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BLITZ ON GLITZ
THE LORD WHO INSPIRES HIS WORD
That laxly obstructive, glitteringly gauche display of ignorance which loves to wave a hand as it waives understanding of the accuracy, potency and power of the Bible needs a blitz. This type wounds nobody, unless those astray, while inviting them not to be where reality must hurt. After all, it is only truth which is presented, and that form of strength which is not founded there is merely illusory; and in any case, must face judgment at the last. By what ? By the truth. Buy the truth and do not sell it, says the Proverb. What better advice. Why, lay down your soul for sale to the truth and you are well off. What is lost ? the lostness of your soul is lost, and that is gain (cf. Matthew 16:24-27).
Often on this site, has there been attestation of the accuracy, potency, precision, power and purpose of the words of the Bible, of their truth in every realm, their commanding presence and their majesty force. Bible Study will provide some of these, and SMR much more. Today, it is to some of the more recherché elements we look, just as a Sergeant Major might look to the buttons on a tunic. It is not that they really matter intrinsically, but if the fighting force is to be bright in mind, he senses some attention to detail, at least when there is some repose, might help.
It is a pleasure to do this, for the word of God to the jot and tittle, simply stays put and shines: and happens where prophetic. It is a verbal army, and it is one to liberate. It is not that one CAN improve on its brightness; but one can SHOW it in such a parade. Today it is in two points only that we look, since they challenge a little. One is to be found in Hosea 11, one in Hebrews 2:13-14, and these in association with Matthew 2:15 and Isaiah 8:18 respectively. In each case, when you know your field, the Bible, your understand its internal references; and indeed, this is a didactic stimulus, for to understand these, you need a realisation of many points of spiritual focus, and when this is done, the rest follows as when light comes upon the rising of the sun. The main Son to arise in this case is the Messiah, whose light shows and gleams, beams and dispelling mist, exhibits the point of the exercise, and so its meaning.
ISAIAH 8 and HEBREWS 2
What do we have in Isaiah, cited in Hebrews concerning the deity of Christ ? It is this. Having denounced the lax lassitude and unholy religiosity of Israel (as in Isaiah 1), and seen their declivity in the contrasting light of great things to come when the Age ends, as in Isaiah 2 ... we find this judgment and advice:
"Cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils, for of what account is he!"
(2:22 - hideously mistranslated by the NKJV but soundly by the KJV, the NASB and the NIV).
The Lord ALONE is to be exalted when that vast day of utter judgment comes (Isaiah 2:17), while those hide in the rocks who have no rock! In Isaiah 3 you have one of those delicious listings of totality, in which every category of mankind in his industrious and formal pursuits, is to face this same judgment (Isaiah 3:1-3), and every material support demolished. It is not the TOPIC only however but the mode of its presentation which has appeal to wisdom, and such is presented even more powerfully in Isaiah 24:1-3, where once more the final throes of earthly judgment are in view, as the very earth totters, as in Revelation.
Social disorder, insolent children such as education principles in this our own land seem to encourage with weak discipline, lacking authority and anti-Christian ethics based on anti-Christian dreams (cf. TMR Ch. 8) are parallel to oppression, and those who rule are by no means the choicest (Isaiah 3:4-7).
A certain objectivity looms, rather than the cherishing of the nurse, for the case is drastic and subversion is rife: "Say to the righteous that it will be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe to the wicked? for the reward of his hands will be given him. As for My people, children are their oppressors ..." This reminds us of the large and noted cluster of aboriginal youth in this city, who specialise in robbery and assault, adding this to the work of violence of their predecessors of other races in this land: for what is the result of these maladventures ? They are met with sometimes, nay often seem pitiable sentences and pliable proceedings, till arrogance is exalted and folly becomes a substitute for faith.
"What do you mean by crushing My people!" the Lord demands of those who oppress and serve themselves in social manipulation. In Isaiah 3, He gives attention to female frills and frivolities, in which indulgence competes with vanity. In Isaiah 4, He moves the vision to a chastened people, when One called the Branch of the Lord "shall be beautiful and glorious". This is another name for the Messiah: as in Isaiah 53, where He is seen as a root out of a dry ground; in Isaiah 11, where He appears as a "rod from the stem of Jesse", David's father, and in Zech. 6:11-12, where he is designated a "the Man whose name is the branch". Of him, it is said that "He shall bear the glory", "sit and rule on His throne", being both priest and prince, a forbidden combination except of course for deity when He adopts manhood as in Isaiah 7, 9, 11, 59, Micah 5 and so on.
At the end of Ch. 4, the Lord brings the beginning of the developing theme of the man who is the Rock (Isaiah 28:16) in whom to trust is security, hence God (cf. Jeremiah 17:5ff., with Psalm 2:12), the Son of God. Here we find there is to be a secure tabernacle which shields, and in Isaiah 32, this is amplified into "the king" who will "reign in righteousness", so that here at last is the bounty defined in the divine made human and as a man exhibiting deity Himself in His unique offices:
"a man will be as a hiding place from the wind, and a cover from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."
Accordingly, "the eyes of those who see will not be dim, and the ears of those who hear will listen,. Also the heart of the rash will understand knowledge"; and it is as in Psalm 72 and Isaiah 35, where healing abounds and Isaiah 11 where the word of God works in direct action on a transformed earth. While these themes are not yet full in Isaiah 4, they are introduced with that locking of elements which is characteristic of scripture in its pervasive intimations, like the work of just one Author, which ultimately it is, and He the Lord. Thus does Isaiah 4 move in synergy with Isaiah 11, 32, 35, 40 and the wake of that in its time.
Having covered the case, the Lord in Isaiah 5 presents a parable of a vineyard, planted, its buildings for juice erected, its fencing, with choicest stock: yet it brings forth wild grapes. "WHAT MORE could have been done for My vineyard ?" the Lord asks (5:4).
Surrounded by divine manifestation, revelation and inspiration, both past, present and to come, Israel needs faith to operate, but what is found ? Failure to use what is given. Such is the message of the vineyard.
Notice too, in Isaiah 5 which deals with this vineyard (equals Israel), that the Lord starts the address on this topic with the words: "Now let Me sing to My Well-beloved, a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard." Who is this beloved who owns the vineyard ? It is certainly not Israel, which was supposed to produce fruit from it. It is that same "My servant" in whom the Lord is "well-pleased" as found in Isaiah 42, whereas at the end of Isaiah 41, we find the human race has no one of its own to provide in this category: hence the incarnation (Isaiah 7-9). The same message is repeated in Isaiah 51:19, before the revelation in the following chapters of the sinless Saviour who having no sin of His own, can bear that of others, and so meet justice and grant pardon.
So does God the Sender, the Father (Isaiah 48:16) speak to God the Sent (the Saviour), one God (Isaiah 43:10-11), who will procure salvation (Isaiah 52-53) with His own self.
In Isaiah Ch. 6, we see the stricken prophet, oppressed with a due sense of his own sinfulness in the presence of the staggering clarity and beauty of holiness of the Lord, and receiving his commission to preach the truth to Israel, though in their blindness, they are confirmed and in their sin, as if they grind their own eyes. Alas, judgment is coming, and only a remnant will be left (Isaiah 6:13).
In Ch. 7, we have that inordinate faithlessness, fictitious faith, that formalised nullity which rests where faith should be in King Ahab. In trouble militarily, he is about to be faced by a combination of his enemies, and Isaiah presents the offer in this stark climax: Ask what you will, making it high to the uppermost, down to the uttermost, but ASK. Staggering, but in full accord with non-faith, the so religious king states that - in the very face of this DIVINE OFFER - he will not tempt the Lord.
How on earth would he do that in reply to such an offer ? It is clear: he pretends that he would tempt the Lord BY ACCEPTING HIS OFFER! That is disfaith! Fancy, if a mother offers you milk, you tell her when very young, that you will not tempt her by taking it!
With this horror of hypocrisy in view, God then predicts the virgin birth (SMR pp. 770 -774), the incarnation as in Isaiah 9, and leaves Israel to face with the demise of the threatening kingdoms, a worse foe, Assyria itself, the evil empire of the day. Terrified by the (relatively) little nations ready to attack it, immune to faith, it will indeed as the prophet indicated, have but little to fear from that current source; but in view of the prodigious failure to believe, to accept the offer of the Lord, it will NOT be delivered from the greater evil to come to its mature impact in its time! Judah would fall to Assyria, and even in that, mercies would at last prevail; but not before 70 years in exile, as we later learn from Jeremiah.
Now we can move in contextual awareness to Isaiah 8, our current target.
What then ? The immediate context, in Isaiah 7 as prelude to Isaiah 8, is this. Having dealt with the virgin birth, predicted in such a setting as to constitute a rebuke to Ahaz, in that this is no help to his faithlessness in his own immediate situation and generation, but WILL ultimately be the entire answer to both Jew and Gentile (Isaiah 42:6), the Lord has shown what is to come.
