(16 verses, 2:18 to read)
What I am about to READ
- Hosea once again preaches the Law to the people of Israel because they have rejected God’s promised Gospel.
MARK & LEARN
- The Lord is long-suffering. He earnestly desires not the death of the sinner but that all would be brought to repentance and receive His grace. The Gospel promise of the Day of Resurrection is there in chapter 6 for the people of Israel, but they continue to reject it. “When I would heal Israel, the iniquity of Ephraim is revealed, and the evil deeds of Samaria.” (v. 1) They continue in their sin and do not turn back. And so the Lord once again must send forth His Law as a call to repentance so that they might believe, and grab onto in faith, the salvation that is already theirs.
- But the people do not turn. They are steeped in sin and that sin drives them deeper into the pit. They have gotten to the point where their thoughts have turned to deeds. They no longer must contemplate their evil and godless deeds, but instead are delighted by them (v3). Like a stove that is so hot it does not need to be stoked, the evil desires of their heart burn within them to the point of hopelessness (vs. 4-6).
- Temporally they are dealing with thieves and bandits (v.1), treachery from the government (v. 3), outside forces causing devastation (v. 9), and hopeless despair (v. 11). Spiritually they have whored after other gods (v. 4), broken the mirror of God’s Law that holds their sin before them (v. 10), and offered their own sacrifices in hopes of salvation (v. 14).
- All of this they know. All of this sin and death and suffering is right before their eyes. The Lord stands ready to grant salvation; and yet, they turn everywhere but to Him. They turn to temporal princes and kings, foreign nations and countries, even false gods and false sacrifices. Salvation and forgiveness and healing and restoration is at the ready, but Israel turns her face from her God and from everything that He freely offers them.
- Salvation is from our God and from Him alone. Sin breeds sin. Satan turns us inward to ourselves and outward to the things of the world but never upward to our God. And yet the Lord is long-suffering. His mercy and grace and forgiveness is there; ready to be poured out. Hosea 7 is a call for us to recognized our own sinful desires to be just like Israel; just like Ephraim and Samaria. Through this Word our Lord holds up a mirror before our eyes so that we might know that we are sinful; by our own fault, by our own most grievous fault. We deserve nothing but punishment; nothing but the wrath and judgment that He lays down upon Israel. But His salvation is still there; as beautiful and forgiving as ever, as free as the day of our baptisms. Salvation is the work of our Lord despite our grievous sin.–May the God of our salvation ever lead us to repentance! Amen.
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Pastor Eli Lietzau
Faith in Christ Lutheran Church