Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king; for judgment is toward you, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.
Hosea 5:13; Hosea 6:2
So Ephraim and Judah went to the wrong person, and did not gain much by their application. The same fatal error is being perpetrated by multitudes amongst us still. The error is as ancient as Cain, and as modern as today.
I. It is pretty plain that Israel could not choose to be independent. They had not the forces at their control to enable them to defy all comers. Either the nation must lean on its God, or else it must lean on some arm of flesh, and king Jareb seemed as eligible a helper as anyone else. And neither can we be independent. Our nature is so constituted, and our conditions of existence are so ordered, that we must needs look beyond ourselves for solace and support amidst the strange and trying vicissitudes of life.
II. It would have been no true kindness on God's part if He had granted the Israelites prosperity when they were apostate from Him. This must have led them to feel the more satisfied with their apostasy, and the less disposed to repent. And it is no less His love to us that makes Him deal with us in a similar manner. He has to thwart us just that He may show us how little king Jareb can do for us.
III. When we draw near to God, we find a good Physician binding up our wounds. Listen to these wondrous words, and see foreshadowed in them all the glories of the Resurrection. "After two days will He revive us... and we shall live in His sight." The life hitherto cut off from us can once again flow into us; after two days in the sepulchre—two days of self-despair and sitting in darkness and the shadow of death—He revives us, and we begin to live in His sight.
W. Hay Aitken, Mission Pulpit, No. 77.
Hosea 5:15I. We often feel as if God were gone away from us. May it not be that there is just that difference—just that distinct boundary-line between absence and presence, "till they shall acknowledge their sin."
II. Consider how confession is to be made. (1) Confess to God. Let it be done with the deepest and most careful humiliation. (2) Let your confession to God particularize. Mention all the little things. Make them stand out in bold relief. It is the sum of confession. (3) When you confess sin, always do it as one who is accepting punishment. (4) At the same moment realize and do not doubt that you are laying your sin upon the true altar, the Lord Jesus Christ. (5) Try to embody that confession, and give it all the force and substance you can, by some holy act, some self-denying labour of love, some gift to God, some special act of devotion.
III. True confession to God will always be accompanied with, and will always produce, the wish to make some confession to man. To confess to man is generally a far harder thing than to confess to God—partly because it brings more immediate shame and loss, and partly because men are so much severer in their judgments than God. But, to a certain extent, it must be done. The confession to God will bring with it a grace which will enable us, and make it afterwards easier, to go and confess to man.
J. Vaughan, Sermons, 6th series, p. 14.
References: Hosea 5:15.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxv., No. 1483; Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 208; J. Keble, Sermons for Sundays after Trinity, Part II., p. 289. Hosea 5.—Christian World Pulpit, vol. v., p. 222.
And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuker of them all.
I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled.
They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD.
And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them.
They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them.
They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions.
Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin.
Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be.
The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.
Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment.
Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness.
When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.
For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.
I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.