It is this: that Assyria, a more terrible nation than the two threatening King Ahaz, will bring prodigious trouble to the land. Indeed, in Isaiah 8, births of the prophet's new children are made a message, through their strange-sounding names, to be given: one is named Speed the Spoil, the other Hasten the Booty. This however is not referring to Israel, but to the devastations to come to its two current adversaries. However, the bad news is this, that these lands are to fall before the King of Assyria, who is ALSO to act to chastise Israel (8:7ff.).
This, the Lord shows through Isaiah, is no conspiracy, but a charge and a challenge from the Lord. If only HE were trusted! Sanctuary though He is when received by faith, to the faithless nation, He will be as "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence", even He who to the believing, is a "Precious Corner Stone, a Sure Foundation" (Isaiah 28:16). It is precisely as Christ showed in Matthew 16 and 21:44: Received by faith, He (as in Psalm 62) and HE ALONE is the Rock; but if you dally with Him and play the fool, then His very status as the Rock means you are ready to be smashed to powder. Reality is like that: hate it and you merely crumble at its rumble. That is the end of the affair.
Thus Israel is surrounded with judgment for disfaith, even when surrounded by testimony and opportunity both, for robust reliability for faith in the Lord as He has revealed Himself, both in His present power and His magnificent mercies to come. Disinclined to receive these, as a people, they turn their backs on the victories vested in the Saviour, the incarnate Lord, the Messiah, the Rock, the Refuge from Storm and Tempest. So do they not receive the rest from Him, who gives the Rock Shadow to many (Isaiah 32). Now they live amid a veritable forest of Messianic trees, as in Isaiah 2, 4, 5, 7 and 9, with 12, but next to a quarry of judgment when the forest is abandoned.
We have the statement of Isaiah 8:16ff..
The Lord is to be a rock of offence, of stumbling to both houses of Israel, snare and trap to those of Jerusalem, whose horse-play has had not even horse-sense. Many are to fall...
Now, says the Lord, "Bind up the testimony!"
This means that the case is closed, the thing is written, its scope is determinate, it is written and is to be kept as a testimonial, a revelation, a thing done and sure.
It is to be 'sealed'. But who are these among whom it is to be sealed ? They are "My disciples."
This reminds of John 8:31, where Jesus Christ declared,
"If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
These things, as in Isaiah 8:11, are what the Lord has instructed the prophet Isaiah to say. Bind up the testimony among my disciples.
Whose disciples then are in view ? Does the prophet have disciples ? or is it the Lord who has them ? Is the prophet one to be followed as a guru, or is he delivering what the Lord says, who alone is to be followed, in whom only is faith to be rested! (Psalm 2, Jeremiah 17:5ff.).
Who then is to "wait on the LORD" (Isaiah 8:18)? It is He who in Isaiah 28 is the Rock, in Isaiah 50 declares this:
"The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned,
that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned.
The Lord GOD has opened My ear, and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away.
I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks
to those who plucked out the beard.
I did not hide My face from shame and spitting."
In Isaiah 50:9, He further declares this: "Surely the Lord GOD will help Me: Who is he who will condemn Me ?"
Here is one more Messianic utterance, so that just as incarnation was foretold in Isaiah, so the humble position of the Messiah in His suffering phase (cf. Luke 24:25) is featured, poignantly, at length and repeatedly. Isaiah 8 has that One distinctive, that One reliable, that one and one only who is the counsellor when all others fail (Isaiah 41:28-42:4, 51:18 with 52:13 - 53), that One who as Saviour would suffer, and who as attacked would wait on the Lord, He who would find many to follow Him (Isaiah 53:12). It is He who would be exposing His call as to the disciples when He came, and His concern. His challenge and His ambit is seen here in advance, in this Messianic musing, and indeed He exposed more in more of the prophecies concerning Him in Isaiah (50, 61, 63:1,3-6 cf. 8:14, Matthew 21:44).
We return to the specific locale of Isaiah 8:18.
"Here am I," He declares (Isaiah 8:18) "and the children whom the Lord has given Me," as in John 6:65. This man, this Rock, this Foundation, this Stone of Stumbling, this One who provides the SHADOW of His Rock-face, for all who shelter there, it is He who is, with His disciples, His children (as in ), "for signs and for wonders in Israel" (Isaiah 8:18 cf. Mark 1:16-31, Acts 4:13). Is it not then He whose very name is "wonderful" (as in both Judges 13:18ff., and Isaiah 9), whose power and authority as in Isaiah 11 is so vast, and whose name ALONE is to be revered (Isaiah 2:19-22)! What turmoil and tremor are to teach man, God knows already, as do His disciples, with whom the law is bound up (cf. John 14:26).
Indeed, here we see more: the very attitude and tenor, atmosphere and content of these musings is fulfilled in what happened when Christ actually came, so that there is a synthesis of prophecy and performance where both inspired from One, act as one, though the earlier be centuries before, and the later worked out in the duress of practical living, of the Messiah in His assigned role as "a root out of a dry ground."
This then is just one more of the many Messianic references and utterances to be found in Isaiah as now he envisages what the Messiah would be, and now what He is saying or would say, is doing or will do (as in Isaiah 10:21-11:1ff.). Indeed, the whole land is seen already as Messiah's land (Isaiah 8:8 with 7:14), and it is in this very chapter that we hear Him, as in Isaiah 50, and in Isaiah 61:1-3, cited by Jesus Christ concerning Himself, musing or declaring His mind AS the Messiah, declaring what is to be, to His disciples. In the mind of God, time is neither barrier nor broker, but serves Him who beyond it as is an author beyond the time of the characters in his book, can well see beyond the times of the pages here, to those far later. That God comprehending all, can say equally well what is near or far, is clear. While giving liberty its occasions, He knows what is to be, who will do what and what He will do, what limits He will impose, what restrictions, what opportunities for evil to show its lustful face and what disasters to allow to leave it undisguised, what triumphs of grace and pardon to dispense, what difficulties to resolve in mercy and what confrontation to require with evil.
Whether His own thoughts, or those in the mind of the Messiah who then was to come and now has long come and disposed of the burden which brought Him on man's behalf, as many as received Him in faith: these are exhibited without limit of difficulty, for nothing with God shall be called impossible, but such thoughts are given exposure as best befits the needs of man at any time, when spoken, or at any other time, to which they are spoken beforehand. Such inheres in the revelation God saw fit to make to man in His written word.
Thus when Hebrews 2:13-14 refers these words in Isaiah 8:16ff., to the Messiah, the word of God speaks precisely, as it always does, what is the truth. Nor is this all. It says it with a fidelity of textual reference and a liberty of textual meaning, a sovereignty such as a man has over his own works, and a depth such as comes from the mind which chooses to write in the first place, that has just those marks of the Lord.
These ? they are those of greatness and overarching comprehension which one would expect when an author speaks of his own words, yes, when God as Author deploys what He has already said, or is to say, in such an intimate correlation, an unerring beauty of perception, as inspires us here. It is the Spirit of Christ who inspired the prophets (I Peter 1:11-12), and God knows in His Spirit whatever is to be, is to be said, and by whom.
Those who haunt the culture of blindness and seek to take counsel from those who call it a conspiracy to be realistic about revelation and to trust in the Lord, these may try to make all sorts of nullities out of the Bible, here or elsewhere, but as in science in its affair with the material aspect of things, so here, it is necessary to investigate and to KNOW what you are talking about. A slight acquaintance is not enough.
Truth is always inclined to be a blitz on glitz, by its very nature; and for that reason, amongst many more, it is often hated, and this at times if it were possible, literally to death. But life supervenes! the resurrection of the Truth, of the stricken Saviour Jesus Christ, was the stark reminder that not joy but judgment is for those who live by their wits, and not by the wisdom of Him who is their Maker and Creator, and would be their Saviour and Redeemer; but is not! (cf. Great Execrations, Great Enervations, Greater Faith Chs.
7 and 9, To Know God ... Ch. 1).
On the other hand, those who receive God as God, His word as His, His will as divine, and His witness as the facts indicate in its always verified reality and inalienable factuality, testable as truth and true as tested without cease, are never surprised when as here, you find one more accurate attestation in the 8th century BC, of what is apt for the 1st century AD, what happens. Presented as musing, it is like seeing into the hard disk, recording not works done in this case, but to be done, and marvelling. It is like this, but in many ways it is far more. Thus it is personal musing, it is historically apt musing for what did in fact come, and it is revealed with that effortless assurance which is a touchstone of the truth.
HOSEA 11 AND MATTHEW 2
In Hosea 11, we have a movement which proceeds to its climax in Hosea 13:14. In the latter there is the dramatic announcement, the self-draft of deity to BEAR death in order to liberate man from death into life in his God. Moreover, it is not only to be a work of deity, but a PERSONAL work of that Almighty Being.
"I will ransom them from the power of grave," "I will redeem them from death". This is the mere hors d'oeuvres of this feast, the prelude to the feat, the opening bars of this symphony, . "O Death, I will be your plagues." Here it is apparent that not only will deity eliminate the grasping power of death, the due and oft-cited penalty for sin (like cancer, that assault for life when its organisation is breached or broken in its systematic working and growth); but this glorious God will actually CONSTITUTE its plagues. And what of the grave ? Of that solemn reminder of the morbidity of mankind and His necessity of an injection of the power of the Creator for any and every restoration, God Himself will become, in Himself, the destruction.
