As it was with Israel in Hosea 13:9-12, we are no different! “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thine help. I will be thy King: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? And thy judges of whom thou saidist, Give me a King and Princes (Samuel 8)? I give thee a king in Mine anger, and took him away in My wrath (I Kings 11:1-43). The iniquity (perverted thinking) of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid,” but not from the God of covenant who not only said “I will be your God” but also “I will be thy king”. (Hosea 13:10).
Continuing in Hosea 13:12-13, the Lord describes their consequences. “The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son (where perverted thinking rules); for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children.” The prophet Micah adds to this example of the pain and labor of a woman in travail in Micah 4:9-11. “Now why dost thou cry out aloud? Is there no king in thee? Is thy counselor perished? For pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies. Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.”
Continuing again in Hosea 13:14-16, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death.” God allows Satan to test our faith with many painful experiences, forcing a choice from us. Will we return in repentance to our faith in the only true God who is faithful in keeping His Word to meet our every need? Or, will we continue to follow after the gods of this world? This sounds a lot like the example of Job, in that God allowed Satan to test Job with much pain and sorrow, but not to take his life. Job maintained his faith. “In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 1-2). Even if God had taken his life, Job’s faith never wavered as he states in Job 19: 25-27, “For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand in the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins (3629-The kidney as an essential organ, the inner man, the soul and spirit) be consumed within me.” Job’s hope and faith was in a resurrection by his redeemer.
The ransom is paid to redeem us from death. But without repentance, a change of heart, to put our misplaced faith back in our redeemer; “O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. Though he (we) be fruitful among his (our) brethren, and east wind shall come, the wind of the Lord shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of pleasant vessels. Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.”
God is pleading with those of us who, in vain, call ourselves Christians, or God’s children, who have “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (I Timothy 3:5). “Wherefore the Lord said (Isaiah 29:13), Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precepts of men” to make excuses in their imagination, justifying their worship of many gods. Which at some point the true God becomes to them as an unknown god, just as the Apostle Paul observed at Athens (Acts 17:22-31), ”Him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is the Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands… Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this (our) ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men to repent. Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him (Jesus the Christ) from the dead.”
Hosea finishes his message from God with the same message that God gives to all who rebel against His commands in Exodus 20:3-4, “Thou shalt have no other gods (not even one god!) before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness (in your imagination) of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.“ And Exodus 20:23, “Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.”
Many today insist we don’t worship graven images so we are not guilty! But the root word in “imagination” is “image,” which are the gods conceived in our mind. Gold or silver have become probably the greatest of all false gods, for they appear to have the greatest power to give power to all other false gods. Jesus states in Matthew 6:24, “Ye cannot serve God and (money)… No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one (God) and love the other (money); or else he will hold to the one (our God and savior), and despise the other (the gods of this world). For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (I Timothy 6:10). Continuing in Exodus 20:5-7, “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity (the evil thinking) of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me.” The world only gets worse and worse with the knowledge of evil conceived in the imaginations of men that hate God.
“And (God) shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me (with all their heart, soul, and mind, and all thy strength, Mark 12:30.), and keep My commandments, that thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,” when in reality we hate God when we chose to love the gods of this world! “For the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes (upon himself) His name in vain.” This is not just words for the children of Israel, but to all of God’s creation; Adam and Eve, and all of their seed who claim to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind; but do so in vain.
Hosea finishes in Hosea 14:1-9, “O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity (bent, warped, and perverted thinking as a result of the knowledge of evil that was brought into the world by one man, Adam). Take with you words (of repentance), and turn to the Lord: say unto Him, Take away all iniquity (my perverted thinking), and receive us graciously: so we will render the calves (6499-strong young rambunctious and rebellious bulls) of our lips.” Repent of being our own god, a hypocrite worshipping God with our lips, “but in vain they do worship me, teaching for the doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9).
“Asshur (Assyria) shall not save us (after God warned them not to make a confederacy with Assyria in Isaiah chapter eight, they did anyway.); we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods (yes, even our hands can become our gods!): for in Thee the fatherless findeth mercy.” Yes, our father’s iniquity, their perverted thinking brought us to where we are, but our hope is in our turning, for only in God do the fatherless find mercy.
Remember, God’s promise has always been to heal with grace and mercy to all who repent. “I will heal their backsliding. I will love them freely: for Mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under His shadow shall return; they shall receive as the corn and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols, (the many gods we lust after)? I have heard Him. And observed Him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found (the fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5:22-26). Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? Prudent, and he shall know them? For the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them; but the transgressors shall fall therein.” It is always our choice to live or die.
History never changes. God gives man good reasons to believe Him, trust Him, and love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind, to walk in obedience to His every word. But, we always seem to listen first to the lies of Satan for the gratification of the Law of the flesh (as found in I John 2:16), sliding ever deeper into bondage to the knowledge of evil. This is where the children of Israel found themselves, when Jeremiah towards the end of the kingdom of Judah predicted their demise, revealing for the first time the promise of a New Covenant.
Their demise is described in Jeremiah 15:6, “Thou hast forsaken Me, saith the Lord, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out My hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary of repenting.” How is God weary of repenting? He is weary of changing His course of action according to our waffling from saying we will trust Him, but returning again and again to trust in the gods of this world. He has no pleasure at all in that the wicked should die (Ezekiel 18:23). And it grieved Him at His heart that He had to destroy man whom He had created (Genesis 6:6-7).
In Jeremiah 16:11, “Because your fathers have forsaken Me… and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken Me, and have not kept my law; (you are not accountable for their sins,) but ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto Me: Therefore I cast you out of this land unto a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night (whether we like it or not, slaves to the world!); where I will not shew you favor,” of which we all tend to take for granted.
Remember we always have a free choice, but the consequences for our choices are already fixed by God!