Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 70
ISRAEL’S GLORY IS STILL AHEAD OF HER – 3
Hosea 5:1 – 9:7
For those of you joining us on television, I think I mentioned in the last program, if you’re ever in the Mid-west and you can get into Tulsa for a Wednesday afternoon come in and do an afternoon of taping with us. We always appreciate especially out-of-staters, because, well, there’s just something about it to know that we’re reaching beyond Oklahoma’s borders.
All right, we’re just a Bible Study. Again, we like to always thank our listening audience for everything that you make possible. We thank you for your letters and for your prayers. Keep praying for us and even our daughter. How she appreciates the fact that so many people are praying for her. It does make a difference.
All right, we’re going to go right back in and keep working at this Book of Hosea. I kind of wanted to finish it today in the next program, but we’ll have to wait and see. But now chapter 7, I’m going to skip over a few verses in chapter 6 and go on into chapter 7. It’s still God’s controversy with the Nation as a whole, but the Northern Kingdom in particular.
When we speak of Ephraim, or Israel, we’re talking about the northern Ten Tribes. Judah and Benjamin, of course, are down at the south where they still have the Temple worship. Don’t ever forget that. That all the while we’re dealing with all this idolatry, they’ve still got the Temple worship. The capital of Israel (Northern Kingdom) was Samaria. Don’t lose sight of that.
You know, it just comes to mind when I maintain that Jesus never had a ministry among anyone but Jews. He had nothing to do with Gentiles except the two mentioned. Then I get letters that say, well, what do you do with the woman at the well? She was a Gentile. No, she wasn’t a Gentile. She was a Samaritan. Samaritans were these tribes of the north. After they had been taken captive, some either came back or remained and they are intermarried. So, the Samaritans of Christ’s day were half-breed Jews. That’s why they were detested by the rank and file Jew. But they were Jews. They weren’t Gentile. And Samaria was the capital of the Northern Kingdom. All right, I just had to get that in.
“When I would have healed Israel, (the Northern Kingdom) then the iniquity of Ephraim (That’s the other name for the Northern Kingdom.) was discovered, (In other words, God couldn’t heal them because they still were not turning from their idolatry.) and the wickedness of Samaria: (Now, Samaria was Jews.) for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troops of robbers spoileth without.” Do you see what a society they had become? It was rotten to the core. That’s what the Scripture calls them.
“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 (Here we come again, we go right to the top of the political spectrum.) glad with their wickedness, (He saw nothing wrong with all the rot that they were doing.) and the princes (That is the next echelon below the king.) with their lies. 4. They are all adulterers, (They were all mixing their Judaism with idolatry.) as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising (that is the dough) after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened.”
Now, whenever I read something like this in the Old Testament, I’m reminded of when Iris and I were at Pompeii. There were big, outdoor brick-made ovens. Of course the baker would come in the night before and get the dough kneaded and ready. Then early in the morning, as the guide would explain it to us, they would put the bread into the ovens so the citizens of Pompeii would be ready to come down and buy fresh bread in the morning.
Well, you have it here. Israel, or the Northern Kingdom, is going to be likened now to a baker and his ovens. I’m going to come back here in a little bit, but I want to continue on with this thought, so come on down to verse 6. Here is an analogy of how Israel was spiritually. They are like an oven.
“For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: (In other words, they’re waiting for the bread to be baked, and so forth, so they can take it back home.) their baker sleepeth all the night; (He’s not paying attention to anything. And while he’s sleeping all the night, the fire that is heating the oven is not controlled, but it’s what?) in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.” He hasn’t been minding his business. All right, now you’ve got an overheated oven. This is interesting. At least I think it is. Here we have an overheated oven, verse 7.
“They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; (In other words, they just simply ruined anything that smacked of goodness.) all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me. 8. (God says.) Ephraim, (again, the Northern Kingdom) he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.”
