Hosea 13 – The Danger in a Misplaced Hope

Throughout the nation’s history God identified himself to them as, the Hebrew word for help. King David claimed that reality in Psalm 54. David had been anointed the king of the land, but he spent fourteen years running for his life from King Saul. Yet confident of God’s presence and activity, David said, azar, “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.”

The nation Israel wouldn’t say that. Their darkest days came when the people sank to the lowest levels of willful independence from their Helper, when they could no longer honestly admit their helplessness, when their stubbornness wouldn’t allow them to call out to him. What we see now near the end of Hosea’s prophecy in chapter 13 is that life is caving in on them; destruction is imminent. Human help has failed. It is as if the people are even helpless to confess helplessness. The repeated opportunities that he has offered them to realize their helplessness without God haven’t broken the bonds of self-sufficiency-they have actually tightened them. With each narrow escape from calamity, the people’s arrogance is reinforced. It leads them farther away from the Lord and farther into sin.

We live today with contemporary manifestations of Israel’s malady, a helplessness in people that is intensified by their inability to cry out. It is true that some today live on the edge of addiction to self-help, to cleaning up the mess in their lives. But some people have resisted God’s help for so long that they have fallen into the greatest need of all-not even knowing that they have a need. [And] the stark reality is that those who persistently refuse the Lord’s help are given what they want – no help.

[And yet] here in verse 14 God promises the nation Israel life beyond the death of the Assyrian invasion and the destruction of exile and suffering. God has plans for his people. There will be a new beginning beyond their deserved death and burial. Implicit here is the astounding promise that death, that last great enemy, is ultimately going to be defeated. It has a ring of prophetic messianic hope. The apostle Paul, writing on this side of the death and resurrection of Jesus, claims that this verse was fulfilled in Messiah’s victory over death (1 Corinthians 15:54-57):

Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Doug Goins

Preparation for the Sermon
Read Hosea 13. Have you become complacent, self-reliant, made idols of this world, or placed your trust in other sources of hope? How does Scripture say God is better? What would keep you from pursuing what is better?

Preparation for the Lord’s Supper
Every last Sunday of the month, we as members of CLC take communion together. Please take some time to prepare well by walking through the below Scriptures.

(1) Examine your heart for ongoing sin and choose to turn from it. 1 Cor 11:27-29

(2) Take care of any business you have outstanding with other believers. Matt 5:23-24

(3) Take time to remember/muse/meditate on why He died. Matt 26:26-28

(4) Take time to “proclaim the Lord’s death.” Tell a non-believer about the hope you will celebrate. 2 Cor 3:12

Posted on: October 23, 2014 - 10:00PM

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