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Hosea 2:6-7. Ways Hedged Up
Therefore, behold, I
will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that
she shall not find her paths. (7) And she shall follow
after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and
she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall
she say I will go and return to my first husband; for
then was it better with me than now.— Hosea 2:6-7
HIS is a parenthesis
of mercy in a passage of threatening. It relates to a
people to whom the Lord was united by bonds of covenant
love, who had, nevertheless, been faithless and
rebellious. Strangely enough, it begins with a
"therefore"; and the logic of it lies in the immutable
resolve of the unchanging God never to renounce his
covenant, nor utterly to cast away his chosen; as, also,
in his unchangeable determination to win them to
The words might still be spoken in reference to the
chosen but sinning people of God.
Let us note carefully:
I. THE STUBBORN CHARACTER OF MANY SINNERS.
This appears in their case, as in that of Israel, in
1. Ordinary means have missed their aim.
The details are given
in previous verses; and then we read "therefore":
showing that because of former failures the Lord is
about to try further measures.
2. Extraordinary means are now to be used, and
attention is called to their speciality by the word
God's wonderful ways
of grace prove the wonderful obstinacy of sinners.
3. Even these means are to fail.
strange ways, like making hedges and walls; and yet for
a while the sinner defeats the gracious design. "She
shall follow after her lovers,' etc. Men will leap
hedges, and scale walls, to get at their darling sins.
4. Only divine power can overcome the hardened one.
God saith, "I will",
and adds "she shall not", and "she shall"; proving that
the omnipotence of love had now entered the lists, and
intended to conquer the rebellious and obstinate
transgressor. God himself must personally interpose, or
none will turn to him.
What sinners those must be whom neither hedge nor wall
will stop unless God be there also in omnipotence of
II. THE MEANS WHICH GOD USES TO RECLAIM THEM.
These, when used by God himself, become effectual,
though they would have accomplished nothing of
1. Sharp afflictions: "I will hedge up thy way
Many are checked, and
made to think by being made to smart. Travelers tell us
of the "wait-a-bit thorn," which puzzles the most
cautious walker. When in full pursuit of evil, the Lord
can bring the sinner to a pause.
2. Insurmountable difficulties: "and make a
The lord of love
places effectual stoppages in the road of those whom he
means to save: if men break down hedges, his persevering
love builds walls, so that they may find it hard to
persevere in sin.
3. Blinding perplexities: "she shall not find her
He can make the ways
of sinful pleasure to be difficult and bewildering, till
even the broad road seems to be barricaded.
4. Utter failures: "she shall follow after, but
We know persons with
whom nothing is going right; even the utmost diligence
in their case fails to secure prosperity: and all
because their ways are not pleasing to God, and he means
to bring them out of them. Such men hunt after sinful
success, but it flees from them.
5. Bitter disappointments: "she shall seek them,
but shall not find them."
Pleasure shall be no
longer found by them even in those amusements where once
it danced around them.
These severe chastenings are frequently made useful in
the early days of religious impression: they are the
ploughing before the sowing.
III. THE BLESSED RESULT WHICH IS AT LAST ATTAINED.
The wandering, wanton
spirit is led to return to her God.
1. Remembrance aroused: "it was better with me."
2. Confession of
sad loss extorted: "then was it better with me than
now." She thinks upon happier times, now that her days
are clouded over.
3. Resolution formed: "I will go and return."
4. Affection stirred: "I will return to my first
She owns the bands of love; she sorrows that she has
strained them so terribly.
When the matter has come so far, the sad breach is
healed, the work of reclaiming love is done.
Let us turn to the
Lord before he uses thorns to stop us.
If already hedged up, let us consider our ways.
In any case, let us by faith turn to Jesus, and rest in
"I will hedge up thy
way." — There is a twofold hedge that God makes about
his people. There is the hedge of protection, to keep
evil from them; and the hedge of affliction, to keep
them from evil. The hedge of protection you have in
Isaiah 5:5, where God threatens that he "will take away
the hedge" from his vineyard; and it is said of Job,
that God had"hedged him about." But the hedge here meant
is the hedge of affliction. "I will hedge up thy way;'
that is, I will bring sore and heavy afflictions upon
you to keep you from evil.
When a husbandman sees passengers make a path in his
ground where they ought not, and so spoil the grass or
the corn, he lays thorns in the way that they cannot go
into his corn; or if they do, they shall go with some
pain and trouble: "so," saith God,"I will hedge up thy
way with thorns." — Jeremiah Burroughs
Consider the good effects of a wounded conscience,
privative for the present, and positive for the future.
First, privative; this heaviness of thy heart (for the
time being) is a bridle to thy soul, keeping it from
many sins it would otherwise commit. Thou that now
sittest sad in thy shop, or standest sighing in thy
chamber, mightest perchance at this time be drunk, or
wanton, or worse, if not restrained by this affliction.
God saith to Judah, "I will hedge up thy way with
thorns;' namely, to keep Judah from committing spiritual
fornication. A wounded conscience is a hedge of thorns;
but this thorny fence keeps our wild spirits in the true
way, which otherwise would be straggling; and it is
better to be held in the right road with briars and
brambles than to wander on beds of roses in a wrong path
which leads to destruction. — Thomas Fuller
A popular and successful young minister in America
became entangled in the meshes of infidelity, left the
pulpit, joined an infidel club, and derided the name he
had preached to others as the Savior of the world. But
he sickened, and came to his death-bed. His friends
gathered round him, and tried to comfort him with their
cold and icy theories, but in vain. The old thought came
back to him — the old experience came before him. He
said, "Wife, bring me my Greek Testament." Upon his bed
he turned to the fifteenth chapter of the First Epistle
to the Corinthians. When he had finished the chapter,
great tears of joy rolled down his cheeks. He closed the
Book, and said, "Wife, back again at last upon the old
rock to die."
Hosea 2:14. Strange Ways of Love
Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
anal bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. — Hosea
IN the former part of the chapter we
find words of accusation and threatening most justly uttered towards a
guilty nation. In this second portion we come to a passage of unmixed grace.
The person dealt with is the same, but she is dealt with under another
dispensation, even that covenant of grace of which we find an abstract in
God, intending to deal with his sinful people in love, speaks words which
are of the most extraordinary tenor.
I. HERE IS, FOR HIS DEEDS OF LOVE, A REASON BEYOND ALL REASON.
The text begins with "therefore." God always has a reason.
The context describes the grossest sin, and how should God find a reason
1. God finds a reason for grace where there is none. Why else did he bless
Israel, or any one of us?
2. God makes a reason which overrides
all other reasons. Because his people will persist in being so evil, he will
display more love till he wins them from their wanderings.
3. God creates a reason for out of
reasons against. "She forgat me, saith the Lord. Therefore I will allure
her" (see all preceding verses). The great sin which is in itself a reason
for judgment is by divine grace turned into an argument for mercy.
4. God justifies his own reasoning
with men by a reason. According to the margin, "I will speak to her heart,"
is the promise of the text, and the Lord gives a "therefore" for it. He has
a gracious reason for reasoning with us in love.
The sovereign grace of God had chosen his people, and his immutable love
resolves to win this people to itself, therefore it sets about the work.
II. HERE IS A METHOD OF POWER BEYOND ALL POWER.
"I will allure her."
1. Allurement of love surpasses in power all other forces.
It appears that other methods had been
used, such as:
Affliction with its thorny hedge (verse
Instruction with all its practical application (verse 8).
Deprivation even of necessaries (verse 9).
Exposure of sin beyond all denial (verse 10).
Sorrow upon sorrow (verses 11 and 12).
The sweet allurement of tenderness
would succeed where these failed.
2. Allurement of love overcomes the will to resist.
Assaulted we defend, allured we yield.
3. Allurement of grace has many
The person, work, offices, and love of
Jesus lead men captive.
The freeness and abundance of divine pardon vanquish opposition.
The grace and truth of the covenant defy resistance.
The adoption and inheritance so graciously bestowed subdue the heart by
overwhelming force of gratitude.
The sense of present peace, and the prospect of future glory, allure us
beyond all things.
III. HERE IS A CONDITION OF COMPANY
BEYOND ALL COMPANY.
1. She is made to be alone. Free from tempting, distracting, or
assisting company. All her lovers far from her. Her hope in them is gone.
2. Alone with God. He becomes
her trust, desire, aim, love.
3. Alone as in the wilderness.
Illustrate by Israel, who, in the wilderness, knew the Lord as Deliverer,
Guide, Guard, Light, Manna, Physician, Champion, central Glory, and King.
4. Alone for the same purpose as
Israel, for training, growth, illumination, and preparation for the
promised rest: above all that the' might be the Lord's own separated ones.
IV. HERE IS A VOICE OF COMFORT BEYOND ALL COMFORT.
"And speak comfortably to her."
1. Real comfort is given to souls alone with God. The divine speech is
applied to the heart, and so its comfort is understood and appropriated, and
effectually touches the affections.
2. Abundant comfort is bestowed, received, and acknowledged,—
By renewed gratitude: "she shall sing
there as in the days of her youth" (verse 15).
By a more confiding spirit: "thou shalt call me Ishi," etc. (verses 16 and
By an established peace (verse 18).
By a clearer revelation of eternal love (verses 19 and 20).
By a surer sense of the eternal future and its marriage-union of endless
bliss; for betrothal prophesies marriage.
Now let all this be known and felt,
and we are sure the heart is won: there can be no revolting after this.
Let the prayer of each one of us be, —
O heavenly love, my
I would be led in triumph too;
Allured to live for God alone,
And bow submissive at his throne
When God's free grace has pitched upon
its object, it often solicits that soul in its own peculiar way: I mean that
grace woos and wins by its own graciousness, it conquers not by arms but by
allurement. Have you not seen a mother allure her child to run into her
bosom with the promise of a kiss? Have you never heard the little birds
alluring their mates with rapturous song? Know you not the way of love by
which it wins its victories? If so, you also understand why the beloved one
is to be spoken with in the wilderness. Love is shy, and shuns the crowd:
solitude is her element. When a soul is made to be alone with God, it shall
hear many things which for the present could not be spoken to it. Speaking
to the heart is reserved for retirement; it were not meet to display the
secrets of divine communion to a mingled concourse. Understand, therefore, O
lonely one, why thou art made to be one by thyself; and now surrender thy
heart to the sacred allurements of sovereign grace! — C. H. S.
