Israel Maintains Its Arrogant Attitude!
God’s love affair with Israel is finished. The sentinel’s warning call sounds. The enemy approaches to punish a people who break God’s covenant while claiming to be loyal to him.
- Their political trickery and religious idolatry disprove their claims.
- Their constant ignoring of God’s law and their meaningless sacrifices provide more evidence against them.
- Their refusal to heed God’s prophets stacks up the testimony against Israel.
God has only one answer for his people – exile. They deserve such punishment for their continuing actions and attitudes. God’s love for his people guarantees that they cannot act any way they want without expecting him to respond in judgment. God has disaster in store for a people who break his covenant and worship other gods.
God Pronounces The Sentence
For the second time, Hosea calls for the trumpet to be blown (8:1; 5:8). According to Numbers 10, the Jews used trumpets to announce special occasions, to sound alarms, to gather the people for assemblies, and to proclaim war.
This call was a trumpet of alarm because the enemy was coming and God was giving His people opportunity to repent. Hosea again used a number of familiar images to show the people what God would do to them because of their sin.
SET THE trumpet to your lips! [The enemy] comes as a [great] vulture against the house of the Lord, because they have broken My covenant and transgressed against My law.
Hosea 8:1 (AMP)
Hosea caught his audience’s attention as he called to a watchman to blow a trumpet to signal the army and the nation of an enemy’s advance. The prophet saw a sign that the watchman had missed. A great bird of prey was soaring over the temple ready to eat up the remains left by an attacking army.
From this gruesome picture, the prophet turned to evidence accusing Israel of death-deserving sins mixed with threats outlining the punishment God would bring on his disobedient people.
The basic accusation was simple – the people have broken my covenant and rebelled against my law.
Those who break covenant are rebels against God. He has set out standards of behaviour for his people in relationship to himself and in relationship to other people. But Israel ignored all these standards and lived by her own immoral codes. Thus the people were rebels revolting against their king.
They cry out to Me, “My God, we of Israel know You!”
Hosea 8:2 (NASB)
A casual observer could serve as Israel’s defense attorney. After all, they went to the regular worship times and echoed the confessions of faith. They said, “My God! We know you! Israel!”
Israel maintained its arrogant attitude (Hosea 7:10) in claiming to “know the Lord” as “my God” because “we are Israel,” the people of God. But it takes more than national tradition or racial membership to know God.
Israel has rejected the good [with loathing]; the enemy shall pursue him.
Hosea 8:3 (AMP)
Israel rejected the good thing they had – their love relationship with God reflected in their covenant with him and in the laws he had graciously supplied. With this evidence presented, the prophet had only conclusion – an enemy will pursue him. The opening call to the trumpet shows the pursuit has already begun.
“They set up kings, but not by Me; They made princes, but I did not acknowledge them. From their silver and gold They made idols for themselves– That they might be cut off.
Hosea 8:4 (NKJV)
God continued to list evidence against his disloyal people. They crowned kings one after another in Hosea’s last days, but these were not kings whom God provided.
The idolatry of Israel is a key theme in the book. Idols were worshiped to bring about material blessing for the worshiper, but in fact Israel’s idolatry only incurred God’s wrath. Israel’s resources were gifts from God. They used them, however, to make idols for themselves “in order that it will be cut off,” that is, destroyed.
The people would call to God, but it would be too late because they had stubbornly refused to give up their idols. We, like Israel, often call on God to ease our pain without wanting him to change our behaviour. And we, like Israel, may repent after it is too late to avoid the painful consequences of sin.
Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Amazed
Holman Old Testament Commentary
The Moody Bible Commentary