Now, we’ve got to come back to the oven concept. Here you’ve got this red-hot oven, and you’ve got a sluggard baker. He puts the dough in, and it’s likened to a pancake, now. It hits that hot oven, and he doesn’t turn it. So, what happened? Well, the bottom side is black as coal and the topside is still raw. Can you eat the stuff? Now, my wife has never done that! But you get the picture? That was Israel–like a cake not turned. That’s bad enough. But it was a cake that was put in an uncontrolled, heated oven. It was worthless. You got the picture? That was Israel. All right, now let’s jump back up and pick up verse 4.
“They are all adulterers, (Spiritually–they are all worshipping pagan gods.) as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising (who does not take care of his business) after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened.” Now, I have to stop at that word leavened. In Scripture, what is leaven always likened to? Sin! And it’s always with that impression that when leaven enters it doesn’t stop until when? It consumes the whole. That’s the whole idea of leaven. It’s always pictured as evil in Scripture.
So, when we go back to Israel going into the land of Canaan, as I referred to it in the last program, why did God instruct them to kill all the Canaanites? Because if one of them was left alive with his idols, he would be like what? Leaven. And that’s exactly what it was. Now, it took a few hundred years, but the leaven did its work until it permeated the whole Nation of Israel. All right, let’s not leave it with Israel. Let’s bring it up to our own day and time.
Come up with me to I Corinthians where Paul uses the same analogy. I Corinthians chapter 5 and this is where you can compare Scripture with Scripture. Don’t just write the Old Testament off as inappropriate. I was going to use the verse when I started this afternoon and I forgot, but it’s in Romans 15 verse 4. What is it? Yes, you’re nodding your heads. You all know it.
Now all these things were written aforetime for our learning. Well, I hope you’re learning. I hope you’re getting the picture of how ungodliness and rebelliousness destroyed the Nation of Israel. Hate hasn’t quit, and Satan hasn’t quit. All right, I Corinthians chapter 5, drop in at verse 6. Now, this is just after the church at Corinth has found gross immorality in their midst. And, just like today, instead of weeping over this sinful act and situation, what were they doing? Well, they were making light of it. They were glorying in it – well, at least I’m not like that guy. So, here’s the admonition.
I Corinthians 5:6
“Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth (How much?) the whole lump? Now, what’s the warning? We’re dealing with the local church here, of course. If you don’t deal with this, it won’t be long and somebody else can say, well, if he’s doing it, why shouldn’t I? And it just keeps coming and coming until finally the whole congregation finds nothing wrong with some of these gross misdeeds. And that’s always the danger. If sin isn’t dealt with, it just continues to work like leaven.
Now again, like I said at the beginning of our first program this afternoon, what did I tell you? All of these warnings of Israel have a multi-layered application. First, whether it’s a nation and it works with nations – as their leadership goes – the next level goes. It goes right down to the population. All right, we can bring it into the Spiritual realm. A denomination–where does a denomination start to get rotten? At the top. And then comes the next layer. Then it gets into the seminaries. From the seminaries it goes out to the congregations and the whole is leavened.
Then bring it down to the individual. No individual is all of a sudden going to go clear out into a life of carnality overnight. Rather, it’s a gradual thing. And unless the Lord convicts us and brings us back, we are prone to just keep slipping and slipping and slipping. Of course, we call it backsliding. But nevertheless, it’s the constant warning that once sin makes an entrance, it’s going to be just like leaven. It’s going to continue to work until it is totally excluded.
All right, now let’s jump back to Galatians chapter 5, and, oh my, I almost have to start at verse 1. This is too good to skip! Paul has just come out of chapter 4 using the allegory of Ishmael and Isaac, who were pictures of Law and Grace. Ishmael was of the flesh. God didn’t tell Abraham to go have a child with the slave girl. That was of the flesh. It was Sarah and Abraham. All right, but God told Abraham that he would have a son that was promised. That was Isaac. All right, now in chapter 4 God, through the Holy Spirit, causes Paul to write that Ishmael was a picture of the flesh (it was the Law, Judaism, it was fleshly) as over against Paul’s Gospel of Grace, which is spiritual. It’s heavenly and all the rest. So, he makes that analogy.
In fact, go back to chapter 4, verse 25.