Some years ago an affecting incident was reported in reference to the
ex-Empress Charlotte, an Austrian princess, whose husband was for a short
time Emperor of Mexico. In the year 1867 he was shot by the revolutionists,
and his unhappy widow became the victim of melancholy madness, which her
physicians gave up all hope of curing. As in similar cases, she returned to
the tastes and habits of childhood, one of which was a passion for flowers,
and she spent most of her time over them. Their attractiveness for her was
touchingly manifested on the occasion in question, when, having eluded the
watch of her attendants, she had fled from the castle. When overtaken it was
found impossible to induce her to return, except by the use of means which
would certainly have proved hurtful. One of her physicians happily bethought
himself of her intense affection for flowers; and by showing them from time
to time before her, she was gradually lured on her way back to her home. May
not this story be taken as an illustration of the way in which God allures
wandering souls back to himself by the invitations and promises of the
Hosea 2:23. A People Who were no People
I will have mercy upon her that had not
obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my
people; and they shall say, Thou art my God. — Hosea 2:23
As he saith also in O see, I will call
them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved which was not
beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto
them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the
living God. — Romans 9:25-26
WE accept the supreme authority of
Holy Scripture: every word of it is truth to us.
Yet we attach special weight to words which are the personal utterance of
the Lord God; as in this case, where God himself is the Speaker, in the
Still more are we impressed when a divine message is repeated; as in this
instance, where Paul writes,— "As he saith also in O see."
God "saith" still what he said long ago.
Come then, anxious souls, and hear the story of God's grace to his chosen,
in the hope that he may do the like for you.
Observe with attention, concerning the Lord's people:
I. THEIR ORIGINAL STATE: "not obtained mercy — not my people."
1. They not only were not "beloved," but they were expressly disowned. It
was said unto them, ye are not my people." Their claim, if they made any,
This is the worst case that can be: worse
than to be left alone.
This, conscience, providence, and the Word of God all appear to say to men
who persist in sin.
2. They had no approval of God.
They were not numbered with his people.
They were not "beloved? in the sense of the love of complacency.
3.They had not in the highest sense
For they were under providential
That judgment had not become a blessing to them.
They had not even sought for mercy.
4. They were the types of a people who
Have felt no application of the blood of
Have known no renewing work of the Spirit;
Have obtained no relief by prayer; perhaps have not prayed;
Have enjoyed no comfort of the promises;
Have known no communion with God;
And possess no hope of heaven, or preparation for it.
It is a terrible description,
including all the unsaved.
It is concerning certain of such that the unconditional promise is made in
the text: "I will call them my people." Who these are shall be seen in due
time by their repentance and faith, which shall be wrought in them by the
Spirit of God. There are such people, and this fact is our encouragement in
preaching the gospel, for we perceive that our labor frill not be in vain.
II. THEIR NEW CONDITION: "Thou art my people."
1. Mercy is promised: "I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained
mercy." This is absolutely free.
2. A divine revelation is pronounced: "I will say, Thou art my people."
This is done by the Spirit of God in the
This is supported by gracious dealings in the life.
3. A hearty response shall be given:
"they shall say, Thou art my God." The Holy Ghost will lead them to this
As a whole, they will say this with one
Each individual will say it for himself in the singular, "Thou."
4. A declaration of love shall be
made: "I will call her beloved, which was not beloved" (Rom. 9:25). Love
shall be enjoyed.
5. This shall be perceived by others: "There shall they be called the
children of the living God."
Their likeness to God shall make them to be called the children of God, even
as the peacemakers in Matthew 5:9. Thus every blessing shall be theirs
surely, personally, everlastingly. Reflections arising from all this:
We must give up none as hopeless; even
though they be marked out by terrible evidence to be not the people of God.
None may give up themselves in despair.
Sovereign grace is the ultimate hope of the fallen.
Let them trust in a God so freely gracious, so omnipotent to save, so
determined to bring in those whom it seemed that even he, himself, had
disowned, whom everybody had abandoned as not the people of God.
"Have you ever heard the gospel
before?" asked an Englishman, at Ningpo, of a respectable Chinaman, whom he
had not seen in his mission-room before.
"No," he replied, "but I have seen it. I know a man who used to be the
terror of his neighborhood. If you gave him a hard word, he would shout at
you, and curse you for two days and nights without ceasing. He was as
dangerous as a wild beast, and a bad opium-smoker; but when the religion of
Jesus took hold of him, he became wholly changed. He is gentle, moral, not
soon angry, and has left off opium. Truly, the teaching is good!" — Word and
It will give a kind of exaltation to the saint's happiness to look down upon
that moral depth from which he was taken. A man on the edge of a precipice,
at night, cannot clearly see it; but when the morning dawns, he will be able
to see the danger he has been in. So the saint cannot, while on earth,
conceive the depth of sin from which he has been raised; but he will be able
to measure it by the light of heaven, and he may go down ages before he
comes to the place where he once was: and then to think what he is — how
deep once, but how high now — it will augment the sense of happiness and
glory — and then to recollect who has been the cause — and every time he
looks down at what he was, it will give greater emphasis to the ascription,
"Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and
hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father: to him be glory and
dominion for ever and ever." — John Foster
The announcement made by Brownlow North to his old friends of his sudden
change, whether orally or in writing, created no small sensation among them.
Some thought he had gone out of his mind, others thought it was a temporary
impression or excitement, and that it would soon pass off; and this was
specially the case with those of them who were acquainted with his previous
convictions, and temporary reformation, while, in some of the newspapers, it
was even said, after he began his public work, that the whole thing was done
for a wager, and that he had taken a bet to gather a certain number of
thousands or tens of thousands of hearers in a given time. So little do
carnal men understand the workings of the Spirit of God, even when they see
the most striking and manifest proofs of it. — From Brownlow North's
Life-story, by Reverend K. Moody-Stuart, M.A
8:7. — What will the Harvest Be?
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. — Hosea 8:7
LIFE is a seed time. Of all men it may be said, "they have sown."
Prudent men put the question, "What will the harvest be?"
The hope of harvest is the joyful encouragement of the righteous.
The certainty of harvest should be a solemn warning to the godless.
It is well to follow worldly lives to their issues that we may avoid them.
Here we see what evil seed will produce.
I. THE RESULT OF CERTAIN SOWINGS WILL BE TERRIBLE.
"They have sown the
and they shall reap the whirlwind:"
The sowing was careless, or
mischievous, or changeable; and the harvest was of the same reckless,
ruthless, mingled character, only terribly intensified. Wind grew into
1. Vicious men sow their wild oats, and we need not say what they reap.
The debauched, drunken, and profligate are around us, bearing already in
their own persons the first-fruits of the fearful harvest of transgression.
2. Oppressors in a nation are sure to be repaid with revolt, bloodshed,
etc., as may be seen in the French Revolution, and many other
dreadful historical incidents. Wars bring an awful harvest of poverty
and death. Oh, that our nation would cease to be so eager for the fray!
3. Immoral theories go far beyond their original intent. The
speculation was an airy nothing, but the outcome is a whirlwind, breaking
down all that is built up.
4. Heresies in the church also lead to unexpected evils. Apparently
trifling errors grow to grievous evils. The use of a symbol develops into
idolatry. A little laxity increases into absolute immorality. Small disputes
lead on to heart-burnings and divisions.
5. Tolerance of sin in a family is a fruitful source of overwhelming
evil. See the case of Eli. Mind it is not your own.
6. Toleration of sin in yourself. Occasional indulgence becomes
habit, and habit is as the Simoom of the desert, before which life expires,
and hope is swept away. Even allowable acts may grow into dangerous excess.
Let no man think that he can measure, much less limit, the consequences of
sin as to himself, his family, the church, or the world. When once the winds
are up, who can still them?
II. THE RESULT OF SOME SOWINGS IS MANIFEST FAILURE.
"It hath no stalk:"
The seed feebly tries to grow, but it
comes to nothing.
1. Self-conceit vainly endeavors to produce a reputation.
2. Self-righteousness strives
unsuccessfully to obtain salvation.
3. Human wisdom idly struggles to make
a new gospel.
4. Mere idlers and talkers affect to
be useful, but it is a delusion. What appears to be accomplished soon
vanishes away. Great talk, but "no stalk:"
5. He who spends his life without
faith in Christ, and obedience to his will, may dream of a happy future, but
he will be deceived: "it hath no stalk"
Wherefore do men live for folly, and dote on vanity?
III. THE RESULT OF MANY SOWINGS IS UNSATISFACTORY.
"The bud shall yield no
"The devil's meal is all bran;" so
they say, and it is true.
1. The man lived for pleasure, and found satiety.
2. He lived for fame, and gathered
3. He lived for self, and found
4. He lived by his own works and
religiousness, but reaped no peace of mind, and no real salvation.
IV. THE RESULT OF MANY SOWINGS IS PERSONAL DISAPPOINTMENT.
"if so be it yield,
the strangers shall swallow it up."
1. The man spends his life as a common
toiler, who earns much for his master, but nothing for himself, and this is
a poor result if there be no higher object in life.
2. He invents, devises, and commences,
but another gains the profit.
3. He heapeth up riches, and knoweth
not who shall gather them. His heirs forget him, and strangers swallow up
his savings without gratitude.
Without God, nothing is wise, or strong, or worth the doing.
Only to live unto God is a wise sowing.
May the Lord destroy utterly all our sowings to the flesh, lest we reap
corruption (Galatians 6:8)!
May the Lord Jesus supply us with good seed, and bless us in the sowing! Oh,
for a consecrated life!
An Eastern apologue tells us of
Abdallah, to whom an evil spirit came at first as a fly, sipping an atom of
syrup. He did not drive away the creature, and to his surprise it increased
to the size of a locust. Being further indulged, the creature went on
growing, and made such rapid increase that it became an enormous monster,
devoured his substance, and in the end murdered him, leaving in the garden,
where it slew its victim, a footprint six cubits long. Thus does sin grow
upon men, till it becomes a giant habit, and slays them.
Augustine tells us of a young man who thought that the devil had made flies,
and such like tiny things. By the influence of this apparently insignificant
error, he was led on, step by step, till in the end he ascribed everything
to Satan, and ceased to believe in God. Thus does error sow the wind, and
reap the whirlwind. Scrupulous correctness of faith is as much a duty as
careful practice in morals.
David Hume, the historian, philosopher, and skeptic, spent his life in
traducing the Word of God. In his last moments he joked with those around
him; but the intervals were filled up with sadness. He wrote, "I am
affrighted and confounded with the forlorn solitude in which I am placed by
my philosophy. When I turn my eye inward, I find nothing but doubt and
ignorance. Where am I, and what? I begin to fancy myself in the most
deplorable condition imaginable, environed in the deepest darkness." — New
Cyclopedia of Anecdote
The history of the Rev. Caleb Colton, M.A., the author of "Lacon." may serve
as a striking illustration of the truth of our text. He was a clergyman at
Tiverton, popular and clever, but very fond of field-sports. One day,
however, a friend suddenly expired while uttering most impi6us language. The
awe-struck minister abjured dogs and guns, and vowed to live henceforth for
his sacred calling. For months his preaching was earnest, but at the end of
that time he resumed the sporting life. He had, moreover, acquired a love
for gambling. A presentation to the vicarage of Kew and Petersham brought
him to London, and while numbers were reading with delight his "Lacon; or,
Many Things in Few Words; addressed to those who think," the wretched author
was sitting far into the night among swindlers. His passion for play
involving him in pecuniary difficulties, he was forced to abscond, and his
living was declared void. After leading a vagabond life, he perished by his
own hand at Fontainebleau in 1832.