Such is man, that he makes many amazing declarations; but many are fraudulent, more perhaps are mouthings without understanding and another grouping, those of self-delusion. God on the other hand NEVER speaks thus, for every jot and tittle of what he foretells, comes true (as itself foretold in Matthew 5:17ff.). What then ? Would His will waver ? Of course not. "Repentance will be hidden from My eyes."
You see that in Luke 9:53, when Christ sets His face like a flint to go on to Jerusalem in a setting filled with murder, a prophesied scenario where it is His own murder which is the chief, the evacuation of the form of a man which He took in order to bring the function of eternity TO man (the dismissal of deity in this merciful mode, an alarmingly insane, spiritual act by man, shared in its actual occurrence, by two peoples).
Does Christ linger and delay, then, in this advent ? Far from it, He presses to the culmination of His coming in His method of going. He foretells once and again what is to happen, sometimes with restrained vividness and insistent emphasis (as in Luke 9:22,44). He would not shrink, any more than He would fail to feel, to the uttermost point, the approaching impact of the folly and filth of sin on the purity and wonder of the eternal God, casting Himself in the format of man for man's deliverance. Offering Himself thus to all, this He wrought effectually for as many as received Him as Lord and Saviour, His word as truth, His mission as not mere victim of murder but method of resurrection after guilt is borne.
This statement now in focus, that of Hosea 13:14, then is worthy of deep thought. Let us see it together:
"I will ransom them from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death.
O Death, I will be your plagues!
O Grave, I will be your destruction!
Pity is hidden from My eyes."
Why is PITY to be hidden from His eyes ? It is for this reason. God the Sender (as in Isaiah 48:16) is sending God the sent, in the presence of the Spirit of God: that is the teaching. Would not a Father want to protect His Son, and if an earthly father, how much more that perfect and eternal Being in celestial wonder! But for the love the Father bears man, and that very love which is directed to the Son, and in this love, Christ endured the duress and the spiritual work is completed. The love of Father and Spirit alike moves, as the Son is sent, and in the Son it moves, as He comes ... and goes.
Here is not only the motive, but the motif, not merely the ground, but the spirit of the affair, that of the Cross, and neither Pity of the Father for Himself, or for His Son, nor of the Son for Himself or His Father, nor the pity in His very Spirit operates to prevent the Cross, but rather moves to its glorious liberation, spelling eternity for millions of persons, rescued from worse then oblivion. If you want potential, there it is; and it is not ALL by any means, no, not all lost - though much is. Yet like precious gold from ore deposits, what is gained is like a 'royal diadem' in the hands of the Almighty (Isaiah 62:3).
This Hosea 13:14, is seen in Hosea after the ghastly advent of judgment on Israel as shown in Hosea 12 and 13:1-13. What went wrong with Israel was no mean thing.
"A cunning Canaanite" is the derogation of the corrupted Israel that at that time so disadorned the earth in so many of its glaringly godless proceedings (as in Zephaniah 3, Ezekiel 22:27ff., Jeremiah 5, Isaiah 1). "O Israel, it hurls you to destruction, that you are against Me, your help" says the Lord, as in Hosea 13:9 (trans. Keil*1) , as He approaches the cost and consequences, involved in His rescue operation, not in landing on the coast of Normandy, but incarnating in the realm of this created earth, and suffering its boorishness, its blindness, its hatred, envy, evil in return for good. \
But that help is supplied to WHOMEVER it be who receives it as in Hosea 13:14, Isaiah 66:2.
Moving back still further to Hosea 11, we find the divine pity for Israel, His sympathy, empathy, divine longing and magnificent heart of love. "How can I give you up, O Ephraim ... My heart churns within Me ... I will not execute the fierceness of My wrath" (11:8). Vast is this empathy and it comes out in many phases and gleams at many points.
And how did this announcement of love arise ? It started its declaration in Hosea 11:1, where God remembers Israel like a child whom He taught to walk, in His first times, when He drew him "with gentle cords, with bands of love."
It is His Son whom He called out "of Egypt" (Hosea 11:1)*2. What then does the Lord say,. through Moses to Pharaoh of Egypt, concerning the release of Israel from that monarch's adventitious and evil enslavement of Israel ? It is this (Exodus 4:22): "And you will say to Pharaoh, Thus says the LORD, 'Israel is my son, even my firstborn. So I tell you, Let my son go, that he may serve Me: and if you refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay your son, even your firstborn."
We find in Isaiah 49:3, in the midst of this Messianic passage: "You are My Servant, an Israel in whom I will be glorified." This translation of Professor E. J. Young is sound. Here is the ultimate prince of God, prevailer, here the AN ISRAEL in whom He WILL be glorified, in total opposition to the disastrous failure of the nation in the most crucial phase, and so often before!
This is in the setting that NO ONE on earth would do for the work God had in mind, so that it is His own Son who, being elected for the purpose, is sent to do it (Isaiah 7,9, 41:28-42:6). The Isaiah.49 passage being a continuation of the same theme, given further extension in Isaiah 52-55, this latter again with the parallel prelude to 41:28ff., as in Isaiah 51:18ff., is in the setting likewise that there is none of Israel's sons who can give her the necessary help. In each case, the servant of God, in whom He (by enormous contrast with Israel) is not only satisfied, but WELL-PLEASED comes to bear sin as in Isaiah 53:6.
Thus the replacement of a failed Israel (in terms of being a consistent expression for the divine salvation) by the incarnate Son of God, means that as in Isaiah, so in Hosea, God Himself replaces on the one hand the work of His servant Israel, and consummates on the other, the divine work of salvation to be done, in Himself. , whether in stated intention as in Hosea 13:14 or Ezekiel 34, or in actual incarnation as presaged in Isaiah 7,9,11, 42,49, 50-55, and fulfilled in Matthew 2ff.. The prophecies become a crucial envelope to the divine message which He fulfils in Himself.
Let us then look further at that in Hosea.
In Hosea 11, we see in the mind the divinely evocative image of Israel as the son, tenderly brought up into national life, and called in due course out of Egypt, but we also must see and this no less, the effectual instrument of the salvation which ONLY GOD HIMSELF DOES OR CAN FULFIL, as in Hosea 13:14. This is found with Isaiah loc. cit., as the Son is tenderly loved, His own Son in whom He is indeed well-pleased, and for very good reason. Here is the duality of His singularity: that Israel is the introduction, but Christ is the production on this earth.
As the context is God saving by HIMSELF, and as Isaiah has shown extensively along with Psalm 2, this incarnate reality for the task, exhibited likewise by Micah 5, this very Son against whom the Gentiles surge and rage: so is He prophetically disclosed as HE who will be vindicated and resurrected (Psalm 2, 16). This is that Israel who is faultless, that One eternal in nature, eternally consigned as Saviour, sinless and the vehicle alone of salvation!
As we have traced the theme back from that point in Hosea 13:14 where in its magnitude and divinity is presented, to the means elsewhere and amply provided in the prophets, in the Son who born and is to have that increasing kingdom with peace its final portent, so we must find in this same conception of the 'son', not only the one who DID NOT BY ANY MEANS fulfil its work, Israel, but also the One who did by all means achieve it, the Son of God. That is the close and repeated scriptural depiction, as illustrated above in Isaiah.
Hence it is He who also must be called out of Egypt: and He was. In this way, the diversity is unified, and the path of the one, is in intersection with that of the Other. If it had not been so, then the impact of Hosea 13:14 would have been isolated like an atom with no molecule, in a world full of the latter; but now it is seen in its setting like a pearl on a string of pearls. Then the book would be one of terrible trial for terrible sin, but no word in this vicinity of divine sympathy taking legs that walk on this earth, leading to salvation. It would have lacked the form and force of integrity here. It would tantalise with hope and relevance, breach the very term in the midst of the need, and yet let it drop unused. Not so: as in Matthew 2, so in fact, the Israel who in reciprocal love is perfect and perfected on earth is in view past the prototype nation, and in Him is the answer.
It is moreover ONLY because of THIS Son, this Israel, that the other one can be tolerated at all. It is only because HE paid the debt that the bankrupt nation could be considered further; as in Isaiah 51:16 (49:2-3), it is the One hidden like a sword, who in Isaiah 51 is seen as the very ground for having mankind at all, Israel itself. Without His atonement, no creation would have been made (cf. Revelation 13:8). To be sure, the payment was to come, but all else was in the interim on that account, to be rendered when Christ surrendered Himself to the sin of man, as a substitutionary sacrifice for all, Israel or not, who would believe and receive Him as He is.
It is for this reason that Hosea 11:1, having referred categorically to God calling His SON out of Egypt (when the present position was one of alienation and disjunction as in Hosea 1, quite explicitly), moves first to the disastrous recalcitrance of the nation, moving away the more as the prophets appealed the more (11:2), and then immediately on to the delicate tenderness of the relationship as it once was; and even that, was far from so very tender when the rebelliousness of the nation was so dramatically shown even before the crossing of the sea, out of Egypt!
