Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law.
I. The prophet's language may justly be regarded as a distinct promise or prophecy on the part of God. He says, with that infinitude of meaning that all words truly spoken by Him must have: "To Me shall they cry, My God, we know Thee, Israel," or "Israel shall cry, My God, we know Thee." In the very midst of the national sins and disasters of His people, the Lord in His anger yet remembers mercy, and declares that the time shall come when idolatrous Israel shall confess to the knowledge of Him, in deed and in truth.
II. The conversion of Israel, we are taught, is contingent upon the bringing in of the Gentiles. To say, therefore, that Israel shall be restored, is to say that the world shall be converted; that the world shall cry, "My God, we know Thee;" that the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Nor must we judge of this matter from our own position in time; the wheels of His chariot seem to tarry, the Bridegroom is long in coming, but God has eternity to work in. He is not hampered by human circumstances, nor hurried for lack of time. If His purposes are real purposes, they concern the human race as a whole, and their accomplishment is coeval with the consummation of the race.
III. It is a remarkable transition here from the singular to the plural; from the "My God" to the "We know Thee." No scheme of religion would be complete that did not equally recognize the claims of the individual, and those of the multitude; none could be Divine that did not reconcile them. But the religion of the Bible says that "we" is made up of a whole nation, or rather of many nations, and yet every unit is a living entity, and instinct with life; for every individual cries "My God." Many of our practical problems of the present day consist in the difficulty of adjusting these rival claims. They can only be adjusted, they can only be eradicated and reconciled in the kingdom of God, when every unit of the great army that no man can number, can cry in deed, and in truth, "My God," and when they all alike can say, "We know Thee."
S. Leathes, Good Words, 1874, p. 606.
Reference: Hosea 8:2.—J. H. Hitchens, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxvii., p. 59.
Hosea 8:5I. Consider the expression, "Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off." The clever policy by which Jeroboam was to escape a difficulty which he could and ought to have met in faith in the providence of God, not only failed, but ruined his house; and brought down God's heaviest judgments on an unhappy land. Hardly had his son taken his father's place when Baasha rose and hurled him from his throne, and with that thirst for blood, which to this day marks the Oriental spirit, slew every man, woman, and child, belonging to the royal family. And amid the silence that reigned over this scene of ruthless massacre, the voice of Providence was heard, saying, "Thy calf, O Jeroboam, hath cast thee off." What the calf did to the monarch, it did to the people—here called Samaria—"who, following the steps of their king apostatized from God, and turned their backs on His temple. Judgment succeeded judgment. The ten tribes, a broken bleeding band, left the land of Israel to go into banishment—to be lost for ages or for ever; and over the two idols that were left behind without a solitary worshipper at their shrine, God in providence might be heard saying, "Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off."
II. By way of warning and instruction I observe that the sentiments and spirit of my text are illustrated: (1) By the case of those who put riches in the place of God; (2) by those who live for fame—for the favour, not of God, but of men; (3) by those who seek their happiness in the pleasures of sin.
T. Guthrie, Family Treasury, Sept. 1861, p. 129 (see also The Way to Life, p. 20).
References: Hosea 8:7.—Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes: Ecclesiastes to Malachi, p. 312. Hosea 8:12.—Ibid., Sermons, vol. i., No. 15; J. Hiles Hitchens, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvii., p. 133; J. Irons, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 353.
Hosea 8:14I. Consider the statements of the text in their primary reference to Israel and Judah, showing their application in spirit to ourselves. (1) Those whom God originally called to be one, whom He consolidated into a Church, making them His family and people, are now two; they are split and divided into contending factions. (2) Notice the different conduct by which the two parties in the text were distinguished. Israel builds temples. Judah multiplies fenced cities. Israel fell from and corrupted the primitive institutions of Divine worship. Judah put her trust, not in what God had promised to do for her, but in herself. The people had the form of godliness without the power. While they approached God with their lips, their hearts were far from Him; they bowed in His temple, but they trusted in themselves. (3) The conduct of Israel and Judah, though so different, was alike bad; in each case it proceeded from the same sinful source; against both the judgments of God were equally denounced.
II. Notice a few practical lessons from the subject. (1) Religion is the most powerful thing in the world. (2) This power, the strongest in itself over the human mind, is exposed by the heart to the greatest perversion, and that in various and opposite directions. (3) The liability of religion to corruption, and the power and tendency of men to corrupt it, are no presumption against the reality of religion in general, or against the truth of Christianity in particular. (4) While large masses of the professing Church may seem to be characterized by particular and obvious forms of error, we should always remember that many individuals in each mass may not be involved in the surrounding corruption. (5) It is highly important for us to consider what may be the tendency of any Church system with which we are connected, and to examine narrowly into our own spirit or temper.
T. Binney, Sermons in King's Weighhouse Chapel, 2nd series, p. 267.
References: Hosea 10:2.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. v., No. 276; Ibid., My Sermon Notes: Ecclesiastes to Malachi, p. 315; Ibid., p. 318. Hosea 10:12.—Ibid., Sermons, vol. xxi., No. 1261; vol. xxvi., No. 1563; Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 92; E. Blencowe, Plain Sermons to a Country Congregation, 2nd series, p. 281. Hosea 11:1.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxviii., No. 1675. Hosea 11:3.—Ibid., vol. xvii., No. 1021.
Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee.
Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.
They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.
Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency?
For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.
For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.
Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure.
For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers.
Yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them, and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes.
Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin.
I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.
They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it; but the LORD accepteth them not; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt.
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.