Their heart is divided; now shall they be
found faulty. — Hosea 10:2
ISRAEL, as a nation, divided its
allegiance between Jehovah and Baal, and so became good for nothing, and was
given up to captivity.
God has made one heart in man, and the attempt to have two, or to divide the
one, is in every case injurious to man's life.
A church divided into parties, or differing in doctrine, becomes heretical,
or contentious, or weak and useless.
A Christian, aiming at another object besides his Lord's glory, is sure to
spend a poor, unprofitable life. He is an idolater, and his entire character
will be faulty.
A seeker after Christ will never find him while his heart is hankering after
sinful pleasures, or self-righteous confidences: his search is too faulty to
A minister, aiming at something else besides his one object, whether it be
fame, learning, philosophy, rhetoric, or gain, will prove to be a very
faulty servant of God.
In any case this heart-disease is a dire malady. A broken heart is a
blessing; but a divided heart is a mortal malady.
Let us seriously consider,—
I. THE DISEASE. "Their heart is divided?'
This evil is to be seen,—
1. In their idea of their state: they say they are "miserable sinners," but
they believe themselves to be exceedingly respectable.
2. In the ground of their trust: they
profess faith in Christ, and yet they rely upon self: they try to mix grace
3. In the aim of their life: God and
mammon, Christ and Belial, heaven and the world.
4. In the object of their love. It is
Jesus and some earthly love. They cannot say "Jesus only?"
5. In the decision of their will. They
are never settled; they halt between two opinions; they do not know their
own mind: they have two minds, and so no mind at all.
The disease complained of is in the central fountain of life, and it affects
every part of their manhood. It is fearfully common, even in those who make
a loud profession. If not cured it will end fatally, and perhaps suddenly,
as heart disease is very apt to do.
II. THE EVIL EFFECT OF IT. "Now shall they be found faulty."
In all sorts of ways the fault will show itself.
1. God is not loved at all when not wholly loved.
2. Christ is insulted when a rival is
3. No grace reigns within the soul if
the heart be not wholly won.
4. The life limps and halts when it
has not a whole heart behind it.
5. Before long the man goes over
entirely to the wrong side.
This secret evil must sooner, or later prove the whole profession to be
faulty from beginning to end. It will be an awful thing if this be never
discovered till death is close at hand.
III. ATTEMPTS AT A CURE.
Let it be seriously considered by the double-hearted man,—
1. That he condemns himself by yielding so much of his heart to God. Why any
if not all? Why go this way at all, if not all the way?
2. That his salvation will require all
his thought and heart; for it is no trifling matter. "The kingdom of heaven
suffereth violence" (Matt. 11:12). The righteous scarcely are saved (1 Pet.
3. That the blessing he seeks is
worthy of all his soul and strength.
4. That Jesus gave his whole heart to
our redemption, and therefore it is not consistent for us to be
5. That all potent beings in the
universe are undivided in heart.
Bad men are eager for their pleasure,
The devil works evil with his whole power.
Good men are zealous for Christ.
God is earnest to bless.
6. That faith in Christ is an act of
the whole heart, and therefore a divided heart is not capable of saving
faith, and consequently shuts itself off from the Savior.
From this time forward pray that you may have an undivided heart.
Read, hear, pray, repent, believe with your whole heart, and you shall soon
rejoice with all your heart.
A minister in Brooklyn was recently
called upon by a business man, who said to him, "I come, sir, to inquire if
Jesus Christ will take me into the concern as a sleeping partner." "Why do
you ask?" said the minister. "Because I wish to be a member of the firm, and
do not wish anybody to know it." The reply was: "Christ takes no sleeping
Some talk that the devil hath a cloven foot; but whatever the devil's foot
be, to be sure his sons have a cloven heart: one half for God, the other
half for sin; one half for Christ, the other half for this present world.
God hath a corner in it, and the rest is for sin and the devil. — Richard
As to the evil of being neither one thing nor the other, one finds an
illustration in the waterways of Southern China, which in wintertime are
quite useless for purposes of commerce. The temperature is most tantalizing,
for it is neither cold enough to freeze the canals, so that the ice would be
able to bear traffic; nor warm enough to thaw them, so that they could be
navigable by boats.
Some great king or potentate, having a mind to visit his imperial city, the
harbinger is ordered to go before, and mark out a house suitable to
entertain his majesty's retinue. The prince will only come to a house where
he may dwell alone: if he cannot have the whole house, he will go elsewhere.
The herald find-eth one house where the master desireth to entertain the
king, but he must have but one small chamber, wherein to lodge his wife and
children. The herald will not accept his offer. Then he entreats the benefit
of some by-place, to set up a trunk or two, full of richer goods than
ordinary. "No," says the harbinger, "it cannot be; for if your house were as
big again as it is, it would be little enough to entertain the king and all
his royal train." So it is that every man's body is a temple of God, and his
heart the sanctum sanclorum of that temple. His ministers are sent out into
the world to inform us that Christ is coming to lodge there, and that we
must clear the rooms, that this great King of glory may enter in. God will
have the whole heart, the whole mind, the whole soul — and all will be too
little to entertain him, and the graces of his Holy Spirit which are
attendant on him. "Let it be neither mine nor thine; divide it": was the
voice of a strange woman (1 Kings 3:26), and such is that of the present
world; but God will take nothing by halves: he will have the whole heart or
nothing. — John Spencer
On one occasion, when a former ruler of Montenegro was supposed to have
received the offer of peace and a sum of money if he would acknowledge
himself a vassal of the Porte, it is said that the chief men of the people
waited on him to remind him that he was at perfect liberty to take service
with the Sultan, but that no servant of the Sultan could be Gospodar of the
Black Mountaineers. — Travels in the Sclavonic Provinces of Turkey
Hosea 10:12 The Stroke of the Clock
Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap
in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till
he come and rain righteousness upon you. — Hosea 10:12
WHAT should we think of a farmer who
allowed his finest fields to lie fallow year after year?
Yet men neglect their souls; and besides being unprofitable, these inward
fields become full of weeds, and exceedingly foul. You see to everything
else, will you not see to your souls?
It is God who calls you to break up the fallow ground of your uncultivated
heart, and he waits to aid you therein.
Regard attentively the argument which he uses: "for it is time to seek the
Lord." Thus, God reasons with, you. To this he adds instructions which
deserve our best attention.
I. WHEN IS IT TIME?
"It is time."
1. In the very first hour of
responsibility it is none too soon.
2. At the present it is late, but not
too late. "It is time."
3. When chastening has come, seek the
Lord instantly; for now it is high time "lest a worse thing come unto thee"
4. Before trial comes, let mercy and
gentleness lead to gratitude. Why should we need to be flogged to our God
5. Have you not sinned long enough?
May not the time past suffice for us to have served the flesh (1 Pet. 4:3)?
6. When you assume great
responsibilities, and enter on a new stage of life — married, made a master,
a father, etc. (1 Chron. 22:19).
7. When God's Spirit is specially at
work, and therefore others are saved (Acts 3:19).
When you yourself feel holy stirrings
in your conscience, and hope in your heart (Ps. 27:8; 2 Sam. 5:24).
When the gospel is aimed at you by an earnest minister or friend.
II. WHAT IS THE PECULIAR WORK?
"to seek the Lord."
1. To draw nigh unto God; seeking him
in worship, prayer, etc. (Ps. 105:4).
2. To ask pardon at his hands through
the atonement of Jesus (Isa. 55:6).
3. To obtain the blessings connected
with the new birth (John 1:12-13).
4. To live for his glory: seeking his
honor in all things (Matt. 6:33).
III. HOW LONG SHALL THIS BE DONE?
"Till he come and rain
righteousness upon you;"
1. Until the blessing of righteousness
he obtained: "till he come."
2. Until it be plenteously received:
3. Until your soul is saturated: "rain
righteousness upon you."
Suppose a pause between the seeking and the blessing, do not look in some
other direction, hut seek the Lord still
What else can you do (John 6:68)?
is not God a Sovereign? May he not give when he pleases?
Even now some rain of grace fans on you. Be thankful for it.
Is it not worth waiting for this grace of life?
It is sure to come. He will come, and will not tarry (Heb. 10:37).
IV. WHAT WILL COME OF IT?
1. He will come. This is implied in the expression "till he come."
God's coming in grace is all you need.
2. He will come in righteousness.
You need purity and holiness, and he will bring these with him.
3. He will come in abundance of
grace meeting your obedient sowing. Mark the precept, "Sow in
righteousness." Then note the promise, "and rain righteousness upon you."
4. In consequence of the Lord's
coming to you in righteousness, you shall "reap in mercy)" With joy you
shall gather the fruits of his love; not because of your own righteousness,
but because of his righteousness, which he rains upon you; not as merit, but
Come then, and seek the Lord at this very hour!
If thou wouldst find him, he is in Christ. Believe, and thou hast found him,
and righteousness in him (Ro 3:22).
While Christ calls, it is not too late
to come. Dost thou object — "Is there not a set day, which, if sinners
neglect, the door is shut?" I answer; There is truth in this; but yet there
is no day but a sinner ought to come in it. Though thou mayest think the day
of Christ's acceptance to be over, yet is not the day of thy submission
over. Thy time to be subject to the divine precept is not over while thou
livest. Thou art still under the command, and bound to yield obedience to
God whatever he biddest thee do .... So long as God calls thee, the day is
not over. This should encourage thee to come at once, driven by duty, and
drawn by grace. — Ralph Robinson
Sir Thomas More, whilst he was a prisoner in the Tower, would not so much as
suffer himself to be trimmed, saying that there was a controversy betwixt
the king and him for his head, and till that was at a happy end, he would be
at no cost about it. Let us but scum off the froth of his wit, and we may
make a solemn use of it; for certainly all the cost we bestow upon
ourselves, to make our lives pleasurable and joyous to us, is but mere
folly, till it be decided what will become of the suit betwixt God and us,
what will be the issue of the controversy that God hath against us, and that
not for our heads, but for our souls, whether for heaven or hell. Were it
not, then, the wisest course to begin with making our peace; and then we may
the sooner lead a happy life? It is said, "He who gets out of debt grows
rich." Most sure it is that the pardoned soul cannot be poor; for as soon as
peace is concluded, a free trade is opened between God and the soul. If once
pardoned, we may then sail to any port that lies in God's dominions, and be
welcome. All the promises stand open with their treasures, and say, "Here,
poor soul, take in full lading of all precious things, even as much as thy
faith can bear and carry away I" — John Spencer
A little maiden stood trembling, weeping, timidly knocking at the door of a
minister's library. "Come in," said a cheerful voice. The door handle slowly
turned, and there she stood, sobbing with emotion. "What is the matter, my
dear child?" said the sympathizing pastor. "Oh, sir," was the reply, "I have
lived seven years without Jesus!" She had just been celebrating her seventh
birthday. — The British Messenger
Heaven's on their wing: a moment we may wish,
When worlds want wealth to buy.— Young
Thomas Fuller says, "God invites many
with his golden scepter whom he never bruises with his rod of iron." If the
invitations of his grace were more freely accepted, we should often escape
the chastisements of his hand. Oh, that men did but know that a time of
health, and happiness, and prosperity is as fit a season as can be for
seeking the Lord! Indeed, any hour is a good time in which to seek the Lord,
so long as it is present with us. He who would be wise will find no better
day in the calendar for casting away folly than that which is now with him.
