There is a time when Jehovah will not be found when it is time for His judgments to fall on a rebellious, sinful people.
He will take no notice of their troubles or prayers,
until they become sensible of their guilt,
and are brought to humble themselves before Him for it.
1 Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king; for judgment is toward you, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.
2 And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuker of them all.
3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled.
4 They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD.
5 And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them.
6 They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them.
7 They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions.
8 Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Beth-aven, after thee, O Benjamin.
9 Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be.
10 The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.
11 Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment.
12 Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness.
13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.
14 For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.
15 ¶ I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.
Hosea 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Hosea 5 – God’s Rebuke of Apostasy.
The prophet continues his grave indictment of his people. The court and the priesthood were chiefly responsible for the awful degeneracy that was eating out the national heart. The seductions to idolatry that abounded everywhere resembled the snares and nets set by hunters on the wooded heights of Gilead and Tabor.
Suddenly, within a month (v. 7), an alarm sounds from hill to hill. The foreign invader has entered the country and is slowly marching southward. Even Benjamin is threatened. Ephraim must suffer because of the institutions of Omri and Ahab (v. 11); and Judah, because her princes were grasping and fraudulent. Though message after message was sent to procure the help of Jareb – a symbolical name for Assyria, “the warlike,” he would not be able to avert the approaching dissolution of the Jewish state. You cannot stop the dry-rot by grand alliances. Nothing can save a nation in whose heart the worst forms of corruption are being nourished, except a wholesale return to God and a seeking of his face. It is certain that if this lesson were profoundly learned and then practised, the horrors of a world in arms would come to a speedy and a blessed end. (Meyer)
Hosea 5:15—I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face.
The withdrawal of God’s countenance and protection involved the exile of Israel from their own land. No weapon formed against them could prosper, so long as they walked with their Almighty Friend; but sin severed them from his care, and cut them adrift to be swept before the storm of the invader.
There is always a “till” in God’s withdrawals. He tears that He may heal; goes that He may come; leaves, that He may return so soon as the afflicted soul is led to seek his face. May not this be your lot? You seem deserted by man and God; life is going very hardly with you; thick darkness broods over your soul, and sore affliction devastates your life; yes, and worse is threatened. But is there not an offence somewhere that needs to be acknowledged; a sin that should be confessed?
Search yourself by the suggestions of this chapter. Have you in any way been a snare or a net to other souls, injuring them by your example or conversation (v. 1)? Have you been unfaithful to your immortal lover, Christ (v. 3)? Have you become proud of any of God’s gifts, or the position to which they have lifted you (v. 5)? Have you been grasping and fraudulent, like those who secretly remove the landmark to include a little more of their neighbor’s lands with their own (v. 10)? Have you willingly walked after the statutes of Omri (v. 11, and 1 Kings 16:25)? Have you gone for help away from God to some unhallowed alliance, such as is represented by King Jareb, the Assyrian, whose alliance Israel sought (v. 13)? Ask God what controversy He has with you, and put it away. You will be astonished to discover what evils you have been harboring. But the result will be salutary indeed. (Meyer)