“For this Hagar (the mother of Ishmael) is Mount Sinai in Arabia,…” Well, good heavens, what happened at Mount Sinai in Arabia? Moses got the Law! All right, so that was a picture of Ishmael, of the flesh. The Law was fleshly. It had no real power. Now on the other hand, up in verse 26 of chapter 4.
“But Jerusalem which is above (that’s our connection) is free, (liberty, total freedom) and is the mother of us all.” As believers. That’s Grace.
Okay, but come all the way down to chapter 5 verse 1. I wasn’t intending to do this. This is all coming off the top. I can’t help it.
“Stand fast therefore…” Now, that’s positionally. Don’t be wishy-washy. Don’t listen to this preacher and say, well, he must be right. Then don’t listen to me and say, well, Les Feldick must be right. Then tomorrow you listen to somebody else, well, now that doesn’t agree with Les, but he must be right. No. Don’t be swayed with every wind of doctrine. Stand fast. You know, I usually use the term – set in concrete. That’s still the best. Just set yourself in concrete and stay in the Word, especially in Paul’s Grace that he teaches.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty (the freedom) wherewith Christ hath made us free, (How? By taking our sin in that work of the cross.) and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” The Law. Legalism. Now verse 2.
“Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, (as part of salvation) Christ shall profit you nothing.” You know when I teach this I always say you can put anything in there that you can do in the flesh. I don’t care what it is. Church membership. Baptism. Repentance of sin. Tongues. Giving. You name it. If you’re going to put that in as part of your salvation, you’ve canceled the cross. You’ve just literally put an “X” through it, because God will not have it, because He finished the work of salvation. It and it alone is going to get us to Glory. All right, so he says, “I say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” Verse 3.
“For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, (Now be careful. Are you using this as your salvation?) that he is a debtor to do the whole law.” If you’re going to use one part of legalism, you’ve got to carry the whole thing through. And no man can do it.
“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; (or by works) ye are fallen (or you have turned your back) from grace.” It doesn’t mean you are saved and lost. Don’t ever buy that. It just simply means that if you’re depending on something other than the Gospel, the finished work of Christ, then you are rejecting God’s Grace. All right, now I’m getting down to the word I want down in verse 9.
“For, we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith (and faith alone) which worketh by love. 7. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?”
Now, you remember the problem with the Galatians was that false teachers were coming in and telling them that they had to do this and they had to do that and that Paul’s Gospel alone wasn’t sufficient. So Paul says, what’s happened to you? Who fried your brain? That’s what I asked somebody the other day. I said, “Who fried your brain? How in the world do you get so goofed up?” But, oh, they do. Oh, you can’t believe what people come up with. All right, here Paul is saying the same thing. Verse 7 again.
“Ye did run well; (You were off to a good start.) who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8. This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. (This isn’t God’s doing. Now, here comes the verse.) 9. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Now, what was it saying? If you’re going to bring in just a little bit of legalism, it’s going to ruin everything. You’ve just got to keep it out of the picture. And it’s not easy.
Oh, they want to always put you in a place where you’ve got to do something, and God won’t have it. And so a “little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,” and that’s always been the case. I guess I can go back to Adam, can’t I? Adam dumped in the first bunch of yeast, and it’s been working ever since. It’ll never stop, until time stops. It’s the same way, like I said before. It can happen in a government. It can happen to a denomination. It can happen in an individual. Where just a little bit of sin comes in, and if we don’t deal with it, it just keeps working, working, working, and working. It’s insidious. Really.
Okay, well enough of that, I hope. Let’s come back to Hosea, once again, chapter 7 and we’ll move on. A different concept is going to come up now. Now we move away from the baker and his over-hot oven and the blackened cake. Now, we come to verse 9.
“Strangers have devoured his strength, (That is Israel’s, Ephraim’s.) and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.” In other words, maturity should have been showing some sense of knowledge and understanding, but they couldn’t get it. All right, verse 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…”
Now, you know birds haven’t got a lot of brains, do they? That’s why we call them “bird brains.” They flip, flop, flop, flop and all that. All right, that’s the analogy now. They’ve been just as short of brainpower spiritually as a little bird. And you’re just like a silly dove.