But let no man trifle with time, for in an instant the die may be cast, and
then it is written concerning the ungodly, "I also will laugh at your
calamity, and mock when your fear cometh" (Prov. 1:26).
Hosea 13:10. — Theocracy
I will be thy King. —
This was God's declaration to Israel,
meeting a great want, and saving the people from a great burden. They were
to be spared the expense and danger arising from a human monarch, and to
find government and headship in God himself.
This did not content their unspiritual nature, and they desired a king, like
the nations around them. By this desire they angered the Lord, and missed a
To us the Lord presents the same privilege in a high spiritual sense, and if
we are wise we shall accept it.
I. THE CRAVING OF NATURE.
"Give me a king."
We do not go into the political
question of the right or wrong of monarchy in the abstract: that would be
too vexed a discussion, and unsuitable for our present engagement. We are
quite content with the form of government of our own land.
But we speak morally and spiritually of individual need.
Man was happy in the garden while God was his King; but when he became
"Give me a king" is:
1. The cry of weakness. Man
needs some one to look up to.
2. The sigh of distress. In
straits he sighs for the wise and the strong to counsel and succor him.
3. The prayer of thoughtfulness.
Anarchy of soul is terrible; each passion
fights for mastery.
A kingless, aimless life is misery. Idleness is hard work: the purposeless
King Self is a poor, mean, despicable despot, foolish and feeble.
The World is a cruel and ungrateful master.
4. The desire of experience.
Folly proved makes us desire a Lawgiver.
Danger felt makes us long for a Protector.
Responsibility weighing upon us makes us sigh for a Superior, who will
undertake to choose our way, and direct us in it.
II. THE ROYAL ANSWER OF GRACE.
"I will be thy King."
1. Eminently condescending. Our God
comes to rule over—
A ruined, bankrupt, desolated realm.
Torn to pieces by contending pretenders.
Surrounded by mighty and relentless enemies.
Full of unruly members.
Nothing but infinite love could prompt him to assume such a throne, or to
wear a crown which cost him so dear. "Behold your King!"
2. Abundantly satisfactory; for—
He has power to subdue every inward
He has a character worthy of dominion. It is a great honor to submit to such
He has more than the wisdom of Solomon to arrange every matter.
He has goodness to bless, and he is as ready as he is able to make his reign
a period of happiness, peace, and prosperity.
He has love with which to command affectionate obedience.
3. Infinitely consoling—
To be protected by his omnipotence.
To be ruled by absolute perfection.
To be governed by a King who can neither be defeated, nor die, nor abdicate,
To find in God far more of greatness and goodness than could be dreamed of
as existing in the best of earthly sovereigns.
4. Gloriously inspiring—
To live and die for such a Leader.
To claim possession of human hearts for such a Benefactor.
To have such an Example for obedient imitation.
To be for ever linked with a Potentate so majestic.
III. THE DELIGHT OF LOYALTY.
Our answer to the promise of the text
"Thou art my King, O
God" (Ps. 44:4).
If we unreservedly accept our King —
1. We look to see and share his glory ere long (Isa. 33:17).
2. We expect present deliverances (Ps.
3. We repose in delicious confidence
in the wisdom, goodness, and immutability of all his arrangements.
4. We seek to extend his dominions
5. We glory in his name with
His history is our meditation, his
promise is our sustentation, his honors are our glory, and his person is our
adoration. His throne is our haven and our heaven. He, himself, is all our
salvation, and all our desire (2 Sam. 23:5).
Pleas for Homage
Is Jesus in very deed and truth my
King? Where is the proof of it? Am I living in his kingdom of
"righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" now? (Rom. 14:17). Am
I speaking the language of that kingdom? Am I following "the customs of the
people" (Jer. 10:3) which are not his people? or, do I "diligently learn the
ways of his people"? (Jer. 7:16). Am I practically living under the rule of
his laws? Have I done heart-homage to him? Am I bravely and honestly
upholding his cause, because it is his, not merely because those around me
do so? Is my allegiance making any practical difference to my life today? —
God is the ultimate foundation of all human society; without him you can
neither cement nor govern society. The mad attempt, if you remember, was
made in France. The governing council decreed that there was no God. What
was the result? Anarchy, confusion, license, bloodshed, terror. Robespierre,
one of the leading spirits of the Revolution, had to declare to his comrades
in conclave assembled, "If there be, no God, we must make one — we cannot
govern France without him:' — J. Cynddylan Jones
What, then, shall we render for this inestimable favor, in taking us to be
his subjects? Oh, let us offer him not only the tenths of our labors, but
the first fruits of our affections: let us open not only the doors of our
lips, but the gates of our hearts, that the King of glory may come in. And
when thou vouchsafest, O my Lord, to come with thy high majesty under my low
roof; and to work a miracle, by having that greatness, which the world
containeth not, contained in a little corner of my breast; vouchsafe also to
send thy grace for the harbinger of thy glory!
Possess me wholly, O my Sovereign! Reign in my body, by obedience to thy
laws; and in my soul, by confidence in thy promises: frame my tongue to
praise thee, my knees to reverence thee, my strength to serve thee, my
desires to covet thee, and my heart to embrace thee. — Sir R. Baker, on "The
The Lord in our text assumes the throne, not so much by the election of his
subjects as by his election of them; and the act is not an ascent to a
higher dignity than that which he naturally possesses, but a descent of love
to a position which is for our gain rather than his own. He comes to us with
this sweet willingness to reign over us, and it is our wisdom joyfully to
accept the infinite privileges of his endless dominion.
of Hosea 2:5-23
by C H Spurgeon
In this chapter God compares Israel to
a woman who had been unfaithful to her husband in the very worst and most
Hosea 2:5. For their mother hath
played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she
said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool
and my flax, mine oil and my drink.
She attributed to false gods the gifts
which God had given to her. This was great ingratitude to God, and a high
insult to his holy majesty.
Hosea 2:6. Therefore, behold, I will hedge
up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.
That is what God does to sinners whom
he means to save. He will not let them take their own course. He gives them
thorny trials which hedge up their way. He puts an obstacle in their path;
perhaps some sickness or poverty. When men are desperate in wickedness, God
has a way of stopping them. Even in their mad career, his mighty grace comes
in, and says, “So far shalt thou go, but no further.”
Hosea 2:7. And she shall follow after her
lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall
not find them:
Thus sinners go after the pleasures of
the world, and the pleasures run away from them. They make one thing their
god, and then another; and they put out all their strength to attain the
object of their ambition; and God thwarts them. In infinite love, he baffles
all their endeavors because he means to bring them to himself.
Hosea 2:7. Then shall she say, I will go and
return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.
That is what he brings us to; weary of
the world, ay, weary of life itself, we get worn out in the ways of evil,
and then we say, “I will go to God.” What a blessed conclusion to come to!
However terrible the whip with which he scourges us, it does us good. The
fierce billow that washes the mariner upon the rock of safety, is a blessing
Hosea 2:8, 9. For she did not know that I
gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which
they prepared for Baal. Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in
the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my
wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.
God claims the blessings of providence
as his own; and when he sees his people misuse them, he says, “I will
recover them. She is giving them to Baal, she is using them for an evil
purpose; I will take them away.”
Hosea 2:10, 11. And now will I discover
her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of
mint hand. I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new
moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.
When God deals with men, he uses no
half measures. If they have been very happy in the ways of sin, and he
intends to save them from their evil courses; he will take away all their
joy. They shall henceforth have none of the merriment in which they
indulged. He will give them better happiness by-and-by; but for the time
being it shall be true, “I will cause all her mirth to cease.”
Hosea 2:12. And I will destroy her vines and
her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers
have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field
shall eat them.
Her most precious things shall be
destroyed; or, if they are allowed to exist, they shall become a cause of
fear and trouble. Oh, how often have I seen this verified in the experience
of men and women whom God has saved by his almighty grace!
Hosea 2:13. And I will visit upon her the
days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself
with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat
me, saith the LORD.
They burnt no incense at Jerusalem;
they refused to offer sacrifice there; but they went to this hill and to
that, to worship the different images of Baal, and said, “These are our
gods.” Therefore, God says that he will make them sick of their idolatry.
They shall grow tired of thus polluting his holy name, and degrading
themselves by worshipping things made of wood and stone.
Hosea 2:14. Therefore, behold, I will allure
her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.
Oh, glorious verse! She that went so
far astray, God will come, and draw her back from the path of sin. He will
get her alone; he will bring her into a place of grief and sorrow, a
wilderness; and then he will come near, and speak sweet words of comfort
into her ear. “I will allure her,” as the bird-catchers whistle to the
birds, and draw them to the net, so win I allure her, and bring her into the
wilderness, the place of loneliness, the place of want; and “I will speak
to her heart,” so the Hebrew has it, for God knows how to speak, not only
into the ear, but into the heart.
Hosea 2:15. And I will give her her
vineyards from thence,
He will give back what he took away.
He will seal with lovingkindness the real kindness which made him deal
roughly with her at first.
Hosea 2:15. And the valley of Achor for a
door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as
in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
Oh, backslider God can give you back
your early joy, your early love, ay, and your early purity; and he can make
you sing as at the beginning! Wherefore, be of good comfort, and come to
your Lord; come even now, with all your sins about you, and he will receive
Hosea 2:16. And it shall be at that day,
saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more
“Baali” means “my lord” in the
sense of domination; but God will not seem to us any more like a domineering
governor, as we once thought him; but we shall call him “Ishi”, “my
husband.” There shall be such nearness of love, such confidence of hope,
between the restored soul and her God, that she shall call him no more
Baali, but Ishi.
Hosea 2:17. For I will take away the names
of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their
Oh, the love of God I He does not want
us to recollect our old ways. I do not like to hear people talk about their
old habits, except they do it very tenderly, with many a tear and many a
sigh, and tell the story to the praise and glory of divine grace. God takes
the old names out of our lips; we forget them, we have done with them, we
bury the dead past, and we live in newness of life.
Hosea 2:18. And in that day will I make a
covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of
heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground:
So that the insects should not devour
the crops, and the foxes should not spoil the vines, and the birds should
not steal the seed. So will God take care of his people still. It does seem
that, when we once get right with God, we get right with everything; when we
are at peace with him, then neither beast, nor fowl, nor creeping thing can
do us harm.
