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Recompense for Sin
Gen. James Green, Dec. 19, 2011
"The days of visitation are come, the days of recompense are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred. The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God. They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.”
“I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first ripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved. As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception. Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, that there shall not be a man left: yea, woe also to them when I depart from them! Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer”.
“Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters. Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb. My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations” (Hosea 9:7-17, KJV).
Hosea was a prophet to both the northern and southern kingdoms, in that he addressed both in his prophecy. However his strongest words were toward Israel, the north kingdom. His ministry began sometime during the reigns of Uzziah, king of Judah, and Jeroboam II, King of Israel.
“The days of reckoning have come, the days of recompense have come, Israel shall know it. The prophet is a fool, mad is the men of the Spirit, because of the enormity of your iniquity and the intense hatred” (Literal rendition).
“The days of punishment have come, the days of recompense have come; Israel cries, ‘The prophet is a fool, the man of the spirit is mad’. Because of your great iniquity, your hostility is great” (New Revised Standard Version).
There are too many Christians, both Churchgoers and preachers / teachers, that see no need to study, let alone preach, from the minor prophets. T. E. McComesky, editor of “The Minor Prophets” (Exegetical and Expository Commentary, 1991), stated, “It is not difficult to understand why (the minor prophets has not enjoyed great prominence in the history of Biblical interpretation) this is so. Where is the edification for a modern Christian in a dirge celebrating the downfall of an ancient city? How can the gloomy forecasts of captivity for Israel and Judah lift the heart today? The Minor Prophets seem to have been preoccupied with nations and events that have little relevance to today’s world. How unlike the N.T. they are!” But he does not agree with what he wrote, he tells us, “a careful study of these prophets, however, reveals that many of the themes they expound transit the Testaments…they speak of the love of God as well as His justice. Their prophecies are not all doom, but are often rich with hope.” I totally agree.
Ever since I became a Christian, Dec. 6, 1971, I have not only read the Minor Prophets, but also taught out of them. Even though their culture and times were different, I find their messages relevant for our times. They dealt with sins of fallen mankind as we do today. I have found that MOST professing believers dislike God's judgments because of their own sins they either hide or will not give up.
As stated in other messages I’ve written, within the dark and dismal events these prophets describe and deal with lurks the hand of the Almighty God—who MUST judge SIN! Those old-time messages are not, as McComesky says, time-bound as we may think.
I personally believe the WHOLE Bible, from Genesis to Revelation has relevance for us today. Friends, we NEED to HEED the ENTIRE Word of God, this sin-sick world sorely needs it.
Hosea was such a prophet. He told his countrymen of his day that “The days of reckoning have come, the days of recompense have come.” The Hebrew, “have come” is in the perfect tense denoting completed action. It describes the action of the verb as certain in the mind of the writer while still future in actuality. Likewise, God has told us and is telling us that the days of His judgments upon this world HAVE COME.
The literal rendition of “reckoning” best reflects the mental apprehension in the word along with its implications of punishment. Also “recompense” is common to both contexts, for vengeance is “recompense” of a wrong.
What Hosea is telling his countrymen (and us too), is that Israel will come into the sphere of the days of recompense and thus experience judgment.
“The prophet is a fool, the man of the Spirit is mad” (vs. 7). This reception by the people shows the sheer hatred of the truth! We have met with this verbal abuse (only worse!) over the years. They call us “hate messengers”, “insane babblers” etc. But this was, and is, very common coming from the “religious sinners”, (see also 2 Kgs. 9:11; Jer. 29:26). Did not the “Religious” call Jesus one who had a devil? Jesus spoke about the persecution of the prophets in Matt.5:12. He said a prophet would not receive honor in his own house or country, (Matt. 13:57).
It mattered not what names the sinful called the prophets, there was NO ESCAPING God's judgments…unless repentance was forthcoming. The verdict of human experience, individual and social, testified over and over to that. God has destroyed, and will continue to DESTROY individuals as well as nations for sinfulness.
WAKE UP AMERICANS! The moral deterioration of the individual, both “religious” and pagan, the chaos, fear, confusion, disease, insecurity of any society, its bleeding wounds, its numerous ills that ascend up to heaven, the hard-heartedness and sheer rebellion that plagues nations—are they not the inevitable result of a wrong course of thought and action displeasing to God our Creator? Is not all this the result of man’s will at variance with His will and purpose?
