“I have seen Ephraim, like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place. But Ephraim will bring out their children to the slayer.” (Hosea 9:13 NIV)
How do you think God sees you?
How do you think God wishes to see you?
Some people think of God as the stern task master sitting in Heaven with a baseball bat just waiting for someone to screw-up so He can come out swinging.
I have to tell you though this not how God wishes to be seen. God wants to be seen as a Being of Blessing.
When God said “I have seen Ephraim like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place.”, He was speaking not only of how it was but of how He wished it to be.
Tyre was the international status symbol of wealth and power in Hosea’s time. God was saying He wanted to see Israel (Ephraim) in that position. In Hosea 11 God says:
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son….It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms;…I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.” Hosea 11:1-3 NIV
God has the same loving desire for you. the Scriptures say:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:18 NIV
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Ro. 5:8 NIV
But there is a disconnect. Not on God’s side, the trouble comes from us. You see, like Israel we cause the problem by walking away from the loving arms of God telling Him “It’s not enough!”
So Israel didn’t receive the promise of being planted in pleasant places permanently. Instead they brought their children out to the slayer.
God said of them, “the more I called Israel, the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images….they did not realize it was I who healed them.” (Hosea 11:1-3 NIV)
So instead of the “pleasant places” they chose destruction at the hands of Assyria. We have to realize it is not God who chose judgment it was Israel. Judgment is an unavoidable result of sin not repented from.
As it was with them so it is with us. We make much of our freedoms and our riches. Israel did the same, thinking that these blessings were reliant solely upon their Israeli ingenuity. But they were wrong and so are we. Freedom and prosperity are direct results of godly righteousness in a nation.
Because Israel chose the way of judgment God leveled certain punishments against them. See if any of these things sound familiar:
1. A spirit of prostitution: ever-increasing sexual and spiritual immorality with a sense from the people that they could not control themselves. (Hosea 5:1-4)
2. The women of Israel would begin to experience difficulty in conceiving and carrying children to term. (Hosea 9:14)
3. War. Hosea 10: 14
4. Corruption in politics Hosea 7:1-8:4
The key for the Israelites which could have unlocked the chains of their destruction was repentance toward God. Today the word that Hosea speaks to us is that God does not want to judge. He wants us to turn back to Him and receive the “pleasant places” He has in store for us!
What will we as a nation choose?