The good can be considered in isolation from all of that evil, because God was committed multiply to calling His son, first the nation and then the Incarnate One, and to calling His Son out of Egypt, the deed to come seen as done as so often. Thus the passionate desire for Israel as seen in 11:8 ("how can I give you up") has its satiety in the passion of the Messiah, whose payment accommodates and allows the relationship to continue at all.
Where the whole book is framed in an allegory, so that Hosea as if God, takes on for a bride, a woman who is an adulteress, meaning that it is as if God were taking on Israel, a bride who decamps and adulterates the marriage who is then brought and bought back in redemption, indicative of the divine action to that end, to come in Jesus Christ, the Messiah: it is unthinkable that there would be an exclusion of what gives both point and pith, human face and divine demission mixed as in the very mode of salvation itself, in the personal domain of God Himself.
It is the more so when the SON, MY SON, is actually focussed in terms of affection and tenderness. The failure is seen in the light of the triumphant One, and horror is filtered into the intentions and desires of the heart*2A.
In Hosea 6, we see the terminus; but here in Hosea 11, we find the commencement exercise.
In such a movement from nation to son, as God from the first made known through Moses to Pharaoh, and from son to Son, as in Isaiah 9, there lies the power and procedure of God. The context proceeds in allegory from the first chapter of Hosea, the "not My people" passage, issues in it in Hosea 11, and continuing undisrupted through the Son, defines the necessary terms to make it applicable in 13:14, and so leaves nothing to the imagination, but the point. HOW will God perform this destruction of death ? Why by His Son as in Isaiah, as in Psalms, as in Hosea 11, with the outcome as in Hosea 6 and the purpose as in Hosea 13:14.
Why then will He do so ? It is because of love as in Hosea 11:8ff.. How broad is to be His provision of deliverance from death as in 13:14 ? It is as broad as death is. What does this require in terms of the offer of life ? Why once more, as wide as Isaiah 49 and Psalms 67, 100, Jeremiah 16, makes it, as wide as mankind. What is the method ? It is by His Son, as in Psalm 2, Isaiah 9.
It is through Him, who though man, is God (Psalm 45).
Who then is the Israel to be called out of Egypt on whom His entire love is thrust ? It is first of all the one that failed, and then the One who succeeded, whose face shines for a moment in that intensity of love, as in Isaiah 42 in its first verses, in deliberate and vast contrast with the exhaustive impotence of man for the job (Isaiah 2:22), and of Israel in particular (41:28ff.). The focus is instant, because the context of the whole Bible to the point is vast. It is the flash, as in Nahum 1:15, the flash back and the flash forward in one instant of duplicate identity, the Israel of the lost past and the Israel of the found future, through whom the relationship of 'Son' to Israel can continue.
Why is it necessary to move from son to Son ? If you do not, here, then you are left with an allegorical book which stresses the realities of God in TERMS of human relationships, and states with passion the necessary deletion of death by Himself, already seen as the incarnation from the Godhead (Psalm 40, Isaiah 7, 9, 11): yet in that case, one which at the very point where the Son is exposed by name, would omit the most prominent of all relationships in the entire work of that very salvation maximally expressed in Hosea 13:14. It would omit the thrust of WHO does it from the work of God, ignore the realm of figure where it can become literal fact, and extinguish the gradual indication of the work of deity as man which is the entire nexus of the Bible.
But how can His tender-fatherly love, in such immense serenity of sweetness and apparent reciprocity be spoken as of Israel the saucily rebellious nation, the repetitively distancing people, who before they even crossed the Red Sea area, were busy rebelling ? It is only by perceiving that here, as in Psalm 69, where David passes as so OFTEN in the Psalms, from his own case in misery, to that of the Messiah in vicarious majesty of suffering, there is an exposure of a more distant and dynamic scene. This ? there is a movement to that Son in whom all this was entirely fulfilled, with no rebellion, total tenderness as He grew in the incarnate state, in infancy at first, giving not alienation but a ground of salvation through its absence and His own presence.
Indeed, so great is the empathy of the Lord (and there MUST be something far beyond even empathy when you are bearing the sins of another!), that in this same book, back in Hosea 6 in fact, there is an introduction*3 to this exposure.
There you find the Lord speaking of 'us' in terms of being smitten and raised on the third day, another aspect of the vast plan and program of Hosea 13:14, personal redemption by Him for His people. "After three days, He will raise us up ..." the smitten! we read. In this blessed state, unfathomable blessings are then predicated. He will "raise us up that we may live in His sight." It is then, if they follow on to know the Lord, "that His going forth is prepared as the morning, and He shall come upon us as the rain...":then they know God. It is precisely as in the resurrection with just that result.
You see the same identification with His people in Isaiah 26:19, when "My dead body shall they arise", those in the dust to be resurrected but called by this name. In other words, the Church is the body of Christ, and the resurrection is for them as His, based on His own resurrection. So as in Isaiah, here in Hosea 6, just as HIS body THEY arise, so they with Him are smitten, for He is smitten for them, and they as Paul points out, are crucified with Christ, and in Him risen.
Thus it is in an eminently sustained perspective that we move in Hosea 11, both in broader scripture and in this very book. As in death, He bears it to redeem, as in being smitten they are in Him smitten also, since as Paul tells us, we are to know this, that "our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with ... Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him."
Thus does Hosea contain so many seeds of embodiment, of empathy, of death with Christ and rising with Him, in tonal harmony with other scriptures, of the point and purpose of it all, for God to redeem His people, of His doing it personally, of His taking a body and being smitten in it (as in Micah 5:1-3 similarly) and of course, of the intense and pure love and tenderness between Him and His own Son,
to which He passes as the ground of His love to others, through whom He acts, without whom as in Isaiah 41:28ff., humanity has nothing to give, and nothing to receive.
It is He who in diverse ways is thus figured, and as in the Psalms, the leap to the Lord in His incarnate form and various phases of His redemptive actions in life, is focussed as a peak as the mists clear.
As the Ethiopian eunuch of Philip's visit (Acts 8) began to see so intuitively, sometimes the peak is so clear that it is manifest. It was not of himself that Isaiah spoke ? No, Philip advises him, and preached Christ!
The SON of Hosea 11, is BOTH nation and God, and in NEITHER case is it an ordinary son. Israel for its part is a nation, an aggregate; Christ is indeed born of woman, but engendered from His eternal realm into this, by His eternal Father. You move from the one to the other by the imperatives of context, both developmental and conceptual, both allegorical and literal, both in gathering thrust to its climax and in particulate input on the way. The empathy of Hosea 6 and its application is one part; but the direct designation in Hosea 11 is another, consummated in 13:14 in terms of method of deity, chosen by Himself as Himself.
Thus Matthew 2 does indeed refer to a fulfilment from Hosea 11. As with music, you need an ear to hear, and where this is closed, noise can dispel any understanding. However, some tones even the deaf may hear, or perhaps their realisation of what is happening can come as the heart is drawn to the message of the music.
If the witness of the prophets is marvellous, apt and accurate, deft and moving, how much more is that of Jesus Christ, personally presented as the divine Author who stepped into the pages of earth's history, and began to speak chez nous! and to act, as only He can, and to expound and expose what He had told already, giving the subtle clarity, the shameless, exposure and the shambles its come-uppance. While He acted in this way, He was also giving to mankind, a prize greater even than that offered to Ahaz, that of Jesus Christ who declared that if we abide in Him and His words abide in us, we shall ask what we will and it will be given. Such is His abiding word, and such the abiding presence, that such asking is spiritual, and God understands.
Be gone glitz of affected ignorance and callow Ahaz-like unbelief. A blitz on glitz. Ecclesiastical glitz had Christ crucified, in conjunction with secular government with a religious crankiness added. Its glitter is no more like star-dust, but still like the dust of the earth.
It is the Lord who inspires His words, and the hearts of His people, His disciples with whom He seals the testimony, through the apostles given, and with whom He abides till He comes. Told in Isaiah's day with startling freshness, it is like everlasting flowers, that do not grow old, while the other blooms are but petals dropped, or torn, disintegrated long ago.
Spiritual Lapses and Holy Healings,
Godless Glitches and Divine Dealings
including Spiritual Sprigs and Biblical Gems
Here we see the title of this volume epitomised!
Hosea is in some ways like the book of Revelation. It has subtleties which depend on a substantial knowledge of the word of God, figures which like an artist's musings in figure, add up to an inspirational force, which some analyse and many feel. It is reflected a little in I Peter 1:11-12, where we see the prophets seeking what manner of time was the nature of the revelation of Christ to come, which was exposed in them, and realising it was not for themselves but for the generation to come (as in Psalm 22:30), they were ministering these things, these prophecies, these realities in record of what God would do.
For all, however, the stimulus is there, whether for the eye of faith or later, of sight itself, when Christ actually came, the greatest invasion of all time, that of the owner of the 'vineyard' coming as if almost an alien, to His own! (John 1:10-11).
"He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
"He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice
nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth" - (NASB).
