Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 70
ADULTEROUS ISRAEL TO BE RESTORED – PART 1
Hosea 2:14 – 4:14
Okay, it is good to see everybody in this afternoon. I’ll have to share with our television audience that we’ve got folks here — I hope I can remember them all — from Minnesota, Mississippi, Iowa, Oklahoma, of course, and Michigan. Now, did I hit everybody? Hopefully. Anyway, we’re glad to have folks stop in when they’re — and there’s Texas –but you haven’t been here that long.
Anyway, for all of you out in television, we’re glad that you’ve invited us into your home or wherever you are. Again, we always have to thank every one of you for your prayer support and for all that goes with it. Again, we love your letters. Sometimes they’re a little too short. Sometimes they’re a little too long, but we love them anyway.
Okay, we’re going to pick right up where we left off in our last program, which was over a month ago, I guess. We’re in Hosea. We’re going to be looking at chapter 2 verse 14. Now again, for just a little bit of recap, you want to remember that these are the minor prophets. They’re not called minor because they’re of lesser importance, but simply because they’re shorter in content.
They’re not nearly as long as Isaiah and Jeremiah and Ezekiel. A lot of it is repetition, so bear with me. A lot of the things that we brought out in the Book of Isaiah are popping up again in all these minor prophets, because you see, the whole scope of the Old Testament, from Genesis chapter 12 on, is the Lord preparing the Nation of Israel for the coming of their Messiah, Redeemer, King, and a Kingdom. In the time that elapsed, of course, Israel is going to go so deep into unbelief that they will actually become an idolatrous nation. That’s what we’re dealing with primarily in these minor prophets – their idolatry.
As we pointed out in the first chapter of Hosea, if you just read it casually, you’d think that God is actually talking in terms of the prostitution and the houses of ill repute. But when He tells Hosea to go and marry a harlot, He’s not talking about physical sexuality as we’re thinking of it. It’s all in the realm of the Spirit. So, it’s this constant reference that all of this idolatry and all of this chasing after idols are like a man chasing after the women of the street. Always keep in mind that we’re talking about Israel and idolatry. That was God’s number one controversy with the people of Israel. It is unbelievable that here you have the covenant people brought out of Egypt miraculously through the Red Sea, brought down to Sinai, given the Law and the Temple and the Priesthood, and then miraculously brought into the Promised Land, and then within a few hundred years they are just as steeped in idolatry as the other nations around them.
Of course, that’s why to the casual reader God seemed so harsh way up there in Moses’ time — when God says to Israel to have nothing to do with those people. Don’t intermarry with them. Then later on when He told them to cleanse the land, He even said to kill all the men, women, and children. Well, it wasn’t because God was so heartless. God knew that if He didn’t take idolatrous people away from contact with His people, it never goes the good way. It always goes the bad way.
This is what I tell young people when they start dating – “Don’t ever start dating someone, boy or girl, with the idea that you’re going to win them to the Lord and you’re going to make them better.” Usually it doesn’t work. It goes the other way. The same thing with Israel after all of their warnings, here we find them now, at the time of Hosea, which is only about 300 years after King David. We’re talking about 700 BC and David was 1000 BC, Moses – 1500 BC. But in that relatively short period of time, the Nation of Israel has gone totally into idolatry, with just a scattered, few true believers; and they were hated by the majority.
I mean just like today, you folks are finding out. You take the truth of these things into a liberal church Sunday school and they just about ride you out on a rail. That’s the way it’s always been. Okay, let’s jump in here now, Hosea chapter 2 verse 14.
“Therefore, behold, (This is God speaking to the Nation through the prophet. God said,) I will allure her, (In other words, just like a suitor.) I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.” Now, I think this is a reflection on their wilderness experience after they came out of Egypt, and how God providentially watched over them and cared for them and supplied their every need. He’s going to try and do it again to bring them back to Himself. All right, now verse 15 is a promise of blessing, not of discipline, but blessing.