Hosea 2:18. And I will break the bow and the
sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down
They had been much troubled by war. It
had killed their children, destroyed their homes, and made them poor and
wretched. Now God says, “I will break the bow and the sword and the
battle.” How often God gives a heavenly calm to us when we are once washed
in the blood of Christ, and covered with his righteousness! I remember how
the storm within my heart was hushed into a deep calm as soon as I had seen
my Lord, and had yielded my heart to him. Oh, yon that are in storms
tonight, I pray that God may bring you to himself, and give you “peace,
perfect peace!” And then what more will the Lord do?
Hosea 2:19. And I will betroth thee unto me
What, this woman that had gone so far
into evil? Can a man receive such an one back? No; but God can. He says
there shall be a new betrothal, a new marriage: “I will betroth thee unto
me for ever.” Blessed word!
Hosea 2:19, 20. Yea, I will betroth
thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and
in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt
know the LORD.
Thou shalt know Jehovah; thou shalt
know that there is none like him, passing by iniquity, transgression, and
sin; and faithful to his people even when they are unfaithful to him. Is
there any god like our God? Have you ever tasted his grace? Do you know his
pardoning love? Have you ever been brought back to him? Have you been
restored to his favor? Then I am sure you can say, “There is none like unto
Hosea 2:21, 22. And it shall come to
pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and
they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine,
and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.
God would send rain when it was
wanted. He would be all ear to hear on behalf of his people. He would not
only hear them, but hear the very earth they tilled, and the heavens above
their heads, as if nature itself began to pray when the child of God learned
that holy art.
Hosea 2:23. And I will sow her unto me in
He would make the people to be like
the seed which he himself would sow, and cause to spring up, and abide.
Hosea 2:23. And I will have mercy upon
her that had not obtained mercy;
I would like to read that again.
Somebody has, perhaps, come in here tonight, who has never obtained mercy.
Perhaps you have been seeking it, and you have not found it. Hear God’s
promise, and lay hold upon it: I will have mercy upon her that had not
Hosea 2:23. And I will say to them which
were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.
See, it is all in “shalls” and
“wills.” God is speaking, God omnipotent, omnipotent over men’s hearts. He
is not saying, “I will if they will,” but “I will, and they shall,” for
he hath the key of free agency; and when he turns it in the look, without
violating the free will of man, he makes him willing in the day of his power
to the praise of his divine supremacy, for God is God when he saves as much
as when he reigns; yes, his reigning grace is the very glory of his nature,
and this we love and adore. grant us a taste of it! Amen.
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Exposition of Hosea 2:6-23
by C H Spurgeon
Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall,
that she shall not find her paths.
God will cause sin to be painful, he will
make the way of it difficult, he will do everything to prevent the sinner
running in it: “She shall not find her paths.”
2:7. And she shall follow
after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them;
They cannot find satisfaction in sinful
pleasure; that which once they easily obtained, they shall no longer be able
2:7. And she shall seek
them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to
my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.
Am I addressing a backslider? Has God
hedged up your way? Is there a whisper in your heart which reminds you of
better days and happier times? Oh, stifle not that whisper! Let it be heard
within your spirit; if it be hut a gentle voice, listen to it till it
increases in force, and sounds like the very voice of God in your soul; it
will be for your present and eternal good if you do so.
2:8. For she did not know
that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold,
which they prepared for Baal.
It is a sad sin when we take God’s
mercies, and use them in rebellion against him. Just think of it, — the very
gifts which Jehovah gave to these people, they presented in sacrifice to
Baal; and there are men, who are in comfortable circumstances, who spend
their wealth for sin. They have health and strength, and they use them in
the service of their own evil passions. The very gifts with which God has
enriched them become weights to sink them deeper and deeper in the gulf of
transgression. Ah, this is terrible! God has often brought men down to
poverty, to sickness, to death’s door, in order that they might be weaned
from their sin. He saw that they were going to hell full-handed, and he
judged it better that they should go to heaven empty-handed. He knew that,
if they had health, they would misuse it, so he stretched them on the bed of
sickness, that they might turn to him. God has severe remedies for desperate
cases; he will do all that mercy and wisdom can suggest to prevent men from
being their own destroyers.
2:9–11. Therefore will I
return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season
thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.
And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none
shall deliver her out of mine hand. I will also cause all her mirth to
cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn
There is no more merriment now; the old
songs have lost their sweetness, and the old games have lost their charm.
2:12. And I will destroy
her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards
that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts
of the field shall eat them.
So that the joys of sin shall become
miseries, as if vineyards were suddenly trained into dense forests wherein
lions and wolves might make their lairs. There are some people who can
understand this in a spiritual sense; some, perhaps, who have been made to
realize it in their own experience.
2:13. And I will visit
upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she
decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her
lovers, and forgot me, saith the LORD.
It is terrible when God comes to visit
upon men the days of their sin,-when for every night of sin they shall have
a night of anguish. — when for every pleasure that they took in sin they
shall feel the scourge of conscience till they have measured out the weary
“She went after her lovers, and forgat
me, saith the Lord.” This was said by him who never forgot her, by him
whose love was true and faithful to her when she thus went away from him,
and defiled herself and dishonored his holy name. Now read the next verse;
and be astonished, —
2:14. Therefore, behold,
I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably
You might have thought the Lord was going
to say, “Therefore, behold, I will destroy her.” Nothing of the kind: “l
will fascinate her to myself, I will draw her away from all her idol lovers,
and I will speak comfortably unto her.”
2:15. And I will give her
her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and
she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when
she came up out of the land of Egypt.
“I will pluck this Israel of mine out of
all her sin; I will give her back the purity and the happiness of her early
days: ’ She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day
when she came up out of the land of Egypt.’“ You must have noticed how
often God speaks of that coming out of Egypt. He says, in another place, “I
remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when
thou wentest after me in the wilderness.” Here the Lord promises to give
back to Israel the joy she had when she was young, and espoused herself to
2:16. And it shall be at
that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no
“Thou shalt call me, My man, my
husband,” — a name of sweet endearment, “and shalt call me no more
Baali,” that is, “my lord, my lordly husband,” for the Lord’s love shall
not be galling to thee, but it shall sweetly and gently rule thee. Oh, what
a sweet change this is, when we no longer tremble before God with slavish
fear, but love him with intense affection, and see in him our soul’s Husband
in whom is all our delight!
2:17. For if will take
away the names of Balaam out of her mouth, and they shall no more be
remembered by their name.
The word Baalim had been profaned, they
had applied it to other lords; and when they used it concerning Jehovah, it
sounded harsh, as if he, too, was a tyrant master.
2:18. And in that day
will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the
fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground:
Everything is in covenant with me if I am
in covenant with God; there is nothing so high that it can hurt me, there is
nothing so low that it can injure me, there is nothing so great that it need
distress me, there is nothing so little that it shall torment me.
2:18. And I will break
the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to
lie down safely.
Oh, the security of God’s people when
they get into their right position towards God!
2:19. And I will betroth
thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness,
and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
What a glorious promise is this! It is
marvellous that our wayward, wanton, wicked souls should be brought back by
infinite mercy, and then that God should be so enamoured of us as to
declare, “I will betroth thee unto me for ever.”
2:20. I will even betroth
thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.
It is said three times that he will
betroth us unto himself, as if the Lord knew that we should hardly be able
to believe it.
2:21. 22. And it shall
come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, will hear the
heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn,
and the wine, and the oily and they shall hear Jezreel.
So that there shall be no famine to try
God’s people; their prayers shall be abundantly answered, and all their
needs shall be supplied.
23. And I will sow her unto me in
the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I
will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they
shall say, Thou art my God.
Oh, blessed Scripture! May the Lord write
it on all our hearts! Amen.
Exposition on Hosea
by C H Spurgeon
Hosea 11:1. When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son
out of Egypt.
God’s love was very early love. He began with the nation of Israel when it
was a mere handful of men in Egypt. There he multiplied them; and, in due
time, he called them out from among the heathen. God’s love to some of us
manifested itself at a very early period of our lives, when we were yet
children. It is among our most joyous memories that we have known the Lord
from our youth up. Happy man, happy woman, of whom God can say, as he said
concerning his ancient people, “When Israel was a child, then I loved him,
and called my son out of Egypt.”
Hosea 11:2. As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto
Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.
The nation of Israel did not fulfill the promise of its youth; it was not
faithful to God. The people heard from the lips of Moses the command “Hear,
O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:” yet they turned aside continually
to the idols of the nations. Have not some of us also, although we have been
loved by God, been faithless to him? Can we not look back, with great regret
and sorrow, upon our many stumblings and backslidings? If it be so, let us
repent of our sin, and never repeat it.
Hosea 11:3. I taught Ephraim also to go, —
Just as nurses teach children to walk: “I taught Ephraim also to go,” —
Hosea 11:3. Taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.
God has done great things for many of us who, possibly, have never noticed
his hand at work on our behalf. Lives which were in great peril have been
saved, yet the goodness of God has never been acknowledged by those whom he
has delivered. Men have been raised up from beds of sickness, yet the great
and good Healer has never been thanked for what he has done for them. Oh,
how sad it is that God should do too much for us, and yet that we should not
even thank him for doing it.
Hosea 11:4. I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them
as they that take of the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.
As men do with the bullocks that have been ploughing, lifting the yoke from
them, and giving them rest and food before they have to begin ploughing
again. So did God to Israel, and so has he done to us. He lifted from us the
heavy burden of our sin, and he gave us rest and heavenly food. But oh, what
a poor return we have made for all the thoughtful kindness of our God! If
any man here imagines that he can boast of his conduct towards his God, he
does not feel as I do. Rather dear friends, I think that we all ought to
humble ourselves in the Lord’s presence when we remember what ill returns we
have made for all that he has done for us.
Hosea 11:5, 6. He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall
be his king, because they refused to return. All the sword shall abide on
his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of
their own counsels.
If men will sin, they shall suffer; and God’s people will be the first to
suffer for their sins against the Lord, as he said by the mouth of the
prophet Amos, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth:
therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” If a man lets other
men’s children go unchastened, he will chastise his own children, if he is
worthy of the name of a father; and God will do the same. He will not
destroy us, but he will chasten us if we backslide from him.
Hosea 11:7, 8. And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called
them to the Most High, none at all would exalt him. How shall I give thee
up, Ephraim, how shall I deliver thee, Israel?
There seems to be a contest in the heart of God; at least, that is how he
describes it himself, as though mercy pleaded with justice, and love
contended with wrath: “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I
deliver thee, Israel?
Hosea 11:8. How shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I let thee as Zeboim?
“I cannot destroy thee, as I destroyed the guilty cities of the plain in
the days of old.”
Hosea 11:8. Mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.