You see, God's punishments are really His love. They are not vindictive as men’s are. There is never any spite or revenge, but pure necessity. Let us take note of the principle spoken in Eccl. 10:8, “Whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.” We cannot go on breaking God's laws, ethics, standards etc. etc. without getting bit!!
As is usually the case, this negative attitude towards the messengers of truth was the enormity of the people’s sin. The prophets exposed iniquity and proclaimed retribution for it—that was love!
You see, back then as well as today, a false prophet told the people good things, sweet things—but LIES! But the true prophets will not cater to the favor of the people...for money or praise. Verse 8 calls them watchmen, for the prophets did watch over God's people for the good, not evil. Yet then, as well as now, for most part, the prophets were unable to convict the nation of its sin and stay its ruin. The unrepentant people stopped the prophet’s work.
The people’s sins were likened unto the corruption of Gibeah (see Judges 19), rape, murder, and dismemberment of the concubine in this horrible account, read Judges 19:30 RVS. Hosea likened that crime and murderous act as an appropriate analogy for the depth of the corruption of his people…so it is today!
Friends, if you or I have to deal in God's business, and we do, we must deal with FACTS and REALITIES, not fairy tales and lies. Sadly, such people who occupy the chief places and positions in our government and religious establishments, and also the family (what is left of it!), dictate its policies—economic, political, religious, scientific, and international—and what a HELL of a MESS!! The tragic failure of our “Politically Correct” policies is literally destroying any chance of national repentance, therefore this nation will suffer unprecedented insecurity, fear, chaos and sufferings of many kinds. After all, who wants to hear the TRUTH? We would rather have our folly and naive faith in humanistic men.
The spirit that covers America, and most of the world, is a faithless and wayward spirit. The seers of this so-called “Christian” nation take her into abstract speculation, and are not ethically relevant. Even Jesus pronounced judgment upon Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum (see Matt. 11:21-24). He also was out of step with the priests, both big and small, false prophets, and other religious leaders. He saw their darkened minds and rebuked them for it. So the war between good and evil, truth and falsehood goes on and on.
The wrath of God upon God's people (and the pagans) is no new thing. It DID NOT END with the N.T.— “love and grace” as they explain it. You are deceived, the N.T. talks a lot about God's displeasure with sin and sinners. (Here are a few scriptures, Rom. 2:5; 1 Thes. 1:10; 2 Thes. 1:8, 9; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6; there are lots more if you dare to read them, such as the ones on HELL, DEATH, ENEMIES).
God's wrath is the character of the old age and the condition of those who find themselves in it, I mean the unsaved, outside of Christ. But still we find wrath revealed against those who are of His household who commit sin and rebel against Him. This “love and grace” teaching has practically sealed this generation in damnation.
When we reach Hosea 9:15, we read, “All their evil is in Gilgal, for there I began to hate them.” Israel’s captivity is a recompense for her syncretistic religion. Gilgal was a cult-site in Hosea’s time. Gilgal was also the site where the monarchy began. The prophet, in fact, delivered strong rebukes against kings and princes of his day (see 5:1, 10; he saw them as unwise in 7:5; in 13:10-11 he denounces them).
The altar at Gilgal is where sacrifices were carried out. Gilgal is where Baal worship had been practiced (4:15; 12:11), and it was the place where king Saul traditionally had been publicly acclaimed king of Israel, see 1 Samuel 11:15; Hosea 7:3-4; 8:4.
So, the prophet sees Gilgal as a sinful place where worshiping other gods and trusting in earthly kings and princes took place.
I need not explain the rest of this chapter, read it yourself. The N.T. parallels this judgment upon idolatry….Jesus denounced it, the writers denounced it, and the early Church fathers denounced it. Yet in our generation the Church has many gods and goddesses. She has many “religious creeds” but few “righteous deeds”!
In those days, expulsion from covenant privilege involved more than losing the land, it included losing God's love. How many in this hour are separated from God's very presence because of idolatry? How many have been cast out, cast away from God, by God, and they are just too DUMB to know it?
It would do you readers good to examine your hearts in the light of His Word—are you Biblically saved, or are you eternally damned and don’t know it…or do you even care?!!!
[Study material has been adapted from its original sources.]