“And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope:…” Now that’s a play on words. Because the first time you heard about Achor — who knows what it was associated with? Achan — it was the first city after Jericho, after they came into the Promised Land. They were told to go up and destroy the city of Ai, which evidently was a materially well-to-do city. God told them to destroy all the material goods. He warned them – don’t even take a nickel’s worth of anything.
But you see, Achan, a good Jew, thought he could get away with it. You remember what he did. He took some of the spoil, buried it, and thought that at some future day he could come back and capitalize on it. But, you see, God wouldn’t let it go. The whole nation was chastised for that one sinful event. So, Achor was a place of curse, not blessing. But now, when it comes to the time of God’s blessing, He uses the valley of Achor as a place of hope. All right, now reading on in verse 15:
“…and she shall sing there, (Now then, we’re talking about the Nation of Israel.) as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” You see where the correlation is? He’s comparing their present time now, which is, let’s see, my goodness, we’re talking about 800-900 years after the fact, that God is still using the coming out of Egypt and going through the wilderness as an illustration of His protective blessing.
“And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, (I’ve got to emphasize this is God speaking through the prophet.) that thou shalt call me Ishi;…” Which translated means “my husband.” In other words, God would be a husband to Israel as His wife. There again, here’s where you come to that constant correlation in Scripture. In the marriage relationship as a husband is to wife, so God is to His people. Now, in this case, of course, it’s the ancient Nation of Israel.
But, jump with me all the way up to Ephesians. We have that same analogy between Christ and you and me as members of the Body of Christ in Ephesians chapter 5. I do this just to show that all of Scripture has that same kind of a thread from beginning to end. Israel was to be like a wife with God as her husband. All right, now look how Paul puts it for us as believers today. Ephesians chapter 5 and we’ll jump in at verse 21. You see, the analogy is the same whether it’s for us in the Body or what was for Israel in a national relationship under the Old Testament economy.
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” I always have to repeat, Paul always talks or writes to one class of people. Who is it? The believer. Never the unbeliever. All right, so to the believers there at Ephesus, or to you and I today as believers, the instruction is to “submit yourselves one to another in the fear (or the reverence) of God.” Now, here comes the relationship.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, (But how?) as unto the Lord.” Here comes the spiritual connection even to a physical relationship — verse 23.
“For the husband is the head of the wife, (But again what’s the connection?) even as Christ is the head of the church:…(or the Body)” That’s the comparison — that a husband should have the love and concern and protection for his wife that Christ has for the Church. And it’s such a practical lesson. All right, read it again.
“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church:…” My, what a beautiful illustration. A husband should have so much love for his wife (now just watch my wife smile!) that he’d be willing to do what for her? Die for her!
That’s where Abraham failed. Way back in the very beginning of the Nation, Abraham failed miserably. Because, you see, when he came into enemy territory, he must have had a very beautiful wife; and he was scared to death that they would kill him in order to have his wife. So, what does he do? He says to tell them that you’re my sister. Well, in reality, she was a half-sister. But see, he didn’t have that concept that he was willing to die for his wife. But see, that’s where we’re to be, simply because Christ loved the church and did what? He died for us! That’s our whole plan of redemption. Okay, read on.
“…even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. (He is the reason that we’re members with him as husband and wife) 24. Therefore as the church (or the Body of Christ) is subject unto Christ, (He’s always above us. We are always submissive to Him.) so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”
But see, here’s where we have to be careful. If you’re going to keep the analogy intact, in which way will the husband put his wife in subjection? Well, the same way Christ has us in subjection. And is it ever for our disadvantage? Never! To be in subjection to Christ is always for our own good. It’s the only place to be. Well, that’s the way a wife should feel about her husband — that she couldn’t find herself under any better circumstances because of her respect and love for the one who is over her. Not as a doormat. Not as a “go-for,” but in a relationship that is as Christ loved the church. Now, verse 25:
“Husbands, love your wives, even (again) as Christ also loved the church, and (Did what?) gave himself for it;” All right, now that is the constant analogy of Scripture. All right, let’s go back to Hosea. This is exactly the relationship that God is yearning to restore again with the covenant people, the Nation of Israel. All right, back to verse 16 of Hosea 2.