O backsliders, if God’s repentings are kindled, will not yours also be
kindled? If you have left him, and yet he will not give you up, Will you
give him up? Will you not return to him? Listen to his own words: —
Hosea 11:9. I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to
destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; —
What a mercy this is for us! If the Lord had been man, he would have cast us
off long ago; but, as he is God he is infinitely patient, and he loves to
forgive: “I am God, and not man;” —
Hosea 11:9, 10. The Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the
city. They shall walk after the LORD:
See what his almighty grace will do to make these wanderers come back to
Hosea 11:10. He shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall
tremble from the west.
Even his roaring like a lion wild only make them tremblingly come back to
Hosea 11:11, 12. They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of
the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD.
Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit:
but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.
Exposition of Hosea 11
by C H Spurgeon
Hosea 11:1. When Israel was a
When the nation was yet young, and had
scarcely started on its march among the peoples of the earth: “When Israel
was a child,” —
Hosea 11:1. Then I loved him, and
called my son out of Egypt.
God’s love does not depend upon the
standard of our spiritual attainments. While we are yet children in grace,
the Father’s love is set upon us, as it was upon Israel in its beginnings as
11:2. As they called them,
so they went from them;
Such was the perversity of this
child-nation, whom nevertheless God loved that though galled by Jehovah, he
went away, and refused to obey the divine call. The Israelites in Egypt
“hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage;”
and, even after their great deliverance, they were constantly turning aside
from the path pointed out by Moses, who bade them be faithful to their God.
11:2. They sacrificed unto
They offered sacrifice to many Baals,
first to one and then to another, for men will readily change their idols
when they know not the true God.
11:2, 3. And burned
incense to graven images. I taught Ephraim also to go, —
This child-nation was taught by God how
to walk; —
11:3. Taking them by their
As nurses hold up their little children
when for the first time they try to stand or toddle along.
11:3. But they knew not
that I healed them.
This was a singular thing, and it shows
the great blindness of man, that he does not know his own Physician. It was
so with Israel: “They knew not that I healed them.” Surely, brethren, it
seems impossible that we should not know our Divine Healer; yet our
blindness is extreme by nature, and leads to many a folly.
11:4. I drew them with
cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off
the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.
As men do to their cattle when they have
been ploughing, and they come to the end of the day’s work, then the bit is
removed, or the yoke is lifted off the shoulder, and fit fodder is provided
for the cattle that they may be refreshed. This is what God did to his
people Israel; he brought them out of Egypt, where they had to perform hard
tasks, caused them to rest from their labors, and gave them both material
and spiritual meat to eat; yet nevertheless they were ungrateful to him. We
say that ingratitude is the worst of sins; but, alas, it is one of the
commonest of evils, and we ourselves are ingrates to our God.
11:6. He shall not return
into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they
refused to return.
If we try to escape from our trouble
without hearing the voice of God in it we shall run into another; if, by our
own plotting and scheming, we escape from Egypt, then the Assyrian shall be
our king, and there is small choice between Assyria and Egypt. It is always
best to take with submission the sorrow that God appoints, lest, by fleeing
from the bear the serpent bite us, and so we go from bad to worse.
11:6. And the word shall
abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them,
because of their own counsels.
That is a very striking expression,
“Because of their own counsels.” It should be a solemn warning to us not
to follow the devices of our own heart when we see the consequences of
Israel’s walking after his own way.
11:7. And my people are
bent to backsliding from me:
They seemed as if they must do it, as if
their hearts were set upon it; they were “bent” upon it. Oh, that our bent
and bias were towards holiness, and not towards backsliding!
11:7. Though they called
them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.
See how Israel puts God away, and will
not hear Jehovah’s voice.
Now observe the change in the chapter,
for God speaks of his faithfulness even to backsliding Israel. He does not
give his people up, and he still yearns over them in tenderest pity and
11:8. How shall I give
thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as
Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my
repentings are kindled together.
And this divine turning and repenting,
remember, were toward a people who did not turn to the Lord. God turned
towards a people that would not turn towards him, and his repentings were
“kindled together” towards the nation that would not repent. Oh, the
unspeakable, the unthinkable grace of God! He doeth for us “exceedingly
abundantly above all that we ask or think.”
11:9. I will not execute
the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am
God, and not man;
Our hope lies in the fact that God is
God. Sometimes, that truth is a terror to men; they are distressed at the
thought of the great and holy God, yet in this truth is their only hope of
salvation. The Lord says, “I will not return to destroy Ephraim, for I am
God, and not man.”
11:9. The Holy One in the
midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.
That is, the Lord says, “I will not come
into it to see all its iniquities, lest in my wrath I smite and destroy
it.” How tenderly doth God bear with wicked men! How great is his
long-suffering! How graciously he seems to close his eyes, as if he would
not see that which must bring upon us swift destruction if he looked upon it
in his righteous anger!
11:10. They shall walk
after the LORD:
It is a great blessing when men begin to
seek the Lord whom they formerly shunned. This proves that there has been
wrought in them a complete change of heart.
11:10. He shall roar like
a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west.
God’s terrible voice often makes men
tremble, and that is one proof of the working of his grace in their hearts,
for they tremble before him, and flee unto him.
11:11, 12. They shall
tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria:
and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD. Ephraim compasseth me
about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth
with God, and is faithful with the saints.
There are still some left to serve
Jehovah; there is a remnant according to the election of grace even in the
very worst of times. “Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the
saints.” May we be found among the faithful few! Amen.
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Exposition on Hosea 13:1-14
by C H Spurgeon
Hosea 13:1. When Ephraim spake
trembling, he exalted himself in Israel;
When we are little in our own esteem,
when we are full of fears concerning ourselves, when we dare not think of
boasting, then it is that we grow: “When Ephraim spake trembling, he
exalted himself in Israel.”
Hosea 13:1. But when he offended in Baal, he
It is when, like Ephraim, we turn
aside to other gods, when our heart goes astray from the Lord, that there is
death-death to our joys, death to our confidence, death to our usefulness.
No one knows what destruction there is, even in the least sin, to the most
joyful believer. It is like the hot breath of the Sirocco, which scorches up
every green thing. If, before this terrible blast, everything is like Eden,
behind it all is as a desert. Let us read the whole verse again that we may
lay to heart the lesson it teaches us; “When Ephraim spake trembling, he
exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.”
Hosea 13:2. And now they sin more and more,
That is the usual way of sin; it is a
growing evil; its course is downhill.
2. And have made there molten images
of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it
the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss
Their idolatry was such that they were
not satisfied with the bulls that were set on high as images, but they had
little imitations of these, which they wore upon their persons, just as
Romanists wear small crucifixes or crosses. These they carried about with
them for their own private worship. Oh, what a tendency there is in sin to
multiply itself. The idolaters were not satisfied with bowing the knee to
false gods, but they said, “Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.”
Superstition goes from one evil to another, there is no end to it. You may
begin with what you call moderate Ritualism, but where you will end I cannot
tell. Some go beyond the superstitions of Popery itself. The only safe way
is to worship the Lord our God, and serve him alone, and purge out the idols
from among us.
Hosea 13:3. Therefore they shall be as the
morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is
driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the
If they make idols their gods, they
shall be like their idols. Idols are but for a day; what is there in them of
endurance? What is there in them of power? “They that make them are like
unto them, so is every one that trusteth in them.” If we trust in anything
that we can see, if we trust in anything but God, then our hope shall be
“as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away,” and we
ourselves shall be like the chaff that is driven from the threshing-floor by
a whirlwind, or like the smoke driven out of the chimney by the blast.
Hosea 13:4. Yet I arm the LORD thy God
from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no
Savior beside me.
Now here is the wickedness of
idolatry, that we have so good a God, and yet must needs look after another.
Here is the sin of trusting to an arm of flesh, that we have an almighty arm
to lean upon, and instead of doing so we begin to look to a poor arm that
has not strength enough to support itself, much less to support us. Are any
of you children of God forgetting your God? Is your faith turning away from
the great Invisible, and the sure promises of his Word? Are you looking to
the creature? Beware of it, I pray you; whenever you do that, you are making
a rod for your own back. If you forsake the Lord, to whom will you go?
Hosea 13:5. I did know thee in the
wilderness, in the land of great drought.
Look back upon days of your trouble,
when God was very near to you; do you not remember when he was everything to
you? When you were poor, when you were sick, when you were despised, God did
know you then; yet now you sing,-
“What peaceful hours I once enjoyed,
How sweet their memory still!.”
Hosea 13:6. According to their pasture, so
were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore
have they forgotten me.
What a terrible verse this is! After
they had been filled, they turned away from the God that filled them. When
they were poor and despised, then he was all to them; but afterwards, when
by his providence they grew rich and increased in goods, then they forgot
their God. I have often seen it thus; it is a grievous evil under the sun. I
have seen the man rejoicing in God, earnest and devout while he has been
afflicted and poor. God has prospered him, and then he has turned his back
upon sacred things, and made the world his joy. Is not this a horrible sin,
a gross evil? I well remember one, who used to steal into this house on
Thursday nights, glad to escape a while from the persecution in his own
home. He had a hard time of it to be a Christian at all; but he came to be
the possessor of his father’s estates, and he has now no care for these
things. He is a fashionable gentleman now, he who once was glad enough to
mix with even the poorest of God’s people, and to find comfort among them.
It is a sad thing when it is so, and when the Lord has to say to any, “I
did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. They were
filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.”
Hosea 13:7, 8. Therefore I will be unto
them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: I will meet
them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the call of
their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall
For God is jealous, and most jealous
of those whom he loves best. He cannot endure that we should treat him thus;
he means to have our love by some means, and if he cannot have it by
gentleness, he will have it by sterner methods. If the Lord has chosen you,
he will sooner be to you as a leopard and a lion than he will suffer you to
live without him. You must, you shall find your all in him.
Hosea 13:9, 10. O Israel, thou hast
destroyed thyself; but in me thine help. I will be thy king:
If thou hast shifted me from the
throne, and set up a usurper, I will come and be thy King even now.
10. Where is any other that may
save thee in all thy cities
To whom else canst thou look P Where
else canst thou find peace?
10. And thy judges of whom thou
saidst, Give me a king and princes?
What is the good of them P Have they
not all turned out to be a delusion?
Hosea 13:11, 12. I gave thee a king in
mine anger, and took him away in my wrath. The iniquity of Ephraim is bound
up; his sin is hid.
How sadly true this is! Sin seems to
be bound up in our very nature. It is hard to find it; it is hidden away;
and when we discover some of it, and it is purged away, there is still more
to be found. As hidden treasure may lie in a house for many a day, and not
be seen, so are there stores of corruption that seem hidden away in our
nature, and are not easily discovered. What a gracious God we have to deal
with, or else he would have swept us away long ago!
