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disloyalIn Hosea 10:3 we read, “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?’” This is a reference to the fact that in the very near future for Israel, Hosea is prophesying that the kings will be removed. They will be wiped out. There will be no leadership. Again, 4 of 6 will come into power by killing the king they would succeed. And all of these remaining kings were puppets with no real power or authority. It was political and governmental chaos. Some of these assassinations took place within 2 months of each other. There is no stability and no leadership. The people are being threatened and have no idea where to turn for help or protection.

The people say they have no king, but they did, they just didn’t want that particular king at that particular time. Kind of like this inane “Not my President” movement. And they make a confession here, they admit that the lack of leadership has resulted from their not fearing the Lord and then they resign themselves to the idea that even if they had a real king, an actual leader, what could he do for them? You see, everything was about getting what they wanted and if the king could not give them what they wanted then they might as well not have a king. The nanny state is nothing new under the sun.

This was the same nation that insisted to the prophet Samuel that God just HAD to give them a king. Now, what good is a king? 

Verse 4 says, “They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant.” The people are corrupted. Dishonesty is rampant. When it came to making covenants, whether with God, or this can also refer to business contracts, whatever they promised they did not perform. They have adopted the ways of the world around them. Here we have the people of God doing things the world’s way. The result? “Thus judgment springs up like hemlock in the furrows of the field.” We know that this has a business connotation because the word for covenant refers to business agreements and the word used for judgments here is a reference to lawsuits. The people were swearing falsely, entering into dishonest contracts, and the result is that lawsuits are abounding as they take one another to court. There are so many lawsuits in fact that the description is that they spring up like hemlock in the furrows of the field.

When you plow a field (and in this chapter this morning, plowing a field is a metaphor for how you live your life) when you plow a field you want straight furrows to make it easier to plant and to harvest your crops. The corruption then is resulting in lawsuits that spread like a highly poisonous weed throughout the field. Hemlock is a poisonous plant used in times past as a poison to execute criminals. The nation has been poisoned by corruption that is found everywhere you turn.

So the people are working to serve only themselves and therefore are bearing bad fruit, floundering as a nation with no true leadership, doing business the world’s way rife with corruption, and lawsuits are filling the land poisoning the economy and the culture. The nation of Israel was destroying itself.

Deuteronomy 32:32-33 tells us, “For their vine is of the vine of Sodom and of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter. 33 Their wine is the poison of serpents, and the cruel venom of cobras.”  This refers to those who are disobedient to the covenant. They are producing poisonous fruit, not just weeds, but harmful, destructive fruit. He tells the people because you have divided hearts you are destroying your nation. You are the ones doing this, bringing destruction and judgment.

If we only live for self we will bear this kind of fruit.

Continuing in verses 5 and 6 now we see that the nation is full of Disloyal Deceit. They were proved to be disloyal to God by the worship of false images. They were deceiving themselves with idols and worshipping them as if they were God.

It says here, “The inhabitants of Samaria fear because of the calf of Beth Aven. For its people mourn for it, and its priests shriek for it— because its glory has departed from it. 6 The idol also shall be carried to Assyria as a present for King Jareb. Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel.”

He mentions the people mourn and the priests shrieking because of the golden calf at Beth Aven. They had set up this false idol, representing God, telling the people to worship the calf as if it was God. The worship of this calf developed to include grief and fear and the way to vocalize this worship was described as “shrieking.” They would scream at the calf. They would yell and holler in a frenzy – it would have sounded like when people ride a roller coaster…it was fear and excitement melded together in this bizarre liturgy of screaming at the altar before this idol.

1 Kings 18 gives us a similar picture in the way the prophets of Baal were worshipping their false god in the confrontation with Elijah on Mt. Carmel. There we read, “26 So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. 27 And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. 29 And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.”

Back to Hosea, this is what we see, that as they mourn before the calf, and scream before the calf, it says “its glory has departed from it,” meaning that it would not respond. It was constantly being “uncovered” as a fake because they could not get the calf to answer or reply or respond to their worship.

The people are facing judgment so they flee to this calf and worship it and cry out to it expecting relief and what does the calf say? —– Nothing. Why? Because the idol is fake, false, and misleading. It is not a representation of God. It is a false image and it is an inanimate object. It is useless.

Hosea tells them that this idol will be carried off to Assyria and offered as a gift, as the spoils of war, to the King. It was, after all, a golden calf. This was worth a lot of Moolah! (You had to know there was a moo pun in there somewhere.) It would be taken as a treasure to be offered to the victorious leader of the Assyrians.

But what was this calf to Israel? This was their God. This was God to them. To them, their representation of God was about to become the spoils of war. This to them would be the equivalent of saying that the gods of the Assyrians are greater than the God of Israel. And the result is that Israel will be shamed. The shrieks of their idolatrous worship would lead to their false image of God becoming the spoils of war and they would be shamed.

In Isaiah 10:10-11 we read, “As my hand has found the kingdoms of the idols, whose carved images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria, 11 As I have done to Samaria and her idols, shall I not do also to Jerusalem and her idols?’” God will remove both His people and their false gods from the Land He had given them as an inheritance. God was about to purge the land. The things the people trusted in and treasured over Him, it would be taken away with them into their captivity.


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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright
© 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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