“And is shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; (or husband) and shalt call me no more Baali.” Or in other words, just another god. Now then verse 17. If Israel would respond and turn away from chasing after all the idols of the Gentiles around them, then He says:
“For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.” In other words, He would remove even the memory of all these pagan gods and goddesses.
“And in that day (when Israel responds) will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, (Now, we’re getting right down where the rubber meets the road! Even the wild beasts are going to be influenced by God’s relationship with His beloved Israel.) and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.”
All right, let’s go back real quickly to Isaiah chapter 11 and get a glimpse of what the Lord is talking about — this glorious Kingdom Age when Christ would rule and reign over His covenant people as well as the rest of the world. These are some of the reactions or results of it. You’ve all seen these verses before. Isaiah chapter 11 and we’ll start at verse 5. This is what’s coming. We can’t imagine it today. But, Beloved, it’s coming! I’m always making that statement – if prophecy says it, it’s going to happen! Now, it may be a few years, but we’re getting close. My, when you see the world tonight, today, in all of its perplexity and all of its unsolvable problems–
You know, I was reading an editorial in our Daily Oklahoman the other day, and it was so good I read it to Iris, the whole editorial. It was by a well known — I think it was a Washington Post writer — Charles Krauthammer. I think most of you have probably seen him on talk shows and so forth. Well, he was laying out the two alternatives that the world is facing.
Of course, the one that is Number One and has to face it first is our own President. Well, the one alternative was to go in and stop Iran in her tracks; and that, of course, would bring about a horrendous war of some kind. It would be a complete disruption of all the oil supply. It would probably send the whole world into a horrible economic crash. But that’s what would have to happen if you’re going to stop Iran.
The other alternative is to do nothing and let them go ahead and build their nuclear force, and then they in turn will either blackmail the world or start blowing us to smithereens. Those are the two alternatives. And he says, “Our President has got twelve months to make up his mind.” How’d you like to be in his shoes? Either one is disaster. Well, that’s the world we’re living in. That’s what Jesus meant when He said it will be filled with perplexity. Now, you know what perplexity is. Just as I’ve explained – how are you going to make a choice between two horrible alternatives? It’s perplexing.
But, you see, everything is getting the world ready for the glorious kingdom that’s coming. Everything on this planet is going to be destroyed. We know that. But out of it is going to come what the Lord is telling Israel even back in Hosea, but we get a better picture of it now in Isaiah.
“And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, (That is of the ruling king, which will be Christ Himself.) and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 6. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,…” Remember what Hosea said? The wild animals and everything that’s wild, the fowl, the birds of prey.
“…and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; (or the baby goat) and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; (all in perfect harmony, now) and a little child shall lead them.” In other words, even children can play amongst these that are, today, carnivorous wild animals — Verse 7.
“And the cow and the bear shall feed; (In other words, they’ll graze in the same area.) their young ones shall lie down together: (Whether it’s a baby sheep, a lamb, or whether it’s a kid of the goats, or it’s the cub of the lions, they’ll all be interacting peacefully.) and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.” In other words, it won’t be a meat eater. It will be vegetarian. It’ll eat things that grow naturally. And then verse 8:
“A nursing child shall play on the hole of an asp, (a poisonous snake in the Middle East.) and the weaned child (a little toddler) shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 9. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all of my holy mountain: (Why?) for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”
This isn’t some pie in the sky. This is coming on the planet. That’s the analogy. It’s going to be perfect harmony throughout all the planet’s existence, whether it’s humanity or the birds and the fowl and so forth. All right, the other point is that the bow will be broken. Come back to Hosea, back to chapter 2, where the bow and the sword will be totally removed. You all know those verses, where they will turn their swords into plowshares. It is going to be a total economy of peace and prosperity and tremendous production beyond what you and I can ever imagine. All right, now verse 19.
