O Ephraim, what have I to do anymore with idols? It is I who answer and watch over him. I am like a green cypress tree; your fruit comes from Me.
I. THE EXPERIENCE THAT LEADS TO THIS RESOLUTION.
1. Disappointment in the service of others than the true God. Israel had addicted herself to strange gods, only to learn that all the flattering promises of their priests and ministers were delusive and vain. And whatever deity man has set before himself, as worthy of the homage and service due to God alone, it may be confidently asserted that such a rival has failed to answer prayer, to fulfill hope, to satisfy the heart.
2. Chastisement on the part of Divine Providence. As long as there is a Supreme Ruler, let men be assured he will not suffer his prerogatives to be invaded without inflicting the righteous penalties due to disobedience and defiance. Israel learned by bitter experience that Jehovah would tolerate no rival; and every generation of sinners has been taught the same lesson. "The way of transgressors is hard." Happy they who, through however painful an experience, have, nevertheless, come to see and feel that to have aught to do with idols is to involve themselves in distress and misery!
II. THE RESULTS THAT FLOW FROM THIS RESOLUTION.
1. When the soul abjures the objects of a foolish affection and devotion, Divine forgiveness and favor are waiting to restore and comfort it. The soul that is without idols shall not be left without God.
2. The rivals to the true worship and service shall lose their charms, and the soul shall wonder how it could have been captivated and enthralled.
3. A full and eternal satisfaction shall take possession of the nature which turns away from idols with abhorrence, and turns confidingly and devoutly unto God. What the false deities were powerless to bestow, the living God confers in perfect completeness. "His loving-kindness is better than life." - T.
Ephraim shall say, what have I to do any more with idols.Hosea 4:17. How is this surprising Change to he accounted for?
I. A SINNER IN HIS NATURAL STATE IS JOINED TO IDOLS. Herein consisteth the essence of man's apostasy. Something that is not God is the supreme object of his love, and possesseth that place in his heart which is due only to the living and true God. This world, the things of the world, its riches and pleasures and honours, are the great rivals of God which, ever since the fatal apostasy, have usurped the throne of the human heart. This present world, in one shape or other, is loved and served in preference to God by every man, without exception, who hath no other principle of life than what he derived from the first Adam.
II. TO SEPARATE A SINNER FROM HIS IDOLS MUST BE THE PECULIAR WORK OF GOD HIMSELF. The natural man may change the object of his devotion; but he will only turn from one idol to another. He stops short of God. All the objects of his pursuit belong to the present state of things. The conversion of a sinner is in Scripture represented as the effect of omnipotent creating power. It is called "a new creation," a being "born again," "a resurrection," a "passing from death to life." The apostate creature is really dead, in the truest and most important sense of the word.
III. HOW DOES GOD ACCOMPLISH THIS WORK? By the discovery and application of His pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace. Fear is the immediate consequence of guilt, which soon degenerates into hatred, or that enmity against God which is the distinguishing characteristic of the carnal mind. The report of God's pardoning mercy presents him in a light so suited to the necessities of the apostate creature that, in proportion as it is believed, the sinner is encouraged to look to Him with hope. Then how powerful must the actual experience of such pardoning mercy be.
IV. THESE WORDS OF EPHRAIM WILL BE ADOPTED BY ALL UPON WHOM GOD HATH BEEN PLEASED TO CONFER HIS PARDONING MERCY. By this means alone can the sinner be separated from idols. Learn —
1. How to account for that idolatry which is so prevalent in the world.
2. That nothing can avail for the cure of this idolatry which doth not relieve from the guilt of sin and vanquish the tormenting fear of wrath, by representing God in a light wherein we can behold Him with pleasure. 3 The importance and use of faith in Christ.
1. Self-righteousness. The largest idol of the human heart — the idol which man loves most and God hates most.
2. Darling sins. Every man has his darling sins. Dash down family idols, and secret idols of your own heart.
3. Unlawful attachments. There is not a more fruitful source of sin and misery than this.
4. Ministers. It is right to love them, but beware of making idols of them.
5. Earthly pleasures. This is a smiling, dazzling idol. Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Sometimes it is a gross idol.
6. Money. You must not love money. You must be more open-hearted, more open-handed.
7. Fear of man. Grim idol! Many souls has he devoured. His eyes are full of hatred to Christ's disciples. This keeps some of you from secret prayer, from worshipping God in your family, from going to lay your case before ministers, from openly confessing Christ.
(R. M. M'Cheyne.)