Yes, it was the owner, indeed the creator of this world (Colossians 1:15) who in trinitarian splendour, commissioned to create in its beginning, came for its salvation (John 3:17) in the end. In particular, He came to achieve effectually what was needed for peace and reconciliation with God, for all who received Him as He is and for what He has done.
With light, you do not alter it in order to see, but use it as it is. HE was that light.
In Hosea, we see elements of grace and truth illuminated by that light.
Thus from the outset the tonality is set. God loves Israel which is revoltingly adulterated with false worships and allied demoralised destitutions of heart and life. Told to marry a harlot, as a symbol of God's initial grace in receiving Israel, the prophet does this, and has a child from her (Hosea 1:2-3). Yes he has another, the first symbolically bearing the name NO MERCY, and the second, NOT MY PEOPLE.
Despite this divorce, the deity insists that when the wheel has turned, when history has taken its course, when His divine will and providence reaches the carefully prepared time, THEN in the very place where it was said, NOT MY PEOPLE, there will it be said MY PEOPLE, and where NO MERCY, there will be the celestial beauty of the words, CHILDREN OF THE LIVING GOD.
We come then to the relevant and incisive point in Hosea 10:12: "Sow to yourselves righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground. For it is time to seek the LORD, till He comes and rains righteousness upon you."
On the far side of Hosea 11:1, we have the divine thrust and drive to grant mercy: "How can I give you up, Ephraim ? How can I hand you over, Israel ? How can I set you like zeboim ? My heart churns within Me..."
Here then is the median. From the exclusion of Israel (NOT MY PEOPLE, Ch. 1), in their contemporary regard in this prophecy, a vast alienation, we move to the cited intensity of love, in Hosea 11:1, together with the certainty of incarnation from Hosea 13:14 and Hosea 3:5 together thrust us to realise that in Hosea 11:1, we have nothing less than the nascency of the Messiah, His being called out of Egypt in enduring relevance as the Son of God, embraced and delighted in.
This comes in order to fulfil the false start of Israel, as if going through the same itinerary (in principle), as that fallen people of Hosea's day, but with a far better outcome. This, it is no longer national, but Messianic, no longer of the falling of man, but of the arising of the Lord.
Immediately, accordingly, in Hosea 11:2 you have the intense contrast with the intense tenderness of Hosea 11:3, and shortly afterwards in 11:8, the irrepressible love and desire for mercy: and thus the necessity of the Messiah and the certainty of the call for Him, move together like a whirl-wind to bring us to His coming, not only as in Micah 5:1-3, TO Bethlehem, but now VIA Egypt. Hosea 10:12 was the alert, 11:8 is the atmosphere, 11:1 is the issuance and 13:14 is the undertaking, while 3:5 is the messianic indication of the way in which God will personally ransom man, as many as believe.
HE called HIS child out of Egypt, but THEY, the nation, the more the prophets called, the more they went away and indeed astray. The point contrast is intense, sustained and incoporates the difference between the merely touched, Israel, and the incarnate, God in His intensity of mercy, affection, desire, holiness and inter-trinitarian delight (as indeed in Isaiah 42:1, Matthew 3:17. These are the consistent, insistent and persistent criteria of this vast, great movement of God to DO IT HIMSELF, not in frustration, but in devotion, not in tempestuous temper, but in glorious liberality. Yet it is not an extravaganza without realism, for as in Hosea 14, the RESULTS WHERE the Messianic mercy has been applied, are beautiful in proportion, like wonderful trees, in savour (II Corinthians 2:14) and in settled and established beauty of holiness (cf. Isaiah 33:6).
In particular, we find the millenial wonder, as in Isaiah 11, 65, Micah 4, Revelation 20. Thus, moving in our approach to Hosea 11:1, out topic, we look back to Hosea 3:5. Here we find that there is to be the time when not only are they refurbished as His people, but have the personal presence in rule, of DAVID their King (dead some centuries before): in other words, of the famous spiritual being who was to come into this world through David's ongoing genealogy. This, it is the Messiah (as in Psalm 2, 45, Isaiah 11, II Samuel 7, Zechariah 6:12); and He will rule. Out of Egypt in a vast tenderness did God call His Son, and through Him, not by a "not my people", but by an intimate fellow, does God redeem Israel's elect, and indeed all who so come to Him.
They, of the nation, for their part will THEN seek the Lord AND David their King, precisely as in Psalm 2, where the Lord AND His Messiah (or anointed) are the topic of international restiveness and assault, so that the Lord's resurrection of the Messiah as here implied and stated in Psalm 16, occurs. That as in the Psalm (2:6-12) leads on to an international rule (as in Psalm 67, 96:13, 100) with glorious spiritual reality widely realised (as in Habakkuk 2:14 and Isaiah 11); for the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
In other words, if you look backwards, from the millenial, you find the national uprising against Christ, 'cured' for strategic purposes in the resurrection of His body; and if you look forwards you find the millenial rule, mentioned early in Hosea, but with its occasions developed as the book progresses.
Finding then the milieu, the centre, the focus for faith, we follow it, like blood hounds, or if you prefer, the participants in a paper-chase.
Thus when we were led earlier in the prophecy, to Hosea 5:15-6:3. Israel is depicted as realising something of his follies, but the judgment comes at that period (5:14), and the Lord says this: "I will return again to My place, till they acknowledge their offence. Then they will seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me."
The focus for this magnificent mutation of heart, this spiritual transformation, which is to come to Israel, is then revealed in 6:1-3. The Lord exposes this sharply. He does so, using an intense empathy coming into a kind of identification, as seen in Isaiah 49:3 (yet it is one kept distinct the Lord's own infinite, almighty and wholly pure and righteous Being). This is further exemplified in Isaiah 64:9 - "in all their affliction, He was afflicted," and demonstrated in Isaiah 26:19. There His people are referred to as "My dead body" (as parallel to I Corinthians 15:20-22,48-49) which will arise, the dead coming from the dust of their former form, to the eternal tabernacle made for them (as in II Corinthians 5:1ff.).
Accordingly in Hosea 6, we have this gloriously brotherly and graciously kindred feeling, as explained in Hebrews 2, on the part of the Lord, who in receiving the incarnation shows even in form, the mighty brilliance of His impartative love (cf. Psalm 40), His whole-hearted vigour of thrusting spirit that will not cease till the crucifixion to pay the penalty of sin and the resurrection to demonstrate the reality of power. It is shown that it is indeed God (Romans 1:4) who did it, Himself breaching death. Such was the prospect which we now know in this 21st century, as the performance! As always, the one, the forecast in the prophets becomes the other, the event in history.
Indeed, as we see in Hosea 13:14, it is a VERY personal matter for God for He declares that He will CONSTITUTE in Himself both the deliverance from the grave (and all that goes with that - sheol) and the destruction of death. Like a virus that takes over the functions of the cells and uses them, so the Lord will take over the functions of death and in human format, actually DIE to end the dynamic in His all-enveloping heart and all-sufficient bodily campus.
Here now in Hosea 6, we find the focus for His awaiting this time when "they will seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me."
Thus does Hosea 5:15 move to 6:1, and the void becomes its filling, the seeking, the found and the yearning the event.
It is now, in this next verse, that we hear of this return, and truly many did come to the Lord in Israel when He appeared, and how many diligently waited in faith for Him (cf. Simeon, as in Luke 2:38, and Anna) . In this way, with these preliminaries, we see this love with resurrection, empathy with action, this divine diligence to meet human hope.
"Come," it says, "and let us return to the LORD;
for He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days, He will revive us;
on the third day He will rise us up,
that we may live in His sight."
Let us then look at this crux in Hosea 6, further.
We find that as seen in the end of Hosea 5, the Lord has indeed torn them, but there is now that alternative pattern, that supervening mercy which has been spoken of from the first in Hosea, that movement from NOT My people to MY People, from NO Mercy to CHILDREN OF THE LIVING GOD. That however was the final outcome after many days! Meanwhile the alienation declared in Ch. 1 rules, and the grace that saves is postponed till they seek Him early! That, it is the end of the travail, when what God has offered is what they at long last receive, in vast numbers as in Romans 11:25ff..
In the meantime, they are as spiritual aliens. This is not allowed to stand without the reconciliation to come, and its basis is presented in terms not of their works, but of HIS divine works, which follow in Hosea 6:1ff..
Torn ? yes, but healed by the very same Being. Stricken ? yes, but BOUND UP, by the same One who in judgment unleashed the realities into the bemused dreamings of a misled Israel (as in Jeremiah 23:11-22). As there also (Jeremiah 23:5), it is the Lord Himself who comes, in person and in flesh; and He only who is the solution.
After two days (the rest of Friday in the fulfilment and Saturday in inclusive counting, in the fulfilment in Jesus the Christ), He will revive us. Just as in all their affliction, He was afflicted, so here in their sins He is ground down, even to death, but in His omnipotence and sinlessness, He is unable to be contained by death (Acts 2:24), which breaking, He arises, and with Himself, brings back to the light of spiritual day, His people (cf. John 20:19ff.). These, as always in covenantal matters, are those who believe (as in Deuteronomy 29:18-20).
