Backslider’s Paradise?

Hosea 2:2–13 (NKJV)

2 “Bring charges against your mother, bring charges;

For she is not My wife, nor am I her Husband!

Let her put away her harlotries from her sight,

And her adulteries from between her breasts;

3 Lest I strip her naked

And expose her, as in the day she was born,

And make her like a wilderness,

And set her like a dry land,

And slay her with thirst.

4 “I will not have mercy on her children,

For they are the children of harlotry.

5 For their mother has played the harlot;

She who conceived them has behaved shamefully.

For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers,

Who give me my bread and my water,

My wool and my linen,

My oil and my drink.’

6 “Therefore, behold,

I will hedge up your way with thorns,

And wall her in,

So that she cannot find her paths.

This continuation of Yahweh’s complaint against Israel moves to a setting similar to a court case.  The Lord presents evidence of Israel’s adultery, appealing to her children for testimony to their mother’s sins.  He then moves to indict the children as well, declaring that no mercy will be extended to the mother or the children of adultery.  He goes so far as to threaten to strip her naked and expose her before all.  This is typical behavior for prostitutes when shamed by those who indict them.  This is not necessarily a physical act for the Lord to impose on Israel, but rather a prophecy of taking away the covering of the Lord and the blessings of covenant living.  They will be stripped of God’s protection and provision, being practically naked and on their own.  The arrogant response of Israel to all the warnings of the Lord was for her to say she would seek her lovers for those things if God would not provide.

7 She will chase her lovers,

But not overtake them;

Yes, she will seek them, but not find them.

Then she will say,

‘I will go and return to my first husband,

For then it was better for me than now.’

8 For she did not know

That I gave her grain, new wine, and oil,

And multiplied her silver and gold—

Which they prepared for Baal.

The Lord shifts His intentions here as a sign of mercy and conciliation.  He states after Israel has chased her lovers (Baal worship) that she will realize that all she had was from Yahweh, the true God Jehovah.  At that time, she will return to her true husband, realizing that is was better then than anything she could find elsewhere.  But for now, she will languish in lack.

9 “Therefore I will return and take away

My grain in its time

And My new wine in its season,

And will take back My wool and My linen,

Given to cover her nakedness.

10 Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers,

And no one shall deliver her from My hand.

11 I will also cause all her mirth to cease,

Her feast days,

Her New Moons,

Her Sabbaths—

All her appointed feasts.

12 “And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees,

Of which she has said,

‘These are my wages that my lovers have given me.’

So I will make them a forest,

And the beasts of the field shall eat them.

The Lord’s withdrawal of support and protection are a direct result of Israel’s not recognizing Him as the source of those things.  God will not be ignored.  He is a jealous God, in that His greatness is worthy of recognition.  He is the source of all things, and false gods and idolatry will not be tolerated.  His love and provision are far to great to be attributed to another.  

13 I will punish her

For the days of the Baals to which she burned incense.

She decked herself with her earrings and jewelry,

And went after her lovers;

But Me she forgot,” says the Lord.

God is determined to make Israel aware that her lovers have not provided for her, have not blessed her, are not better than her Husband who found her, redeemed her, and provided for her.  She has decked herself with the trappings of a prostitute and went searching for something more exciting on the other side of the fence.  What she will find will be ruinous.  Too many people today seek for thrills, excitement, and sensual satisfaction in all the wrong places and from all the wrong people.  Come to your senses, people of God, and know that the only true lover of your soul is Jesus Christ.  God loves you.  Others simply seek to use you for what you can give.  They will not sustain you.  God loves you and longs to keep you in His loving provision and blessings for all your days.  Backslider, the paradise you think you are seeking was truly in the place you left…at the feet of the Savior!

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