1. The recoil and disgust of Ephraim when he remembers his past idolatries. Idolatry in the Bible is always associated with moral debasement. It is not necessary that the idol should be an image of wood or stone. It may be money, position, a splendid establishment, or aesthetic feeling; it may be senseless parsimony, or drink, or licentiousness. And sooner or later there comes a sense of debasement, a wonder that we could have brought ourselves so low. If we have ever known true repentance, we must have known also that feeling which is of its very essence, — "What have I to do any more with idols" To hate our idol, even though we confess its power over our souls, is at least an advance, the beginning of spiritual life, But by one manly effort to say, — "What have I to do any more with idols?" and to lay our heart's allegiance and love and reverence before Him who deserves it and asks it, this is repentance or change of mind, this is to pass from death unto life.
2. But that is a tremendous revolution. Such a resolve demands the very highest form of moral courage. The spell of our false gods does not withdraw itself all at once: But God is not unaware of the struggle in which you are engaged. And to returning Ephraim His loving response is, "I have heard him and observed him." Our warfare is so feeble because we do not believe that God is witnessing and approving and aiding us. It is well to hear Ephraim recognising his own weakness in the words, "I am like a green fir-tree." "I do not think I am a giant of the forest; I know I am but a slight and delicate sapling." Then comes the response of God, deepening Ephraim's humility and trust, "From Me is thy fruit found." The great spiritual need of our souls is to trust God more perfectly, to lay the full weight of our spiritual being on His promises and His character; not to trust Him a little, and ourselves much, but to say out of the fulness of our hearts, "All my fresh springs are in Thee." Such trust means strength, not weakness. It is manly; it is truthful; it is self-respecting.
(J. A. Jacob, M. D.)
II. GOD'S DISPOSITION TOWARDS SUCH AS CALL UPON HIM IN PENITENTIAL PRAYER.
1. His attentive observation. The words of this passage depict the notice which God takes of those who have any spark of generous indignation against themselves. The ears of the Almighty are open to the very first words which betoken humiliation and penitence.
2. His favourable mind towards them. He regards them with a placable mind, as well as a favourable eye. If there is any one truth to which we should cling with the greatest tenacity it is surely this, the favourable disposition of God towards returning penitents.
3. He is a shadow of protection for those who repair to Him in penitence and faith. "I am a green fir-tree." He will shield and defend them from the fiery darts of Satan, from their own clamorous lusts, and from the depraved examples of the world.
III. FRUIT PROCEEDING PROM THE RELATION INTO WHICH THE TRULY PENITENT ARE BROUGHT WITH GOD.
1. What is to be deemed "fruit." The worth of a tree consists in its bringing forth the fruit which is proper to its nature. The fruit differs according to the kind of the tree. God's people are called "trees of righteousness." They bring forth the fruits of the Spirit.
2. This fruit is produced by the grace of God working in those who are in union with Christ.
3. This fruit is found in all who are truly turned to God, truly converted to God. Faith is lifeless and dead if it produce no fruit. There must be. life and reality in our religion if we would glorify our Father who is in heaven.
(H. J. Hastings, M. A.)
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
1. That which concerns his Maker.
2. That which concerns his neighbour.With the former of these only are we now engaged. In casting away the idols of his heart and life, the Christian, like Ephraim, serves, loves, and acknowledges no other but God. The first thing in the character of the child of God is holy fear. The next is obedience. How many idols are overthrown by obedience! Then comes gratitude, which makes a man seek all occasions of showing love and honour to his benefactor. Then trust. This is ever a peculiar mark of the Christian's temper towards God. This trust keeps the Christian watching, striving, praying, and expecting. Then comes supreme desire for the glory of God, which over throws the great idol of selfishness. This temper is very necessary to prevent many deceptions of the heart. It is of all things most difficult to keep the motives pure; and without pure motives how barren and contemptible 'is our abstinence from evil and our practice of good. Purity is the temper of right motives. Purity of heart is the most eminent and distinguished temper in the circuit of the Christian graces. This temper brings with it the love of God. Love is the spring that moves all the wheels. It is that delight in God which makes us choose Him above all things. There is one more characteristic of the child of God — a constant endeavour to draw nigh to Him. For this cause the Christian loves and values the ordinances of religion. He prizes them as gracious means whereby he is brought into that nearer fellowship with God after which he is aspiring. Humility forms the crowning feature in the Christian's temper towards God. It is the seeing our own proper position before God.
(W. Harrison, M. A.)