The beautiful way in which the next day, the famous 3rd is found in Hosea 6:2-6:3, is striking. Thus the REVIVAL occurs after two, but on the third is the raising up, the resurrection, the deliverance from death. The lion of Hosea 5:14 did not merely fawn! He ate! It is from death they come, as in Isaiah 26:19. The third day sees as a separated entity, the raising up beyond mere revival. If the stirring occurs in the second day's conclusion, the rising comes in the third's dawning! So it was with Jesus the Christ.
Not only so, "we shall live in His sight" (Hosea 6:2): "because I live, you will live also!" as Jesus put it (John 14:19).
Nor is this waterfall of flowing grace finished yet. More is to come, for if the Victor (cf. Isaiah 25:8, I Cor. 15:54) has overcome death, this divine focus of mercy throughout the prophets, then so too has His ongoing life in His people a dynamic of wonder.
"Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord,
that His going forth is established as the morning.
He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth."
As put in Acts 3:19:
"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,
so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the LORD,
and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before."
Here then is a season of refreshing, Here indeed, since there is more than one seen in Hosea 6:3, are "seasons" of refreshing, just as Peter echoed in Acts 3:19.
The complete parcel of exuberant mercy so is completed. It is for one as for all: if it comes to be for an unrully nation in repentance, for them to find this life, and if to many Gentiles it comes in self-loathing and recognition of the infinite purity of Christ, then that. Yet all become one in one spiritual place, one divine entity, one faith for one grace, where what had not been His people are now ALL (that is all who receive and believe) His people (cf. Romans 9:24ff.).
AMPLIFICATION and REVIEW
Hosea 7 reveals, for that exacerbating interim of Israel's rebellion, the constant yearning of the divine love, and in verse 1 it gleams at its height:
"When I would have healed Israel,
then the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered, the wickedness of Samaria, for they have committed fraud...
they do not remember in their hearts
that I remember all their wickedness..."
How often in Jeremiah, and especially in Jeremiah 17, is the divine yearning seen burning in its wonder for the love of His people. Having challenged them to the uttermost concerning coming judgment, the Lord here at this relatively late stage in that prophet's ministry to Israel, is offering them the simplest of tests, concerning the day of rest, and offering them a complete pardon and restitution on the spot: but the test is not applied by the people. How this talks to the hearts of those who are forever avoiding the offers of new divine grace in their lives, and clinging as if to salvation, to sin in its squalor instead.
Here in Hosea 7, there is that same love as seen for example in Hosea 11:8. WHEN I WOULD HAVE HEALED, THEN THIS! In 11:8, we have this parallel in its intensity and immensity:
"How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I set you like Zeboiim?
My heart churns within Me ..."
Nor is the divine love for Israel only, for we find the same expression of intense yearning and love, desire and sorrow a the fact that judgment is recklessly, indeed ruinously chosen, relative to MOAB likewise! This is seen in Jeremiah 48: 31-36, in an intensive excursus of divine speech, from which that below is taken (bold added for identification):
"Therefore I will wail for Moab,
And I will cry out for all Moab;
I will mourn for the men of Kir Heres.
O vine of Sibmah! I will weep for you with the weeping of Jazer.
Your plants have gone over the sea,
They reach to the sea of Jazer.
plunderer has fallen on your summer fruit and your vintage.
"Joy and gladness are taken
From the plentiful field
And from the land of Moab;
I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses;
No one will tread with joyous shouting—
Not joyous shouting!
"From the cry of Heshbon to Elealeh and to Jahaz
They have uttered their voice,
From Zoar to Horonaim,
Like a three-year-old heifer;
For the waters of Nimrim also shall be desolate.
"Moreover," says the Lord,
"I will cause to cease in Moab
The one who offers sacrifices in the high places
And burns incense to his gods.
"Therefore My heart shall wail like flutes for Moab,
And like flutes My heart shall wail
For the men of Kir Heres,
"For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped;
On all the hands shall be cuts, and on the loins sackcloth—
A general lamentation
On all the housetops of Moab,
And in its streets;
For I have broken Moab like a vessel in which is no pleasure,"
says the Lord."
It is in Hosea 10:12, as we move to the
depth and heights of the conclusion of the matter,
that we come to this:
"Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap in mercy.
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you."
There we know that HE IS COMING.
We find this recurring theme, whether in Psalm (e.g. 96:13) or Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 32), in minor prophet (Micah 7) or major prophet (Isaiah 59). He comes in spiritual liberation on the one hand, in physical sacrificial role on the other, to bring seasons of refreshing in anticipation but especially FOLLOWING the THIRD DAY, in raising up a spiritual people; and He challenges and exhorts them to be realistic and seek righteousness in the interim, for the real righteousness which COUNTS (as in Psalm 71:14-16) is that which so far from being obtained by man's exertions, is to come not only freely but with a magnificent liberality. It is as when one has been watering a garden under water restrictive policy, with a watering can; and then IT RAINS ... heavily!
The coming incarnation, redemption, refreshing, regality to rule, all are portended. Now that they have come, woe to those who despise them, for they are for sinners life, and for all the children of men but Christ, God incarnate, there is none that is no sinner (Hebrews 2).
What then of
this other 'Israel',
this other body, that of Christ for those who follow on to know the Lord,
this other destiny,
It is this which is
sustained by the power of God and
enabled to live by the connection
with that same Christ, who -
aborting an evil destiny to His people,
having borne it in Himself for
these His own,
exhorting ALL to come in the
removes His redeemed to Himself when the resurrection time comes,
and wraps up history with truth.
Sin has cavorted, love is not aborted, devil's desire is thwarted, salvation is wrought not by Israel in its woeful expedition from Egypt, but by that same One, "MY SON", whom God "called out of Egypt," the alternative route, the eternal pass into glory, Himself the Lord of glory.
From these preliminaries, for our purpose of considering Hosea 11, and some have been in themselves ultimates, we come to the power and grace involved in the prediction concerning Christ coming from Egypt.
In between the longing love of Hosea 7:1, and that of 11:8, and both after the cardinal redemption of 5:15-6:3, with all this composed before the finale of that thrust, as surveyed in Hosea 13:14 by the divine counsel: we come to the wonder of this word of Hosea 11:1.
"When Israel was a child, I loved Him, and out of Egypt I called My son."
As noted above: "Where the whole book is framed in an allegory, Hosea as if God, taking a bride, an adulteress, as if God were taking on Israel, a bride who decamps and adulterates the marriage who is then brought and bought back in redemption, indicative of the divine action to that end, to come in Jesus Christ, the Messiah: it is unthinkable that there would be an exclusion of what gives both point and pith, human face and divine demission mixed as in the very mode of salvation itself, in the personal domain of God Himself."
As we have seen above, it is not only unthinkable, but the opposite is constrained by the many and diverse considerations inherent in the text both of Hosea and the entire Bible.
The FLESH, the INCARNATION is the whole point: there and there only is the redemption to come. There is the completion for the code, the fulfilment for the fashioning, the index for the event. Here without admixture through empathy, or through alien theological implication, here in lonely majesty and clearly outlined reality, in purity of person and express singularity of mission is HE who, being incarnate, brought life to cover death and suffered death to present life to mankind.
As soon as incarnate, from the very first (as in Revelation 12), it was He who was desired for death by the devil, as a young man might lust for life in the flesh, so lusting for death in Christ's flesh; and coming out of Egypt, it was He who was enabled to proceed from His escape to His task. Escaping to Egypt, He thus comes OUT OF IT! In Hosea we then travel from 11 to 13, where we find the grand design for the motion of the Messiah and the inveterate decision of deity to secure this result. Such is love; such is wisdom, such is power and such is the plan of salvation. To participate in it, to be one of the redeemed is a privilege so vast that grace comes here to its epitome, understanding to its summit and the glory of God shines through love and mercy, past pity to its profound consummation in Christ (cf. Ephesians 1:10).
Here, moreover, is the bridegroom signified
in the illustrative work of the prophet in marrying an adulteress. Here is the
One who put Himself in just that vein when He came (cf. Mark 2:18-22), not to
call the righteous, self-styled, but sinners (Mark 2:17). Here is the Redeemer whom God is committed to BEING, and BECOMING in historical
reality (as in Isaiah 7, 9, 11, Psalm 40, 49:7,15), who responding to call,
comes out of Egypt and so completes His mission of wonder
Here is the incursion as in Micah 5, where even the birthplace for the incarnation is denoted in explicit form, for the Almighty. Here is the body, here is the call out of death in infancy to death in maturity: the plan not pulverised in mortal power, but divinely propelled into its purchasing power securing its target in truth.
What has to be is already seen in Hosea 6, the ransom price being paid and the resurrection achieved on the third day, that promise that is a premiss to the entirety of the redemption (Psalm 40, 49, Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 102, Isaiah 7,9,49-55). Now we see the beginning phase of the matter within that intense love module shown in Hosea 7-11.
The prophecies are often put in the past tense (prophetic perfect) because of their graphic constraint on the heart of the prophet, and the fact that they will be fact. Hence here following the execution of the incarnate Christ, exhibited in Hosea 6, is the institution phase of 11. After the point of victory, we see the pathway to it! After the exit is the entrance. That is the sequence of significance! It is then at the end or near it, of Hosea that we find the declaration of intent, as throughout we find the intensity that lies behind it (for example, 2:19, 3:5, 6:3, 7:1, 11:8,11, 13:9,14m 14:1ff.).