“And I will betroth (Or, like we would say, bring into a place of engagement.) thee unto me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness and in mercies.” Oh, now that brings up another verse. Go back to II Samuel, because this was all in prophecy all the way back. How God would deal with His covenant people Israel. Here God is now dealing with King David, but He’s speaking through the prophet Nathan.
Look what He tells Nathan concerning, not just David, but the whole Nation of Israel. II Samuel 7:14 & 15 — now, He’s talking about the Nation,
II Samuel 7:14
“I will be his father, (Now, in this case, it’s a father and son relationship. In Hosea we’re talking about husband and wife.) and he shall be my son. If (God knew it was coming.) he commit iniquity, (Which at the time of Hosea was primarily what? The idolatry. And the idolatry led to every other sin and wickedness you could think of. All right, so here it is.) If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, (Invading armies. And they’re coming.) and with the stripes of the children of men:”
In another place in Isaiah it says, “and you’ll be hearing strange languages.” Well, what did that imply? Occupying troops of the enemy. That was Israel’s constant warning. All right, now look at verse 15, what’s the first word? “But…” The flipside! Even though God will permit nations to come in and invade them and down trod them, steal their grain and enslave their children–
II Samuel 7:15-16
“But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. (Now, we’re coming back to the relationship of David and Saul, but the big picture is God and Israel!) 16. And thine house (the house of David) and thy kingdom (that’s still coming) shall be established forever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”
All right, now when we talk about mercy up there in verse 15– I can’t help it, I always have to come back– I hope it is Deuteronomy chapter 33. I’ve got 32, hopefully it’s 33. No, it isn’t. But anyway, He says, I’m going to give mercy to whom I will give mercy. Exodus 33:19, I thought it was Deuteronomy, but it’s the wrong book.
“And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” That’s what He told Moses – I will be merciful to whom I will be merciful. Well, what does that imply? His Sovereignty! His Sovereignty and we sometimes think how can God do that? Because He’s Sovereign.
Now, I mentioned the Holocaust in one of my classes the other night. We know the Holocaust was probably one of the worst times in all of Israel’s history. Why did God let it happen? Well, He had to. It had to happen. Here’s the point. Had Israel not gone into that horror of the Holocaust, do you think the Nation of Israel would be where it is today? It would have never happened. It took the horrors and the pressures of the Holocaust to get the Jew to go back to their homeland. And they had to go back to their homeland. Because we’re going to see later this afternoon that was all part of God’s program – that He would scatter them and He would bring them back. All right, back for just a couple of minutes to Hosea chapter 2 and verse 20, again.
“I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: (They’re no longer going to run after idols and pagan gods.) and thou shalt know the LORD. 21. And it shall come to pass in that day, (When Israel is back into complete fellowship with her Jehovah God.) I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they (the heavens) shall hear the earth; 22. And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.”
Well, what does that mean? When Israel comes into the place of blessing, everything they plant will grow and produce like you and I cannot imagine! You know, Amos, I think I’ve got time. Let’s go quickly over to Amos. Just go ahead a little ways to Amos, I think it’s the last chapter. This agrees completely with the time when Israel finally comes into this Kingdom Age and Jehovah is ruling and reigning from Jerusalem. Amos chapter 9, drop all the way down to verse 13, and tie this in with what we just read; that the earth will respond to being sowed, and it’s going to produce.
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman (The one who’s tilling and preparing the soil.) shall overtake the reaper, (The guy who’s harvesting the previous crop. It’s going to be such continuous production.) and the treader of grapes will over take him that soweth the seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. (And again, the same analogy) 15. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up…”