For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof. — Hosea 8:14
As a mother of young children, I am often faced with the task of trying to locate something for them. They have forgotten where they put a special piece of clothing, a homework assignment, or a shoe, and they come to me whining that they will never find it! I like to give suggestions before I get involved: “Did you check in the living room?” “Did you look in the laundry room?” It is always fun to add, “Did you check that disaster area you call your bedroom?” They always give definite answers: “It isn’t there!” While they may be in a panic, I am not usually overly concerned. I know that the item is around somewhere; they just have forgotten where they put it.
Now, the next step in finding things at our house is to follow specific directions given by Mom or Dad. “Check under your bed.” “Look in the bottom of your closet.” Of course, in most situations this does not work. They aren’t really looking, and they certainly did not put it where it belongs. The last resort is for me to help them look. Almost every time, the item is found within a few minutes. Sometimes, I almost trip over it walking into their room, and I wonder how they possibly could have missed it!
All of us occasionally forget where we have put something. At the time of today’s text, however, Israel had forgotten the most vital One in their lives! They had forgotten their Maker! If they had kept God where He should have been — first and foremost in their lives — this never would have happened. God warned them of impending judgments, and He sent prophets to deliver His message, “Come back to Me.” There were consequences for forgetting God and not heeding the warnings.
Whether we are young or old, and whatever else we may forget, it is imperative that we remember God! Let’s be sure we are keeping Him in His rightful place in our lives. We want to honor Him and obey His commandments. Then we will escape His judgment.
Throughout these two chapters, Hosea referred to Assyria and Egypt. In verse 13 of chapter 8, the people of Israel were told they would return to Egypt. The allusion was more figurative than literal. The point was that Egypt had been their previous master, and they were soon to fall into the hands of Assyria, who would also be their master.
In chapter 8 verse 5, Hosea let the people know that their idol worship was in vain. Samaria was the capital of Israel and sometimes was used to reference the entire nation.
Gilgal was where Israel’s political and religious rebellion originated. In addition to the idolatry that had swept through the nation, alliances had been sought and obtained with many neighboring countries, against God’s orders.
These chapters were written at harvest, a time when it was the custom to celebrate. Yet, for several reasons, God ordered the people not to rejoice. First, punishment was on the way. They were giving credit to their idols for the harvest rather than to God, who actually provided it. Because of this, Hosea told them that their crops would fail.
Besides being headed toward captivity to Assyria, the people would no longer be able to worship God in the ways that He had appointed. Their religious activities would not please Him. They had become insensitive spiritually, and thought God’s prophets and followers to be fools or insane (Hosea 9:7).
Verse 8 indicates that God wanted Israel to have fellowship with Him and to act as a watchman to other nations. Instead, they despised Him, did not follow His ways, and became a hindrance to the nations about them.
The reference to Gibeah in Hosea 9:9 was to remind Israel of her depraved condition in an earlier generation (see Judges 19). A man and his concubine had stopped in the city for a night. A gang of men looking for sexual gratification surrounded the place where the two were staying. The husband refused to come out, sending his concubine out to them instead. She was raped and then left dead on the doorstep. In those days, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). In Hosea’s day, Israel had similarly corrupted herself.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The prophet’s message
B. Jehovah’s retribution upon Israel
1. The call to judgment (8:1 — 9:9)
a. For transgression of the covenant (8:1-3)
b. For unapproved kings and idolatry (8:4-7)
c. For ungodly alliances (8:8-10)
d. For forgetting Jehovah (8:11-14)
e. For false security (9:1-9)
2. The cause of judgment
a. False worship (9:10 — 10:2)
(1) The cause: unfaithfulness (9:10)
(2) The result: unfruitfulness (9:11 — 10:2)
If we keep God in his rightful place as King of our lives, we will find He is there when we need Him, day or night.