I. THE RENUNCIATION. Here is —
1. The language of confession. The strong aversion he expresses is a virtual admission of his precious attachment. The state of Ephraim in his degeneracy is a correct picture of the entire family of man in their irreligious condition.
2. The language of detestation. The predominating sin of Israel was the worship of idols. With us the sin which has been most prevalent lies the heaviest on the conscience, and becomes the object of the most unqualified indignation.
3. Ephraim resolved on the abandonment of his idols. There is a noble promptitude in this pious determination.
II. THE RECEPTION.
1. The Divine attention. "I have heard him."
2. The Divine observation. "I have observed him:"
3. The Divine protection. "I am like a green fir-tree," which affords grateful shade and security to the traveller. It conveys the ideas of repose, refreshment, safety.
4. Fruitfulness is provided for. This extends the previous image. Reference probably is to the fruit which the penitent bears after conversion to God. This subject is a check to despondency. No true penitent has cause for despair.
(Anon.)1. What men pursue, before conversion, are idols, i.e. things which give trouble.
2. When the grace of the Gospel is received into the heart it divorces the sinner from his sins.
3. The language of a penitent renouncing his sins is most pleasing to God.
4. Converts shall find that happiness in Christ Which idols offered, but gave not.
5. Whatever good we do and enjoy is in and from Jesus Christ.
6. True wisdom is to know and understand God's Word, in its threatenings and in its promises.
(Joseph Parker, D. D.)
I. THE EVIDENCE OF A TRUE REPENT ANCE. Entire renunciation of idolatry. The repentant sinner is led to confess the folly and sin of his empty pursuits (Romans 6:21). Sinful pleasures (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). False confidences: e.g., self-righteousness. Unconditional mercy, etc. And to determine to renounce them. This gracious melting: of heart is the Lord's doing. Jesus is exalted to give repentance (Acts 5:31):It is produced here as the blessed fruit of sanctified afflictions. Illus. — Manasseh. Prodigal.
II. THE NOTICE WHICH GOD TAKES OF A REPENTANT SINNER. "He listens to his meanings." (Job 33:27). He watches for his return. His eye is upon the repentant sinner when least he thinks so. He observes him.
III. THE GRACIOUS ENCOURAGEMENT WHICH GOD GIVES TO HIM.
1. A promise of security. Shadow from the heat. Shelter from the storm.
2. An assurance of supply. Fruits of comfort derived from God. Fruits of grace produced by God's help.
(John D. Lowe, M. A.)
I. A CONFESSION OF GUILT. "Any more" implies that in the past he had been concerned with idols.
II. A DETERMINATION TO RENOUNCE SINS. Implied in the language taken form as an interrogation.
III. THE DETERMINATION IS A HUMBLE ONE, FORMED IN RELIANCE ON GOD'S HEAVENLY GRACE. Reasons for renunciation of sin are —
1. Penitent sees something of the real nature and evil of it.
2. Penitent has had experience of the vanity and unprofitableness of all sinful pleasures and pursuits.
3. Penitent has already experienced some, and expects more of, solid and permanent happiness.
4. A principle of love and gratitude to God in the penitent's heart cannot but operate to make him abhor and renounce all iniquity.
5. Every true penitent has the strongest reason to express and maintain the most determined disavowal of all iniquity, in consequence of having surrendered himself to God, and in solemn covenant devoted himself to His service. And this is true religion. This is genuine repentance. All that comes short of this is but vanity and deception.
(S. Knight, M. A.)
1. False doctrine, which is the foundation of idolatry.
2. Idols themselves.
3. Idolatry, which they tend to.
4. Idolaters. Idolatry frameth base conceits of God.Consider the opposition between any representation of God, and God. Because God is a jealous God, He will not give His glory to another. Unconverted persons are prone to idolatry; to set up their own wits and wills, instead of God's. Some commit this great sin of idolatry by trusting to the outward performances and tasks of religion. Consider God's hatred unto all sorts of idolaters; for He accounts such to hate Him, and so accordingly punishes them.
( Sibbes, Richard, D. D.)
(Moses Margoliouth, B. A.).
LinksHosea 14:8 NIV
Hosea 14:8 NLT
Hosea 14:8 ESV
Hosea 14:8 NASB
Hosea 14:8 KJV
Hosea 14:8 Bible Apps
Hosea 14:8 Parallel
Hosea 14:8 Biblia Paralela
Hosea 14:8 Chinese Bible
Hosea 14:8 French Bible
Hosea 14:8 German Bible
Hosea 14:8 Commentaries