“…without a heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.” Well, for what? Come and defend us! You get the picture. They knew they were about to be invaded by the Babylonians. Old Nebuchadnezzar down there is raising a rumpus in Babylon. They knew he was coming. So, instead of getting on their knees prostrate before God, they forget about God and go down to Egypt. Help us! We’re going to be invaded! And another bunch went to Assyria, who was up there a little bit north of Babylon. Come and help us.
Now, you see, that’s the last thing God wanted Israel to do. It goes all the way back to when they wanted a king. Why did they want a king? Well, all the rest of the world has got kings. God says, but you’re not like the rest of the world. I don’t want you to have a king. I think it’s the same way today. Israel wants to be accepted by the nations of the world, and God won’t have it. They never will. God has set them apart.
Now, you know, I have a hard time agreeing with the ultra-orthodox over in Israel. If you know anything about the Judaism in Israel, there are several categories. But, the ultra-orthodox, the guys with the big, long beards and the black hats and the black coat, they won’t let their sons serve in the Israeli army. They don’t want Israel to fight any wars. What’s their concept? God will do it. Well, like I say, on one hand I think, yes, they’re right. Israel should just let God do it. But on the other hand, in the real world, will it work? I don’t know. But that’s their concept. We don’t have to raise an army. We don’t have to fight. God will do it. Well, whatever.
Down here in this verse, they didn’t depend on God. They ran down to Egypt. Help us. The Babylonians are coming. Others went up to Assyria. Help us. The Babylonians are coming. All right, now verse 12.
“When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls (or the birds) of the heaven;…” Here we’ve got the net again–the bird net. How they would catch the birds. The silly birds didn’t have brains enough to get past the net.
“…I will bring them down as fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard. 13. Woe unto them! for they have fled from me:” Oh, they can run up to Assyria. They can run down to Egypt. But they can’t give Me a minute of time.
“…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.” Now, don’t let that word redeemed throw a curve at you. You want to remember that in this case what is God speaking of? They’re His Covenant People. They’re not like the rest of the world. He has set them apart. But they’ve rejected the role that God has given them.
“And they have not cried unto me with their heart,…” They aren’t in contrition asking God to spare them. God take away our enemies. No. They’re trying to do everything in their own power. And what do you suppose is the main reason? They didn’t want God in their life. They’re having too much good time in their wickedness. They didn’t want any spiritual life.
“And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, (in other words, banqueting) 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:…” Now, what does that mean? Well, the bow is a reference to the bow and arrow. So, what’s a deceitful bow? One that’s crooked and can’t shoot straight. See how these little tidbits come up? They’re just like a bow that can’t shoot straight. It’s just simply constructed to shoot crooked. That was Israel.
“…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.” Even the pagan Egyptians will scorn these idolatrous, wicked Jews.
All right, now we’ve got a couple of minutes left. Let’s go on into chapter 8. Maybe I can skip a few places here, and we can wind it up in the next half hour. All right, chapter 8:
“Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant, and transgressed against my law. 2. Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee. 3. Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.” In other words, God is going to let it happen.
“They have set up kings, but not by me: (They didn’t consult with God about anything.) they have made princes and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold they have made them idols, that they may be cut off.” You see that? That’s how steeped in idolatry the Nation of Israel was. They used their silver and gold to make idols, just like the Ephesians did in Paul’s day.
“Thy calf, O Samaria, (Now, that again was an idol likened unto the golden calf, which was like idols they had in Egypt.) hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long with it be err they attain to innocency? 6. For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf (this idol) of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.” Now, here comes a verse that you’ve all heard sometime in your life.
“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: (In other words, whatever they plant won’t amount to anything.) if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.” If anything does grow, the invading armies will get it.
“Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure. 9. For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself:…” Now, what is that a picture of? Well, one little donkey out on the desert wouldn’t last long, would it? Why, it would be taken by a wild animal in less than twelve hours. And that was Israel. They were hopeless and helpless. Yet they couldn’t recognize their need.
“…Ephraim hath hired lovers.” Well, again, who were their lovers? Idols. Everything they did was under the influence of idols. They rejected all the overtures of the God of Israel. It’s a sad story, and yet it’s a lesson for us today.