Thus the crux is the cross (Galatians 6:14), and so the nub is the incarnation. Without it, nothing can be done. When THIS Israel, that of Isaiah 49:6, that One who instead of being reprobate is intensely and intensively loved, that prince of peace whose very name embraces the reality (Isaiah 9:6-7), when it is HE Himself comes, then He will be called out of Egypt. Israel consecutively ran from grace, but THIS SON persistently ran with it. And His running has fruition in power. He exhibits it; He then confers it on His people, in heart, in spirit and at last, in body at the redemption of the body (Romans 8:30). Such is the message.
To be sure, this is a parallel, intentionally imposed on the Israel that came out of Egypt under Moses, to exhibit His glory in glaring and acute contrast, the way of God and the woes of the nation. So far from being an oblivion to history, it is its culmination in Christ which is in view. It is not a suppression order on the past, but an impression order for the future which is in mind. Here is a love reciprocal to infinity, without blemish (Hosea 11:1,3-4), conjoined with the people without tremor or retraction of Hosea 13. What was in part and in process from time to time for Israel in its revolt, is with THIS Israel, this Christ, a love which is amplified into perfection in fatherly tenderness that continues, until its work is fulfilled by Him who DOES it, and does NOT fail, so making the Microcosm Message of Hosea a dew-drop of delight, yes an array of them, in the fields of faith.
It is in this way that Immediately into this wonder, there is set the contrast. This is seen in Hosea 11:1-2; and this transition from incapacity to omni-competence, from failure to triumph is precisely as in the movement from Isaiah 41 to Isaiah 42. As Isaiah 41 ends, we find ALL men are incapable of doing what has to be done, but at once in Isaiah 42, we come to Him whom the Lord elects. As to Him, HE is MOST capable of doing it - and the Messiah is then presented in Isaiah 42 at length, constituting in HIMSELF the covenant! In Isaiah 49 we see His theme renewed and increased, and there in the midst of the works of this Covenant to the people (42:6) we see the light to the Gentiles, so that where the one Israel the nation becomes witless for the work, He is shown triumphant in its achievement, so by Isaiah 53, He divides the spoil with the strong, taking His own from the baying wolves and the stuttering goats (cf. Matthew 25).
Thus the UNCHILDLIKE horror of Israel, which aborted and betrayed the relationship, like a divorce even in childhood (just as the rebellion of Israel came EVEN BEFORE the sea crossing in Egypt!), is at once flung into sight in 11:2. Yet it is there only to be contrasted with the prodigious simplicity of God calling His own Son out of Egypt with an intense love, one seen outlined in 11:3-4 and an immense result as seen in Hosea 6:1-4. As to Israel the nation, Hosea 11:2 quickly despatches any thought of enduring reality there, or of their being the coping stone: "As they called them, so they went from them" So far from it, they could not and did not cope!
What does this sentence in Hosea mean ? It is this.
The more the prophets called, the more the people rushed away. Love lavished is folly consummated! Thus the perilous parallel is drawn. But we must move on with 11:3-4; for here the contrasting tenderness of intimacy and delight is displayed! In this segment of Hosea, therefore, we see both the input for Hosea 6, that of deity into flesh, and what the Lord will do to make the parallel into a contrast, as so often; and the output of historical Israel. They are not like tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum, but like darkness and light.
Then in 11:8 we find the divine yearning as this contrasting situation is exposed and expounded; but it is met with that decisive design of deity, effected and wrought as in Hosea 6, through Him who is provided, as in Hosea 11. Indeed in Hosea 13:14, we see the grand strategic plan which both brings into flesh what requires it, the divine determination personally to BE the ransom for all who receive Him and makes this plan irrevocable. It is in this plan that Christ brings out of flesh what inspires it, namely the impetus of sin in the resultant of death. Yet it also puts back into resurrected body what demonstrates the payment, as in Hosea 6, and so completes the circuit required by 13:14.
Out of Egypt God has called His Son, the One who makes the difference, where a fatherly affection knows no interruption, in precise contrast and irruptive glory transfiguring the clash seen in 11:2. There that disowned son (as in Hosea 1), is shown sadly. Not only did Israel, that of national history, NOT come when the prophets called, but they revolted the MORE as the prophets appealed to them THE MORE! It was not only an adversative process, it was one cumulatively so, and this with acceleration, like a veritable cyclotron of aroused sin. How vast the contrast is this situation for Israel, with that of the Son on whom the Father looks with that paternal love, so fulfilled in His Incarnate Son, Word, as in Isaiah 42:1ff..
It is with that same movement from Israel as failing to be relevant in this domain, to that Israel, the Lord who is wonderful, that is seen as Isaiah 51, that the Bible repeatedly and in many figures moves from the incompetence for its own salvation of Israel the nation, to the famed Redemption Central of Isaiah 52-53 (51:19-20, cf. 41:28). Moreover as is Israel, so the world (Jeremiah 16:19). What could not be in one mouthful, as it were, a reprobate nation refused so much as the title of His people, but rather denied it, and His beloved Son, let alone in the milieu of salvation and incarnation, becomes the palace in flesh of the eternal Son and the place in flesh of the reprobate nation. The transition is light to the blind and binding to the broken. Here lies salvation.
It is STILL true that God has called His SON out of Egypt, that One on whom His love is made to rest in tenderness in continuity as in 11:3-4, that One who is effectual, required, designated in Hosea 6, constrained because of 13:14; and it is still true that failure though Israel became spiritually, yet here is an Israel as in Isaiah 49:3, in whom God is well-pleased: not a nation but a man. It is He is "My fellow" or companion, as in Zechariah of whom God says this, "Awake, O sword against My Shepherd, against the Man who is My Fellow," says the Lord. Strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered." Yet it is He who provides the shadow of a mighty Rock (Isaiah 32:2), having dealt deadly dynamic to the domain of death.
This is the greatest result in history, the elimination of that plague to the psyche of man, that dominion to his body and the destiny to his life. Yes and in Hosea, those just announced to be "NOT MY PEOPLE" (Ch. 1), find in Him a ground for spiritual restoration.
It is because of the triumph which comes by the Son of God, "My Son", that the things spiritually displaced by rebellion are replaced by redemption. Here then is once again that Other Israel who is the Messiah Himself. It is in Him that is found the reason for the restoration, at the finale of the Age, so that in plenitude amid the nation of Israel, once more, are to be found MY PEOPLE, children of the living God. Those who ran unremittingly from Him, are now brought unrelentingly back, as many as believe.
In Hosea's day, THEN they are as aliens; in the end, they return as friends. But first ? It is this. Out of Egypt HE would ASSUREDLY come HIMSELF, in train of the great demonstration of parallels, what man did and what God did to overcome it. As in Hosea 13:14 in intent, so in Hosea 11:1 in advent. He came. Here the thrust of divine intention becomes the "must" the obligation, of divine invention, to follow the way of Israel the nation, and to subsume its loss in His gain. So again, in Hosea 6:1ff., He goes but not without achieving His aim of being the destruction of death, and leaving His people to follow on to KNOW HIM!
Sharp as heaven and earth is the distinction between these two 'sons', these two 'Israels'.
The one fell, the Other arose; in Hosea 11 you see both the one and the Other in rank parallel and amazing closeness. The one turned askew more and more, Hosea's NOT MY PEOPLE; and the more called, the more reneged. The other, however, came in love and lived in intimacy with the Father who sent Him. The one made necessary the smiting of the Other, and the Other made the one acceptable when raised, as he will be, those of his grouping who believe, when the time comes so that the NOT My people status of Israel before the word of God in Hosea, once more becomes MY PEOPLE, in its finale!
Because He called “My Son” out of Egypt, therefore an Israel again engulfed long after the Egyptian servitude, is brought on a way not only empathetic even in placement, but energetic in replacement!
It is central to the thesis and theme of the entire Bible that THIS SON came out of Egypt, for it is He who alone could cover and did, what the Son of God ought and had to cover, in order that man might be invented at all (Isaiah 51:16). Here is found no more NOT MY PEOPLE, the lot of the metaphorical 'son', in their alienated spiritual exclusion nationally announced by Hosea, but MY SON, in His eternal heavenly intimacy, in His prevailing potency and grace. In this very place in Hosea 6-11, there comes then a blast-off like a rocket from the failure of earth to the grandeur of heaven, and from this returning, we find the Son of His desire.
How closely He is made to nestle in the text and context of Hosea. Here is the ground for His coming, for His sending, the effect of His labours, the result for the life of His people mingled with the cost of the result. Here is discovered the duplication of what failed in the original, by the mercy of deity Himself. How ? It is found in the Son who counted and covered what is of faith, in the son who had discounted.
Here then is that Son, that contested Son, that invested Son, the saving Son, who speaks pre-incarnate in Psalm 2, announcing this:
"I will declare the decree,
The Lord has said to Me,
'You are My Son.
