If sinful souls are not healed and helped,
but perish in their sin and misery, they cannot blame God,
for He could and would have healed them.
They are not healed because they will not be,
refusing to look to God even when they are reaping the sore results of sin.
Let all such remember that all their works are remembered and will have to be faced.
1 When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without.
2 And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face.
3 They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.
4 They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened.
5 In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners.
6 For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.
7 They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me.
8 Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.
9 Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.
10 And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him for all this.
11 ¶ Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.
12 When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard.
13 Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me.
14 And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me.
15 Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against me.
16 They return, but not to the most High: they are like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.
Hosea 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Hosea 7 – Iniquity Uncovered.
The last clause of the previous chapter belongs to this. God desired to turn aside the captivity of his people and to heal Israel, but his pleading was unavailing because of their inveterate sin. This evil-doing witnessed against them (v. 2). Their passions did not need incitement, just as an oven retains its heat without the baker’s continued attention. The royal birthday was celebrated with drunken orgies, and the national religion had become a confused mixture of Gentile superstition and the old Hebrew faith. In this Israel resembled a cake not turned – crisp on one side, sour and uneatable on the other (v. 8).
What a searching suggestion comes in v. 9! Can it be that strangers have been stealing away our strength, without our realizing that deterioration is creeping steadily through our religious life? Silently the frosty air steals the warmth from boiling water; silently the fungus pitches its tent in the autumn woods; silently old age fastens on the stalwart frame. Thus also our spiritual strength declines, unless we watch and pray; and when it ebbs away, we become foolish as the dove which flies straight into the snare, and useless as the deceitful bow which turns aside in the archer’s hand (vs. 11 and 16). (Meyer)
Hosea 7:9—Gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.
Sin in its worst forms was prevalent among the people, and secretly deteriorated their strength. Of this, however, they were unconscious; but imagined that they were as strong as at other times, anticipating long years of national prosperity. They little weaned that they had reached the old age of their history, with its attendant decrepitude and helplessness. What a striking illustration of the insidious process of decay, of unconscious deterioration, of the departure of the Samson-might while we wist it not.
But is not this always the case with the initial stages of backsliding, of which this is the most dangerous element, that we are so largely unaware of the change that has come over us? Gradually and almost insensibly we lose our watchfulness over our thoughts; our relish for the society of God’s people; our delight in God’s house; our interest in the salvation of others; our sensitiveness of conscience as to the conventionalities of trade or society. We do not realize it; we are not specially concerned; we have no idea that the white ant is eating out the substance of our furniture, and the dry-rot undermining the rafters of our house. Strangers are devouring our strength; grey hairs are indicating our decay—to all eyes but our own. We grow grey almost imperceptibly; the strength of our manhood is very slowly undermined; the degrees of spiritual declension are as the fall of the year through the last days of summer. But it need not be if we would regard ourselves in the mirror of God’s Word.
“It is strange: but life’s currents drift us
So surely and swiftly on,
That we scarcely notice the changes
And how many things are gone.” (Meyer)