Hosea 13:13, 14. The sorrows of a
travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not
stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children. I will ransom them
from the power of the grave;
Oh, what great promises we get driven,
like piles, into the marshes of our sin, to make a foundation for God’s
grace! Here, when the Lord says that we have destroyed ourselves, and he
notes all the blackness of our depravity, then he comes in with this
gracious word, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave.” You who
believe in Jesus shall not die; nay, not even the deadly force of sin shall
hold you in your grave. There is a resurrection for the dead, there is a
spiritual resurrection for you, believers. When you mourn your death, and
cry, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this
death?” the Lord will answer you, “I will ransom you from the power of the
Hosea 13:14. I will redeem them from
death: O death, I will be thy plagues;
O grave, I will be thy destruction:
repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
Lord, work this quickening in thy
people to-night, and let us live in the fullness of thy divine love, and so
anticipate the day when our bodies also shall be raised by thy glorious
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Exposition on Hosea
by C H Spurgeon
Hosea was full of complaints against the people of God; for, in his day,
they had very sadly wandered from the Lord. They had even forgotten him. In
Hosea’s prophecy, we have the plaintive voice of a loving God chiding his
Hosea 13:1. When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel,
but when he offended in Baal, he died.
A modest, humble, trembling heart is often by far the sounder heart, but
when we begin to sin, and to sin boastfully, and to wrap ourselves about
with the robe of self-complacency, then is death very near to us: “When
Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended
in Baal, he died.”
Hosea 13:2. And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of
their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the
word of the craftsmen: they say of them, let the men that sacrifice kiss the
When Jeroboam became king of the new kingdom of Israel, — in order to
prevent his subjects from going to Jerusalem to worship God in Solomon’s
temple, — he started two shrines at Dan and Bethel, and there he set up what
Holy Scripture calls in derision “calves.” I suppose that his idea was to
make images of a bull, the emblem of power, intending them to be the symbol
of the Divine Being, and that the people intended still to worship God, but
to worship him under the image of a bull. It is the same in Roman
Catholicism to this day, — the worship of God, the worship of Christ, by
means of crucifixes, and emblems and symbols of various kinds. But when men
once begin that kind of idolatry, there is no knowing where they will stop;
for the worship of God, through the medium of symbol, soon grows into the
worship of other gods saints and saintesses, “blessed virgins” and I know
not what besides, are pretty sure to be set up when once people begin to
make use of outward and visible emblems of the Deity. So it was with these
ancient Israelites. From worshipping the bull, which was meant to be a type
of the omnipotent God, they went on to the worshipping of “molten images of
their silver, and idols according to their own understanding.” Brethren,
let us take warning from these idolaters, and always keep to the simplicity
of worship ordained by God in his Word. However comely and beautiful, or
grand and imposing, and, consequently, fascinating, any form of idolatry may
be to some minds, let us utterly despise it if it is not according to the
mind of God, and the teaching of his spirit, as revealed in his Word.
Hosea 13:3. Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that
passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the
floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.
Those who will have gods of their own making shall have but a brief
enjoyment of them. He who truly worships the everlasting God shall have an
everlasting blessing; but he who worships gods that he has himself made, —
mere objects of this mortal day, shall have but a short day of it. He shall
be as the early dew, which glistens brightly, but is soon gone; or as the
morning cloud, which is banished by the rising of the sun.
Hosea 13:4, 6. Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt
know no god but me: for there is no Savior beside me. I did know thee in the
wilderness, in the land of great drought.
The Israelites drew near to God when they wanted bread and water in the
wilderness. God says, “I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of
great drought;” and the Lord might say to his people nowadays, “I did know
you when you were very sick, when you were very poor, when you were in great
trouble. You sought me then; how is it that you are trying to do without me
Hosea 13:6-8. According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled,
and their heart was exalted, therefore have they forgotten me. Therefore I
will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: I
will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the
caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild
beast shall tear them.
When men forget God, they may expect that they will meet with some terrible
judgments; and God’s own people especially will find this to be the case
with them if they forget the Lord. Our God is a very jealous God; and when
his children will set their hearts on other objects instead of upon himself,
he will take care to embitter those objects of their affection to them, he
will make their idols to be loathed by them. If God did not love us very
much, he would think little of our faults, but just because he loves us so
much, he cannot bear that any part of our heart’s affection should go away
from himself. So, if he sees that we deal unfaithfully with him, he will
make us realize that sin is an exceedingly evil and bitter thing. His anger
against us will be like that of a bear that is robbed of her whelps, or of a
lion or leopard leaping upon his prey.
Hosea 13:9, 10. Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself: but in me is thine help.
“You have gone away from me, but I will bring you back again. You have
destroyed yourself by your sin, but I will restore you to my favor by my
grace. You may look within yourself for causes of repentance, but you must
not look to yourself for the means of restoration; you must look to me, your
Savior and your God.” So this verse teaches us “O Israel, thou hast
destroyed thyself, but in me is thine help.”
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Exposition on Hosea
By C H Spurgeon
Hosea 14:1. O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen
by thine iniquity.
Let anyone here, who has turned aside from the Lord, hear these tender
pleading words, and then yield to him who utters them. God speaks, not to
condemn, but to comfort. He would fain allure you back to him with his
gracious words of love: “O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou
hast fallen by thine iniquity.”
Hosea 14:2. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord:
But the poor penitent cries, “Alas, Lord, I do not know what to say. So God
puts in the sinner’s mouth the very words he is to utter.
Hosea 14:2. Say unto him. Take away all iniquity, —
That is where the mischief lies, in your in-equity, your turning aside from
the path of truth and equity. Say to the Lord, “I do not want to keep any
of my iniquity, I desire to be delivered from it altogether.” “Take away
all iniquity,” —
Hosea 14:2. And receive us graciously: —
“Lord, take us back again. According to the greatness of thy grace, restore
us to thy heart of love, and let us dwell where thy children dwell: Receive
us graciously:’” —
Hosea 14:2. So will we render the calves of our lips.
That is to say, “We will give thee the sacrifice of our praises. We will
speak well of thy name. If we have the calves of the stall, we will give
them to thee; but, in any case, we will give thee the calves of our lips.”
Hosea 14:3. Ashur shall not save us; —
They had been accustomed to rely either upon Assyria or upon Egypt; and one
of the first signs of their real repentance was that they had given up their
false dependences. So, sinner, you must give up your self-righteousness,
your ceremonialism, anything and everything in which you have trusted in
place of trusting in the Lord: “Ashur shall not save us;” —
Hosea 14:3. We will not ride upon horses: —
In the day of battle, they had trusted in their cavalry; but now, in the
time of their repentance, they cry, “We will not ride upon horses;” —
Hosea 14:3. Neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods:
for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.
What a beautiful ending there is to this verse! If any of you are full of
sin and full of wants, and have become like orphans who have lost
everything, and are utterly destitute, — if you have none to provide for
you, and none to care for you, come to the God of the fatherless, and put
your trust in him: “For in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.”
Then follows this gracious promise: —
Hosea 14:4. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: —
Listen to the heavenly music: “I will.” “I will.” When God says, “I
will,” you may depend upon it that he will do what he says he will. If you
or I say, “I will,” it must be with the proviso, “If it is God’s will, I
will do so-and-so,” but God is the almighty king whose least word is a
sovereign mandate: “I will heal their backsliding: I will love them
Hosea 14:4. For mine anger is turned away from him.
If you have come back to the Lord with true penance of heart, he is no
longer angry with you, but he is ready to welcome you again.
Hosea 14:6. I will be as the dew unto Israel: —
“Not as first, not as tempest; but in gentle yet effectual grace, I will
visit them. I will be as the dew unto Israel:” —
Hosea 14:6. He shall grow as the lily,
“He shall be as beautiful and fair as the lily, though just now he was
black as night.”
Hosea 14:6. And cast forth his roots as Lebanon.
“He shall be as stable as he is beautiful. Like old Lebanon, the mighty
mountain, which none can shake, so shall this poor sinner be when I have
visited him with my love.”
Hosea 14:6. His branches shall spread,
“I will endue him with usefulness and influence.
Hosea 14:6. And his beauty shall be as the olive tree,
“I will load him with fruit. He shall have the beauty that belongs to that
fat and oily tree, the olive.”
Hosea 14:6. And his smell as Lebanon.
God can make the foul, polluted sinner to become fragrant to him: “His
smell shall be as Lebanon”
Hosea 14:7. They that dwell under his shadow shall return, —
His family, his work-people, his neighbors, who wandered from the Lord
because he wandered, shall get good from his holy influence. His restoration
shall be a benediction to them: “They that dwell under his shadow shall
Hosea 14:7. They shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof
shall be as the wine of Lebanon.
All good things come to a man when God comes to him, and he comes to God.
Get right with God, and you shall get right with all things around you, and
you shall be the means of helping to put other people right.
Hosea 14:8. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols?”
He will spontaneously purge himself from the evil things which he once
loved. I shall not need to send the hammer to break his idols, but he shall
say, out of the fullness of his own heart, ’What have I to do any more with
Hosea 14:8, 9. I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree.
From me is thy fruit found. Who is wise, and he should 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 transgressor shall fall therein.
Yes, they shall fall even when they are in the right ways; and I know of no
falling that is worse than for men to be in the ways of religion, and yet to
stumble and fall even there; for, if they fall there, where will they not
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Exposition of Hosea 14
by C H Spurgeon
According to the heading of this chapter,
we have here “an exhortation to repentance,” and “a promise of God’s
Hosea 14:1. O Israel, return unto
the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.
Fallen into sorrow, fallen into shame,
fallen into spiritual poverty, fallen into weakness of faith, fallen almost
to destruction, though thou art Israel, and God loves thee, yet “thou hast
fallen by thine iniquity;” and the only possible way in which thou canst
obtain restoration, is to “return unto the Lord thy God.” Seek once again
thy Father’s face; cry, with the prodigal “I will arise, and go to my
Father.” “O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God.” Thou mayest do so, for
he bids thee come back to him. Thou shoulder do so, for it was ill of thee
to wander from him; so end thy wandering, and return unto him.
“Return unto the Lord thy God.” He is
“thy God” still. He denies not the sacred band which binds thee to
himself. Though thou hast forsaken him, yet still he bids thee think of him,
not as a stranger, but as thy God O child of God, are you just now very
heavy in heart because of your backsliding? Is the lamp of spirituality
burning very low? Do you feel as if you had got into a state of spiritual
barrenness? Then return—return at once—unto the Lord your God, for your sad
condition is due to your iniquity.
Hosea 14:2. Take with you words,
and turn to the LORD: say unto him,—
He puts the Words into our mouths; for he
knows that, sometimes, we feel as if we cannot give proper expression to our
repentance. We feel it, but we cannot utter it; so he puts the very form of
the confession into his children’s mouths: “Take with you words, and turn
to the Lord: say unto him,”—
Hosea 14:2. Take away all
iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our
Sin has had the mastery over you;
therefore, ask to have it taken away by pardon, and by the cleansing which
shall deliver you from the influence and power of it! Do not ask the Lord
merely to take away some of your sin, but say to him, “’Take away all
iniquity.’ Especially, if I have indulged some darling sin that has been my
ruin, take that away.”
