now they are held guilty. He will break down their altars; He will ruin their sacred pillars. 3 For now they say, ‘We have no king, because we did not fear the Lord. And as for a king, what would he do for us?’ 4 They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant. Thus judgment springs up like hemlock in the furrows of the field.”

Hosea begins by telling them they have divided hearts, divided loyalties. Looking at the whole counsel of the Word of God we confess that we can sum up all the Law of God, all the precepts, commands, instructions, admonitions, and testimonies of the Lord into One First and Greatest Commandment. Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” The Law then has been given ultimately to lead us to love, to love the Lord with all our heart, with all that we are and have. But the people have demonstrated consistently that they do NOT love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and strength. They refuse to obey, they will not be faithful, and the Scripture is plain, it is clear, if we love God we obey Him, so if we are not obeying Him we are suffering from a lack of love for God.

Too often you hear the claim that the reason for suffering and trials is that we do not have enough faith, but here we see that the real issue is a lack of love. That’s because we so often equate love with emotion, and passion, and feeling. Love is not an emotional term as much as it is a relational term. Love describes the way we choose to relate to someone. Love is a choice, a decision of our will, as to how we will walk in a relationship with someone. This Someone is the Lord. Will we love Him as He commands and expects?

The purpose of God’s covenant with the people, we learn in Deuteronomy 29:18-19, is, “So that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood; 19 and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart.” Obedience to the Covenant is proof of love and a singular devotion and love for God.

God warned His people when they were entering the Promised Land that they would be tempted and lured away from Him by the nations, by the pagans and the people who needed to be displaced and judged for their wickedness. If the nation of Israel was influenced and persuaded to worship false gods and idols then there would be consequences to the nation, to their future. The warnings abound but the people did not hear, they did not listen.

Israel here was called and chosen to a special relationship with God. Hosea reminds them that they are His choice vineyard. Verse 1, “Israel empties his vine; he brings forth fruit for himself.” They are His people, preserved to bring about the preeminent fruit, the birth of the Messiah. Psalm 80:8-10 tells us, “You have brought a vine out of Egypt; You have cast out the nations, and planted it. 9 You prepared room for it, and caused it to take deep root, and it filled the land. 10 The hills were covered with its shadow, and the mighty cedars with its boughs.”

Isaiah 5 gives us the most detailed explanation of God and His expectations for the Vineyard He has planted. “Now let me sing to my Well-beloved a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. 2 He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it; so He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes. 3 “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard. 4 What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes? 5 And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; and break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. 6 I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned or dug, but there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it.” 7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; for righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.”

God plucked His people up from oppression in Egypt and planted them in a fruitful land. It was a rich, abundant land. It was cultivated, prepared, and ready to provide nourishment. But what happened to the vine? Jeremiah 2:21 says, “Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality. How then have you turned before Me into the degenerate plant of an alien vine?”

Ezekiel 19:10 gives us this description, “Your mother was like a vine in your bloodline,

planted by the waters, fruitful and full of branches because of many waters.” God set the people in a place where they could flourish and prosper. They could be fruitful. Instead they are bringing forth wild grapes, sour fruit. How can this be? Every preparation was made for them to be fruitful in righteousness and obedience and justice and mercy. What did the people do? What happened?

In times of peace and prosperity they became apathetic, complacent, lazy, and lukewarm. They began to depend upon themselves instead of on the Lord. Again, “he brings forth fruit for himself.” Everything God has provided is being spent to satisfy self. He goes on “According to the multitude of his fruit he has increased the altars; according to the bounty of his land they have embellished his sacred pillars.” The more God blesses the more they worship idols. The more God gives, the more they take and misspend.

Ezekiel 16:10-19 gives us a diagnosis of the problem with prosperity here. God says, “10 I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk. 11 I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty. 14 Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,” says the Lord God. 15 “But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it. 16 You took some of your garments and adorned multicolored high places for yourself, and played the harlot on them. Such things should not happen, nor be. 17 You have also taken your beautiful jewelry from My gold and My silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself male images and played the harlot with them. 18 You took your embroidered garments and covered them, and you set My oil and My incense before them. 19 Also My food which I gave you—the pastry of fine flour, oil, and honey which I fed you—you set it before them as sweet incense; and so it was,” says the Lord God.”

Prosperity has bred corruption and a loss of leadership. 2 Their heart is divided; now they are held guilty. He will break down their altars; He will ruin their sacred pillars. Their disloyalty is about to result in their idolatry being broken down. God is going to uproot them. This divided heart is evidenced in that they are mixing the worship of God with the worship of idols – they want what they can get from God but do not want to give God what He asks of them. They are consumers, in the worst understanding of the word. They want to get the goods without being godly. They want to live however they want with no negative consequences and only the continued blessing and goodness of God.

Imagine living in direct contradiction to God’s Word and yet still expecting Him to bless us, to wink at our sin and give us an abundance of good things. We want God to bless us but we do not want to bless God. We want God to give us what we want but we refuse to give God what He wants! This is the sign and symptoms of a divided heart.