Hosea 4 – The Glimmer of Light in the Great Shaking 何西阿书4 – 大动荡中一丝微光
Tuesday, 2nd May 2023
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
Section One V1-3 God Knows, God Repays 神知道神报应
V1-3 ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you children of Israel, for the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed. Therefore the land will mourn; and everyone who dwells there will waste away with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air; even the fish of the sea will be taken away.’
V1-3 ‘以色列人哪，你们当听耶和华的话！耶和华与这地的居民争辩：因这地上无诚实，无良善，无人认识神，但起假誓，不践前言，杀害，偷盗，奸淫，行强暴，杀人流血接连不断， 因此这地悲哀，其上的民、田野的兽、空中的鸟必都衰微，海中的鱼也必消灭。’
God knows our weakness and God knows our failures, and He continues to give us the Truth, so when we fall, we can stand up again, and we will not stay in sin. On Sunday, we learnt about zero anger, it’s not an easy thing to do but we must continue to strive for zero anger by the grace of God. Having zero anger is to help us walking towards completeness and holiness. This is the time of great shaking, but can we see the light in the darkness surround us? The darkness has covered the earth and the deep darkness has covered the people. God knows all the wicked things happening around the world, we thought God would not know our sins and transgressions, but God knows it all. He was not talking to the people of the world but the people of Israel, His chosen people.
Do not think that by ourselves we can revive the world, this is the generation of darkness, when we see around our lives, we see earthquakes, plagues, wars, economic crisis, pollutions… the world will pass one day, God knows everything, God sees everything, and God will repay. Can we face this reality? May God give us wisdom, let us open our eyes and see what God is doing.
Section Two V4-14 Men Without Wisdom, Men Fall 人无智慧人堕落
V4-6 ‘Now let no man contend, or rebuke another; for your people are like those who contend with the priest. Therefore you shall stumble in the day; the prophet also shall stumble with you in the night; and I will destroy your mother. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.’
The priests and the prophets did not do anything, in the time of Hosea, it was also the time of great shaking, but the prophets and the priests did not speak the truth, they only pleased people and they did not teach the law of the Lord. They did not show people how to honour God, day and night, they continued to follow their own lustful desires, not listening to God and not teaching the people about God. The prophets and the priests were following the world, they connected with the world instead of connecting with God, the more people became the priests and the prophets, the more people sinned against God.
V7-10 ‘The more they increased, the more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of My people; they set their heart on their iniquity. And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their deeds. For they shall eat, but not have enough; they shall commit harlotry, but not increase; because they have ceased obeying the Lord.’
The priests were eating up the sins of people, they saw the sinfulness and did not intervene, they continued to enlarge themselves in sins. Together with the people, the priests went further away from God. As the priests of this generations, we also must teach people about God, do not let them follow their own desires of the world, do not think that we are doing them a favour by giving them ‘freedom’, God will repay, we must return quickly, stop following this world otherwise we will quickly fall.
V11-14 ‘Harlotry, wine, and new wine enslave the heart. My people ask counsel from their wooden idols, and their staff informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, and they have played the harlot against their God. They offer sacrifices on the mountaintops, and burn incense on the hills, under oaks, poplars, and terebinths, because their shade is good. Therefore your daughters commit harlotry, and your brides commit adultery. I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, nor your brides when they commit adultery; for the men themselves go apart with harlots, and offer sacrifices with a ritual harlot. Therefore people who do not understand will be trampled.’
V11-14 ‘“奸淫和酒并新酒夺去人的心。我的民求问木偶，以为木杖能指示他们。因为他们的淫心使他们失迷，他们就行淫离弃神，不守约束。 在各山顶，各高冈的橡树、杨树、栗树之下献祭烧香，因为树影美好。所以，你们的女儿淫乱，你们的新妇行淫。你们的女儿淫乱，你们的新妇行淫，我却不惩罚她们，因为你们自己离群与娼妓同居，与妓女一同献祭。这无知的民必致倾倒！’
Without God coming to punish us, we will die in this world if we departed from the presence of God. Not only ourselves will perish, but also our children and our inheritance. Do not think that we will be ok as the people of God, when we don’t have the knowledge of God, when we don’t receive the wisdom of God, we will fall into this world. The world will swallow us up, God did not depart from us, but we choose to walk away from God, we choose the live in the darkness, and we choose death.
Section Three V15-19 Men Must Choose to Humble 人要选择要谦卑
V15-19 ‘Though you, Israel, play the harlot, let not Judah offend. Do not come up to Gilgal, nor go up to Beth Aven, nor swear an oath, saying, ‘As the Lord lives’— For Israel is stubborn like a stubborn calf; now the Lord will let them forage like a lamb in open country. Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone. Their drink is rebellion, they commit harlotry continually. Her rulers dearly love dishonour. The wind has wrapped her up in its wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.’
V15-19 ‘以色列啊，你虽然行淫，犹大却不可犯罪。不要往吉甲去，不要上到伯亚文，也不要指着永生的耶和华起誓。 以色列倔犟，犹如倔犟的母牛，现在耶和华要放他们，如同放羊羔在宽阔之地。以法莲亲近偶像，任凭他吧！ 他们所喝的已经发酸，他们时常行淫，他们的官长最爱羞耻的事。 风把他们裹在翅膀里，他们因所献的祭必致蒙羞。’
How can we see the light in the great shaking? We are confused and we are blinded, therefore we cannot see the Light of God has already come. God is already here with us, He wants us to arise and shine. How can we arise? When we see the light then we can arise, maybe it’s still a small beam of light, but when we choose light, we choose to walk towards the light, then we will see this Light becoming greater and brighter in our lives. Judah was smaller than Israel, but they chose not to sin, and God protected them. King Hezekiah of Judah chose to seek the Proverbs of King Solomon, because he knew only in the Word of God, he could find answers.
God told His people not to return to Gilgal, it was the first place the Israelites entered when they arrived the Promised Land, it was the land they experienced God greatly, but it had become a sinful land. Do not think that by going back to where we experienced God or by doing what we did in the past, then we can re-enter the blessing of God. We must first deal with our lives now, do not think that we can go back to the past, do not think that by following the old way, God will again be with us. The only way to save us is to repent now, to see the corruption of Gilgal, and to turn back to God.
Beth Aven is the land of sinfulness, they worshipped idols and they followed the world. Not only we don’t follow God but we are going astray, therefore God is calling us today to humble ourselves, to admit that without God we cannot do anything and we cannot go anywhere. God is doing a new thing, we should not go back to the old way but to follow God everyday. The glimmer of light in the great shaking is for us to choose God everyday, to follow His guidance, because He is love, He wants us to be completely humble and obedient, then we can receive this love.