“Take away all iniquity, and receive
us.” “Thou canst not receive us with our sins ’upon us. Wilt thou press us
to thy bosom while we are black and foul with iniquity? No, that cannot be;
so, first take away all our sin, and then receive us. Receive us again into
favor with thee, into a conscious sense of thy love. Receive us when we come
to thee in prayer. Receive us when we come to the communion table. Receive
us as thou didst at the first, as thy sons and daughters.”
“Receive us graciously.” “We cannot
hope to be received on any other footing but that of thy free and abounding
grace; for even if thou dost forgive and cleanse us, we shall be sinners
still, and shall still need thy grace and mercy.”
“Receive us graciously; so will we
render.” “When thou hast put away our sin, and received us, then we will
begin to serve thee; and we will bring to thee, not the calves of the legal
sacrifice, for a sense of thy love will make us feel that thou delightest
not in burnt offering; but we will render unto thee the calves of our
lips,—our testimony to thy faithfulness,—our declaration of thy truth,—our
Hosea 14:3. Asshur shall not
When a man trusts to his Cod, he gets
away from all other trust. Confidence in God is the death of all other
confidences: “Asshur shall not save
Hosea 14:3. We will not ride
Which, somehow or other, were always the
Israelites’ fear and trust. They always looked upon horsemen as the most
powerful friends or foes in the day of battle; but now they feel that all
creatures shall be given up, and they will cling to God alone: “Asshur
shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses.”
Hosea 14:3. Neither will we say
any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the
fatherless findeth mercy.
What a sweet reason this is for
confidence in God, namely, that he cares for those who have nobody else to
care for them,—that he becomes the Helper of those who have no other helper,
and the Guardian of those who are left friendless in the world! O my soul,
art thou not just such an one,—friendless, helpless, hopeless, orphaned?
Fly, then, to that God in whom the fatherless findeth mercy, and thou, too,
shalt find mercy.
Now let us listen to the voice of God:—
Hosea 14:4. I will heal their
He can do it; he will do it, he evidently
rejoices to do it. He soliloquizes with himself, as though it were a very
pleasant thought to him: “I will heal their backsliding,”—
Hosea 14:4. I will love them
“Though there is nothing lovely in them,
though they deserve my wrath,—though, according to their own confession,
they have gone after false gods, I will love them freely.”
Hosea 14:4. For mine anger is
turned away from him.
“I have fully forgiven them, and I have
caused my great wrath to pass away from them.” Now, dear child of God, you
to whom I spoke just now, who have fallen into a dull, dead, dreary sort of
state, are you not encouraged to return unto the Lord when he thus declares
that he will heal your backsliding, and love you freely? You shall have your
joy-days back again; you shall have your old love restored; you shall have
your old delight renewed; you shall again dance before the Lord for very joy
Hosea 14:5. I will be as the dew
“When they come! back to me, I will
refresh them,—softly, sweetly, efficaciously, abundantly, mysteriously, even
as the dew refreshes the thirsty earth.”
Hosea 14:5. He shall grow as the
Your souls shall suddenly spring up. As
the daffodil-lily springs up almost in a night, and its golden bells
speedily appear, so you, who seem so dead, shall grow up adorned with the
golden flowers of God’s delight in you.
Hosea 14:5. And cast forth his
roots as Lebanon.
Fickle as you have been, God’s grace will
make you stable. You shall have as firm a roothold as a cedar has, and be as
fixed as Libanus himself.
Hosea 14:6. His branches shall
You shall begin to have influence upon
others, and cast a shadow over them for their good.
Hosea 14:6. And his beauty shall
be as the olive free,
His soul, bedewed by grace divine, shall
be beautiful as the olive tree, which has an almost indescribable loveliness
all its own.
Hosea 14:6. And his smell as
There shall be a gracious flavour about
you, who are now so sapless and dry, when once the Lord returneth to you
because you have returned to him.
Hosea 14:7. They that dwell
under his shadow shall return;-
Your children, your friends, all those
who live in your house, shall be the better for your repentance and return
to God. They try you now, but when you have left off trying God, they will
leave off trying you. Among a man’s own children, there are often those who
remind him of his own sin against God. Do you wonder that Jacob had so much
trial with his sons when you remember what kind of man he was? Are you
surprised that David’s latter days were so full of trouble when you
recollect his great sin? Ah! But if the Lord restores, and revives, and
refreshes you, your household also shall be blessed: “They that dwell under
his shadow shall return;”—
Hosea 14:7. They shall revive as
the corn and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of
Your household shall have such a
blessedness about them that observers shall say of you and yours, “They are
a seed that the Lord hath blest.” The Lord has a most gracious way of
making families to be very choice and select, and full of comfort and peace,
when those families walk in his fear; but when there is sin in the head of
the household, there comes disorder in the family, the departure of the
divine blessing, and all goes awry.
Hosea 14:8. Ephraim shall say,
What have I to do any more with idols?
“I have had enough of them. They have
cost me sorrow enough; they have plagued me enough. I will put them away,
for I must have my God, and I cannot have him and idols too.”
Hosea 14:8. I have heard him and
God hears the cry of the penitent, and
observes what is going on in his heart.
Hosea 14:8, 9. I am like a
green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. 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.
The Lord give us wisdom, by his Holy
Spirit, to understand and know these things, and to put our understanding to
practical account by returning unto him, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.
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Exposition of Hosea 14
by C H Spurgeon
Hosea 14:1. O Israel, return unto
the LORD thy God,
Bless his name that he is still thy God,
however much thou mayest have backslidden, thou hast not lost thy right to
claim him as thy God, for he is thine eternally by a fixed entail; and
because he is still thy God, let his everlasting kindness entice thee to
come back to him.”
14:1. For thou hast fallen
by thine iniquity.
“Thou hast lost thy comforts, thou hast
become a poor despicable creature; thou hast fallen by thine iniquity, this
is the eve of all the mischief; thy sin is the seed of all thy ruin; get rid
of that, and thou shalt soon have thy comforts back again.”
14:2. Take with you words,
and turn to the LORD: say unto him,-
See he puts the words into your mouth; as
it he felt persuaded that you would say, “Lord, I cannot pray an acceptable
prayer,” be makes one for you, so that you, who have backslidden the most,
and have gone the farthest astray, may have no excuse: “Turn to the Lord:
say unto him,” —
14:2. Take away all
iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our
“Our thankfulness shall give thee such
hearty praise that it shall not be like the Jew’s slender sacrifice, when he
offered the turtle-doves or the young pigeons, but we will give thee of our
praise as hearty a sacrifice as when the devout Israelite brought the young
bullock, the very best of his beasts, to be offered upon the altar of his
God; so we will offer to thee the calves of our lips.”
14:3. Asshur shall not
Backslider, hast thou been putting thy
trust anywhere but in God, hoping to find comfort in the world and in sin?
Then make this confession: “Asshur shall not save us;” —
14:3. We will not ride
These were the confidence of the
Egyptians, and the Israelites vainly tried to imitate their powerful and
rich neighbors, so we will not put our confidence in the strength of
14:3. Neither will we say
any more to the ork of our hands, Ye are our gods:-
Happy is that man who turns aside from
every idol, and trusts in God alone. It is a mark of very black backsliding
when we begin to make our business, our families, our pleasures, and our
bodily health the objects of such tender consideration that we virtually say
to them, “Ye are our gods.”
14:3, 4. For in thee the
fatherless findeth mercy. I will heal their backsliding I will love them
freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.
Everlastingly turned away through the
complete and satisfactory atonement of Jesus Christ.
14:5. I will be as the dew
The dew is God’s gift, and so is grace;
the dew falls silently, yet copiously, and bedews both the leaf and the root
sufficiently. “I will be as the dew unto Israel,” is a promise to the man
of faith, the man of prayer, the man who can endure trial: “I will be as
the dew unto Israel;” —
14:5. He shall grow as the
It is “the daffodil” in the original,
the yellow daffodil, in the East, springs up after a shower where you could
not have perceived anything before; yet there is the idea of frailness in
that simile, so it is balanced by the next one:-
14:5. And cast forth his
roots as Lebanon.
After you have grown upward, you must
grow downward; and growing downward, though it may not be so pleasant, is
quite as excellent as growing upward, so the promise to you is, “He shall
grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.”
14:6. His branches shall
This is growing sideways; so the believer
spreads his branches by public profession and testimony after having become
deeply rooted in the faith and having grown up in love to God, then he
begins to spread his shadow over the sons of men by telling-
“To sinners round,
What a dear Savior he has found.”
14:6. And his beauty shall
be as the olive tree,
Which largely consists in its
fruitfulness. That is always the most beautiful olive which bears the most
fruit; so the fruitful Christian shall have the beauty of the olive tree.
Besides, the olive is an evergreen, and the Christian’s beauty is of a kind
that shall never fade. There is an old saying, “Beauty soon fades” but
that does not mean the Christian’s beauty, for that shall never fade,
neither in life, nor in death, nor in eternity.
14:6. And his smell as
That is, the holy influence of his life
and conversation shall be as fragrant to God and men as are the perfumes
exhaled by the sweet flowers upon the side of Mount Lebanon.
14:7. They that dwell
under his shadow shall return:
His children, his servants, his
congregation shall be blessed by his gracious influence. As the Upas tree
droppeth with deadly poison, so the tree of grace in a Christian droppeth
living drops to fall on dead souls.
14:7. They shall revive as
Which suddenly springs up in the East
after rain falls,-
14:7. And grow as the
The branches shall in their turn become
14:7. The scent thereof
shall be as the wine of Lebanon.
Our families and households should be so
well-ordered that, not only we ourselves personally, but all in our
household, should have a heavenly influence, a blessed savor upon all around
14:8. Ephraim shall say,
What have I to do any more with idols?
Let that question also go round our
ranks, “What have I to do any more with idols; I, who am bought with the
precious blood of Jesus; I, who am named by the name of Jesus; I, who have
been baptized into the Sacred Trinity what have I to do any more with
idols?” You may make an idol of that boy or girl of yours; you may make an
idol of that house or garden of yours, you may make an idol of that business
or profession of yours. Do not so, I entreat you, but rather say, “What
have I to do any more with idols?”
14:8. I have heard him,
and observed him: I am like a green fir tree,
That is what Ephraim says, and this is
what God says:-
14:8. From me is thy fruit
We are never so fruitful as when we get
all our fruit from God. We always shine in borrowed light, and we are always
fruitful in borrowed fruitfulness.
14:9. Who is wise, and he
shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways
of the LORD are right,-
Did your murmuring spirit say that they
were not right? Because you have had some sore trial, did your repining
spirit say that they were not right? They are certainly right, and you shall
see that it is so one day: “The ways of the Lord are right,” —
14:9. And the just shall
walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.
Even in God’s good ways, transgressors
cannot stand; they fall even when they try to praise God, or to pray to him;
and this is a sad proof of man’s deep depravity, that even when he is
engaged in the worship of God the thing which is in itself good becomes
obnoxious to God by reason of the sin which is certain to be mingled with
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