Today I have begotten You,
Ask of Me and I will give you the nations...' ",
'"Kiss the Son lest He be angry ..."
"Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him."
Begotten from the dead in the face of the turmoiled assaults of His enemies, as described in Psalm 2 earlier, and detailed in Psalms 16,22, He is inveterate in victory as invincible in grace.
It is THIS SON, the declared Son amidst a divorced people who comes out of Egypt, with His OWN NAME, no divorce for ever in that, to fulfil the mission so multiply described in Hosea, that book which is the very acme of antithesis, between the purity of God, the power of His Messiah and the puniness of Israel and the need for a restoration to the name it has lost and the way from which it has fallen.
It is the credit of God, who donates without interest, which as He saves some, makes of the incredulous amid a discredited people, the very children of God. HE did the work: in Hosea 13:14, nothing could be clearer than this. Love was motivational; death was the actuality to be faced. If horror were the nature of the work of love, then "pity is hidden from My eyes", says the Lord. The idea counts. The failure discounts. The mission mounts, the commission to Israel out of Egypt, MY SON, is tendered; the work is wrought and so WE SHALL KNOW, those who believe, the work of God for ourselves, in our own living, like the arising of the sun, thrusting with light given, amid the darkness and being prepared for every good work.
*1 In Vol. 1 of the Minor Prophets, in the Commentaries on the Old Testament of Keil and Delitsch.
Here is a further facet in the fascinating light found in this aspect. The word of Hosea 11 is straight and simple: "When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called My son."
Above, in Ch. 10, after flashing judgments, there is as so often, a gracious entreaty. It is this: "Sow for yourselves righteousness,
Reap in mercy.
"Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you."
After this is Ch. 11 with the Lord's SON, whom He calls, and in 13:14, His determination that in His own deity, He will BE the destruction of death, which of course is the work of the Messiah as in Psalm 16,22,40. There is a substantial parallel to this sequence. Thus Joel 2, there is a vast declamation against Israel, a coming catastrophe of natural disaster. It is followed by a call to repentance (2:12ff.), and a cry, "Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness, and He relents from doing harm."
There is an opening for mercy followed then by the declaration (Keil),
- "And ye sons of
, exult and rejoice in the Lord your God; Zion
for He gives you the teacher for righteousness,
and causes to come down to you a rain-fall, early rain and latter rain,
first of all."
This proceeds in Joel 2:28 to the famous passage, cited by Peter at Pentecost, "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh..."
Thus you see judgment, appeal to seek the Lord in repentance, the Messiah and then the outpouring of the Spirit, to come at Pentecost, in terms of that self-same Messiah, murdered as in Isaiah 52-53, 49:7.
Accordingly, there is a considerable, a substantial parallel between this movement of thought in Joel and that in Hosea. In each, the judgment has figured prominently, in each there is a reference to mercy, in each there comes that Israel who will redeem, and in each there is the potent expression in association with this, of the outpouring of the Spirit (Acts) or to the Lord acting so that He "rains righteousness on you." The Father, the Son and the Spirit in each case come together closely in operation.
Further, in Hosea 11, within this segment, 11:1-4, there is a fascinating assemblage of elements. Thus first of all, we have the simple announcement, as so often in prophecy, presented as already done (the prophetic perfect), that "when Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son." As noted, this has a double reference, for the reasons given, to both Israel the failed nation, and to that Israel (as in Isaiah 49:3) who was prodigiously loved and profoundly successful, in contrast to the nation, in its spiritual task. As in the Psalms, a Messianic reference can open up out of, or even in a preliminary context.
Immediately after this opening to the 4 verse jewel in Hosea 11:1-4, there is the outrageous contrast of failure in Israel, the nation. "As they called them, so they went from them." In other words, as to Israel, the nation, loved though this was, its recalcitrant obstructionism in the midst of divine deliverance was gross and verging on the incredible (it was shown in essence in Exodus 32:10, when the nation verged on extinction, with Moses himself in line to replace them).
In other words, the more the prophets in the Lord's name called to Israel to come to attention, to a point, to a spirit of gracious reliance on God, to come TO Him, the more they went FROM Him, as shown in the attitude to His prophets' messages. Indeed, as we complete 11:2, we find that they were so delirious as to sacrifice to nature gods, given title of 'lord', and to burn incense to images made by man, in a ludicrous offering of what is due to the Maker, to the made! (cf. Romans 1:17ff., Psalm 94). That is is close to the Gentile obsession now needs no further explanation here.
Next, in verse 3, you have the other nomenclature, Ephraim, used as a tag for the people, and God says that "I taught Ephraim to walk, talking them by the arms, but they did not know that I healed them."
The attention of reprobation has become, thus, once more tender, and in verse 4 it becomes exceedingly much so, "I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love." Here again the nation, so rough and recalcitrant is in view in a marginal fashion, but it stands here for that other Israel, where reality, reciprocity and tenderness triumphed in such mutuality that it was to leave many aghast and amazed (as in John 7:45ff., Mark 2).
Thus there is a lingering confrontation between what in some ways are opposites, the nation and the Messiah, both having in one sense or another, the title 'son', one that of eternity in the intent of non-biological expression, and the other in the sense of a figure, for what is to be begotten as a nation by divine aid and action, and brought up in His ways.
There essentials collide, but the underlying grandeur of the love of God joins them, now filled with tenderness and simple directness, now meeting obstruction and wandering. As before, we move on till the Lord makes it clear what is for each 'son', the one to redeem and, as far as faith comes, the other to BE redeemed.
In a different sort of plateau of beauty, this reminds us of the sudden announcement to be found in Nahum 1:15, concerning the message also found in Isaiah 52:7, relating to the coming Messiah, and the wonder of the message concerning Him, one which makes even the feet of those who bring such evangelical tidings, to be beautiful by association and by being instrumental in conveying such news as this!
The Son of His love and triumph is certainly to be called out of Egypt, in terms of this prophecy, and was in history because of the death surge of Herod's vanity and ambition, to kill any possible opposition or replacement. In a more erratic way; but yet so in history, Israel also was called out of that nation. Vice and victim, rebels and redeemer, both were so called, each for its appointed task, and with very different results.
Indeed, how COULD such a nation, so disaffiliated, so categorically and that so recently in this very book of Hosea, through the hand of this very prophet, be referred to with so filial an emphasis in such simplicity, in an environment so revealing of its directly opposite and cumulative misconduct (11:2), with such unalloyed tenderness and paternal bliss to follow (11:3-4) except their Rock, Redeemer, Restorer were in view, giving unction and grace to the relationship, filtering the evil and implementing the good, giving form to the pity and force to the designation, My Son! Such is Hosea 11:1. Thus is the reference in Matthew 2:15 readily understood.
As in Isaiah, but here in Hosea in the very midst of allegory of the most simple and relational kind, the Word turns from reprobative rigour to anointing delight through this Son, and this alone. Where that national 'son' failed, this One, this incarnate Son would succeed (as in Isaiah 11:1ff.). Where that one issued from Egypt to the rebellion shown in the very next verse (Hosea 11:2), shown in Egypt even amidst the miraculous deliverances, this One would issue from that same land with the relationship both sharply clear, simply put and granting grace. Here indeed is depiction of the Restorer of the fallen who, as in prelude to this revelation in Hosea 11:1ff., in Hosea 10:12 so acts that "He comes and rains righteousness on you", the very cloud of gift and the atmosphere of anointing. Here the sprig is to be formed that grows to the Branch, and here is the saturation point of salvation, that endures in its time the worst, to achieve the most.
As in Joel 2:22-23 expresses it, amidst contrasting devastation and plague, in prelude to the Pentecostally fulfilled passage of 2:28ff. (Keil):
"Fear ye not , O beast of the field! for the pastures of the desert become green, for the tree bears its fruit; fig-tree and vine yield their strength.
And ye sons of Zion, exult and rejoice in the Lord your God;
for He giveth you the teacher for righteousness, and causes to come down to you a rain-fall, early rain and latter rain, first of all."
The use of rain as a significant symbol, beautifully transferred in Joel
from that sating drought to that satisfying souls is in common
with that in Hosea 10:12 leading on to 11:1. It also parallels the transition from devastation to inundation in Isaiah 32:15, with its Messianic results, in that chapter, commencing indeed with the very depiction
of the Messiah Himself (32:1-4), again with the healing savour to the spirit, and transforming power to the maladies of man.
It is THIS teacher of Joel 2:23 (as in Isaiah 42:1-4, 55:4, as in Micah 4:1ff.
as prelude to the Messiah in Micah 5:1ff.),
it is He who enables the outcome in Pentecost seen in 2:28ff.,
beginning, "And it shall come to pass afterwards that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh... ,"
cited by Peter when that development and divine dynamic
duly arrived to envelop the earth in its time.
At all times, He and He alone is the basis.
On this revelation in Joel, see the exposition in More Marvels ... Ch. 5; Great Execrations ... Ch. 10
See on more of this introduction, SMR Ch. 6, as marked.
See Isaiah 29:14 cf. Jesus Christ for the People, but not for this World Ch. 2.