BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday March 24, 2013
RESTORING THE REPENTANT
(Repentance is important to GOD)
Hosea 13 & 14
The tribe of Ephraim had gained a very prominent position among the twelve tribes of Israel following GOD’s breakup of the “United Kingdom” (northern Israel and Judah combined) as a result of Solomon’s sins against HIM. Solomon’s fall from grace, came after he got involved with his many wives in the worship of the idol gods, that they had brought with them, from their respective pagan homelands.
Jeroboam I, who became the leader of northern Israel after the breakup, was himself, an Ephraimite. Students of the bible can probably remember when Jeroboam was chosen by the people to lead the ten tribes that GOD stripped away from the “Davidic Line” of kings. GOD did, however, allow Solomon to complete his reign over the United Kingdom because of HIS promise to HIS faithful servant David. But after Solomon’s death, GOD took those ten tribes away from Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, and gave them to Jeroboam I, and as a result, the geographical area that became known as the “northern kingdom of Israel” was formed (1 Kings 11:26-42).
In Hosea 13:1a, we see how, even 350 years after the secession, all the other tribes of Israel , still feared and looked up to the tribe of Ephraim. Unfortunately for Ephraim, however, the GOD WHO allowed them to succeed with the secession was never really pleased with them for wanting to choose another king outside the Davidic Line (Vs.9-10). And, GOD was especially angered because they had used their influence to lead the whole nation of Israel back into sin, by way of their practice of Baal worship. They had clearly showed GOD, through their behavior, that they were no longer happy with HIM, or HIS choices. It was this rebellion and rejection of GOD in this manner that ultimately sealed their fate of destruction by Assyria, in 722 B.C.
In verses 2-3 Hosea gives us a vivid description of the crimes and punishment of GOD’s fallen people. Here we see that the people had continued, over a long period of time, to sin against GOD by way of their skillful making and worshiping of hand-carved images of silver calves. This brought “spiritual death” upon Israel, and would soon bring physical death as well.
Even though GOD had shown HIMSELF in grace to HIS beloved nation of Israel (Vs. 4-5), in return, they had only shown HIM pride and arrogance (v.6). And whenever we become prideful and unresponsive to GOD, we can rest assure that a spanking is near at hand (Vs. 7-8). GOD will speedily forgive “confessed sins” that are followed by “earnest repent”. HE may even delay punishment of “unrepentant sin” for a season. However, for those who continue to reject HIS grace, or assume that HE doesn’t care what they do, are in for a rude awakening in the end (v.12).
We have all been offered a “New Birth” through the salvation made available to us through JESUS’ vicarious sacrifice on the cross, by Roman method. However, most of us are like a child (Ephraim) who chooses to resist this “New Birth” and instead, prefers to wallow around in the filth that is offered up by the world (v.13). And even though Ephraim was the most fruitful of all the Israelite tribes in those days, GOD’s wrath would blow heavier against her because she had the most potential to do right, but instead, chose to use her influence to lead the less fortunate tribes into doing that which was wrong in the eyes of GOD (Vs.14-16).
In Hosea 14, the prophet reminds us that there is healing for those who earnestly repent. He tells the people that Assyria will not be able to save them (in fact, GOD would use Assyria to destroy them) (Vs.1-3). GOD’s message to Israel is that HE will heal them of their idolatry and lack of faith, and that HIS love for them would have no bounds. HIS anger against them would be gone forever, and HE would be like the dew in the morning to them, fresh from Heaven (Vs.4-5).
When GOD heals and restores us from the “spiritual and physical injuries of sin”, HE does it by replacing HIS “anger” with HIS “love and compassion”. HE chooses to love us freely and unconditionally, and HE no longer holds our past against us (Justification). Then we as “repentant sinners” can begin to prosper, bloom, and grow spiritually, physically, and materially in the newness of life, that is, CHRIST JESUS (Vs.5-7).
In Hosea 14:8-9 the LORD leaves us with this final warning and wisdom; “….Stay away from idols! I AM the ONE WHO looks after you and cares for you. I AM like a tree that is always green, giving my fruit to you all through the year. Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those who are discerning listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them”…. (NLT).
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website