The Lord has been speaking to the children of Israel through his prophet Hosea, but they are wrapped up in their political alliances and are trusting in the work of their own hands in Hosea 12:8 And Ephraim said, “Surely, I am rich, I gained wealth for myself; in all my toil they have not found guilt in me that is sin”. They don’t recognize that judgement is coming and there is no one to save them in Hosea 13:10 Where now is your king that he may save you? Where in all your cities are your judges, of whom you said, “Give to me a king and rulers?”. Again the Lord tells them, turn to him and asks in Hosea 14:9 Who is wise that he can understand these things? Who is discerning that he knows them? The ways of Yahweh are right, and the righteous walk in them; but transgressors stumble in them.
I Gained Wealth for Myself
Here is the gloat of the prideful businessman, but it is not just one business, here it is all of them that make up the economy of the region, in
Hosea 12:8 And Ephraim said, “Surely, I am rich, I gained wealth for myself; in all my toil they have not found guilt in me that is sin.
Here, “Ephraim argues, My success in my labors proves that I am not a guilty sinner as the prophets assert. Thus sinners pervert God’s long-suffering goodness (Mt 5:45) into a justification of their impenitence (compare Ec 8:11–13).”1
and there are those today that justify themselves in the same way, saying because “I gained wealth for myself” I am living right. But God says of these in Ephraim in
Hosea 12:7 The trader, in his hand are scales of deceit; he loves to oppress.
There are businesses that provide a quality product or service at a good price. Businesses that pay fair wages and care about the source of their materials. This phrase “he loves to oppress” might be today’s corporate avoidance of external costs that bring high profits but leave a huge debt for society. This is the reason many are talking about Corporate Social Responsibility. There is no mechanism to require “the trader” to be honest and legislation is often too late.
But the Lord notices. He said in
Hosea 12:10 I spoke to the prophets; I myself multiplied revelations and through the hand of the prophets I will destroy.
The prophets speak the truth. The prophets reveal things that are hidden. The prophets are the “whistle blowers” saying do what is right. And just as the Lord has promised “the trader” of Ephraim responsible in
Hosea 12:14 Ephraim has caused bitter provocation, and his Lord will hold him responsible for his crimes and pay back to him his insults.
the Lord is still against “scales of deceit” and those that love “to oppress” for their own gain.
They Will Be Like Dew Going Away
It Will Plunder His Treasury
Everything the children of Israel depended on will fail them beginning with their kings and judges and rulers in
Hosea 13:10 Where now is your king that he may save you? Where in all your cities are your judges, of whom you said, “Give to me a king and rulers?”
The Lord says the sin of Ephraim is hidden in
Hosea 13:12 The sin of Ephraim is wrapped up; his sin is concealed.
so, using the analogy of childbirth, they do not come forth when labour pains begin in Hosea 13:12. Instead, there are plagues and destruction in Hosea 13:14 and every guilty one will be taken, even those hidden, “among reeds”, who may think they have escaped in
Hosea 13:15 Although he may flourish among reeds, the east wind will come, a wind of Yahweh rising from the desert; his fountain will dry up, his spring will be parched. It will plunder his treasury, every object of desire.
Who Is Discerning That Knows?
The word of the Lord is calling out to them again in
Hosea 14:1–2 Return to Yahweh your God, O Israel, for you have stumbled because of your sin. 2 Take words with you, and return to Yahweh. Say to him, “Take away all guilt; accept good, and we will offer the fruit of our lips.
The prophet tells them what God wants to hear “the fruit of our lips” saying in
Hosea 14:3 Assyria will not save us; we will not ride on horses, and we will say no more, “Our God,” to the work of our hands because in you the fatherless child finds mercy.
The Lord simply wants them to look beyond the work of their own hands to God who has created all. If they would look to him, and keep the Sabbath, and do good, then the Lord would bless them with increase in
Hosea 14:5–6 I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like the lily plant, and he will strike his roots like the trees of Lebanon. 6 His new plant shoots will spread out; his splendor will be like the olive tree, and his scent like the trees of Lebanon.
It doesn’t make sense to our natural mind, we think we must work harder, work more and we will be blessed. But God says, work six days and rest. Keep the Sabbath Holy to him. So he asks in
Hosea 14:9 Who is wise that he can understand these things? Who is discerning that he knows them? The ways of Yahweh are right, and the righteous walk in them; but transgressors stumble in them.
Yahweh Is Coming Out From His Place
Disaster Has Come Down From Yahweh
- Hosea 12:7–14 I Gained Wealth for Myself
- Hosea 13:9–16 It Will Plunder His Treasury
- Hosea 14:1–9 Who Is Discerning That Knows?
- Hosea 13:1-16
- Hosea 14:1-9
- Micah 1:1-16
- 1. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 661). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.