Joy is a forbidden fruit to those who have broken covenant with God,
until they return and make their peace with God.
If men make things of the world and flesh their portion,
it is just with God to deny them the comfort of them to bring man to a sense of his folly.
The day of recompense hastens on apace toward all who go a whoring from God.
1 Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor.
2 The floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her.
3 They shall not dwell in the LORD’S land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria.
4 They shall not offer wine offerings to the LORD, neither shall they be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted: for their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the LORD.
5 What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the LORD?
6 For, lo, they are gone because of destruction: Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them: the pleasant places for their silver, nettles shall possess them: thorns shall be in their tabernacles.
7 The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.
8 The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God.
9 They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.
10 I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baal-peor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved.
11 As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception.
12 Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, that there shall not be a man left: yea, woe also to them when I depart from them!
13 Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer.
14 Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.
15 All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.
16 Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.
17 My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations.
Hosea 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Hosea 9:1-9 – ”The Days of Recompense Are Come.”
The subject of this chapter is the bitterness of the captivity which was awaiting Israel as the result of their unfaithfulness. Their exile would put an effectual end to their idolatrous and sensual feasts. Every pleasure would be removed and every taste would be offended. The contrasts here are very significant. If men choose unclean things when they might have clean, a situation will be created in which only unclean things shall be attainable (v. 3). If they withhold God’s offerings when they have plenty, they will presently be reduced to such straits as not to have wherewith to sacrifice or even to sustain life (vs. 4-5). If we go down to Egypt for help, in Egypt we shall die (vs. 6-7). In other words, every sin carries within itself the seed of its own avenging. If allowed to work itself out, its harvest is unutterable and irretrievable.
What a privilege Ephraim had within his grasp, as a watchman with God (v. 8)! It is to this privilege, also, that our Saviour calls all of us. He says to us, as he said to his disciples, Tarry ye here, and watch with me (Matthew 26:38). But too often we refuse to heed the gracious challenge, and allow ourselves to be seduced by the tempter, or by the sloth and corruption of our own hearts (vs. 8-9). (Meyer)
Hosea 9:8—The watchman of Ephraim was with my God.
Watch with God. — To watch with God is the privilege of comparatively few. Eight were left outside the garden; to three only did Jesus say, “Come and watch.” To watch for the morning star, for the first flowers of the coming spring, for the coming of the Bridegroom, for the setting up of the Kingdom—such is the privilege of those elect souls who are bidden to take their lamps, and go forth to meet the Bridegroom. It is a high honor to be appointed to watch with God the slow evolution of his purpose; to stand on the watch-tower and see what He will say; to be a watchman for the people, a spokesman of their danger when the sword approaches; to be allowed to enter into some of his tears, and yearnings, and prayers, as He beholds the city and weeps over it.
Watch against sin. — But we may be displaced from that position of privilege and responsibility as Israel was. We learn that at this time the chosen had deeply corrupted themselves, as in the darkest days of the Judges; and we may fall into similar corruption and rebellion, unless we watch ourselves, whilst we watch with God. Let us watch and pray, lest we enter into temptation. Corruption is always around us in this world of death. Its germs float on every breeze. We need, therefore, to steep ourselves in the antiseptic of the Holy Spirit’s grace. This is the true Eucalyptus in which the germs of disease perish.
Watch unto Prayer. — “Prayer,” said Phillips Brooks, “is not compelling God’s reluctance, but laying hold of God’s willingness.” It is as though we waited for God’s movements to bless us, and taking the stream at the flow, launched our heavy barge upon it, that his power might bear us forward. (Meyer)
Hosea 9:10-17 – ”Wanderers among the Nations.”
At the Exodus the love and thanks of Israel were as delightful to God as grapes in the desert or as the first ripe figs. But they gave themselves up to the idols of the heathen, and soon became as abominable as the impure gods which they chose.
The prophet does not hesitate to speak plainly of the effects of the awful license of that age. He says that a nation which sins as Israel had sinned must, in the very nature of things, cease to exist. The birth-rate declines and the family-life is stricken at its roots. So long as the home is reverenced, and there is a pure and holy love between man and woman, so long, and only so long, is the nation safe. All the battalions that tyrant ever mustered, break on that rock of chrysolite in vain. But sin is like dry-rot, which eats out the vitality and virility of a people. It is an awful verdict when God says, They shall bear no fruit (v. 16). We all know the fate of the unfruitful bough. It is only as we yield fruit that we are worth sparing. Will the nations of today learn this lesson? And may we not all question whether the lack of spiritual children does not betoken some degeneracy of our secret life? (Meyer)