Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 70
ADULTEROUS ISRAEL TO BE RESTORED – PART 4
Hosea 2:14 – 4:14
Okay, here we are with lesson number four for the afternoon. For those of you joining us on television again, we’re just a simple Bible study. We are not connected with any group. I don’t have a large church, so don’t write and ask me about being a pastor or anything like that. I’m just a layman. But the Lord has seen fit to use us, whatever we are. We just ask people to search the Scriptures. Don’t go by what I say. Don’t go by what your denomination says. It might get you in trouble. You search the Scriptures, because that’s where it’s at. Because men are prone to get fouled up in their thinking. I’m amazed once in a while at the things that great men of reputation can come up with. And I hope and pray it will never happen to me, because it can. I can see that.
All right, we’re going to continue right on in our study of the book of Hosea. Remember in our last closing moments, we were talking about that when the Church is completed then God will come back and pick up His program with Israel. Now, before we go into chapter 4, I want to jump back to verse 5 of chapter 3 for just a second. Because here we have that same word–after–as we saw in Amos and in Acts chapter 15.
“Afterward shall the children of Israel return, (They’re going to come back from this time out in the dispersion.) and seek the LORD their God, and David their king;…”
Now here again, don’t get confused with that, because Christ in Scripture is the Son of David. Although some teach that David may rule and Christ over David–I’m not going to make a big argument of it–but I don’t think so. I think Christ is going to rule from David’s throne on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.
“…and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.” Well, that’s where we are. We’re in the latter days, I think, of God’s program for Israel and for the world.
All right, now let’s jump into chapter 4. Again, God’s going to come right back and deal with Israel’s sin, and all their sin is associated with their idolatry. I’ll point that out as we come to it. Verse 1
“Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel:…” See, now this isn’t written to us. This is written to Israel. But it’s for our learning, as Paul puts it. So, it’s still Scripture. It’s the Word of God, but it’s not written to us. It’s written to the Jew.
“Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy (He’s got a point that He’s dissatisfied with the Nation.) with the inhabitants of the land, because (Now look at their condition.) there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. 2. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood touching blood.” In other words, they are murdering so often that the blood of one victim is almost mingling with the blood of the next one.
All right, now let’s go and see how close we are worldwide to this same situation. Go to Paul in II Timothy chapter 3, and see if we aren’t in the same scenario that Israel was in back at the time of Hosea. This is Paul’s preview of the end of the Church Age–not the Tribulation, but the Church Age. That’s what I maintain when people say, “Well, the Church isn’t going to get raptured until we’re in the Tribulation.” Then why doesn’t Paul make any reference to disaster and death and destruction? He doesn’t. Not a word of that. But on the other hand, it’s a complete moral breakdown, even as you saw in Hosea. All right, II Timothy chapter 3 and this is the state of the world as the Church is approaching its end on earth.
II Timothy 3:1
“This know also, that in the last days (That is the last days of the Church Age, now.) perilous times shall come.” Well, if you don’t think we’re there, you’re not living in the world that I’m living in. And I’m out here in the boondocks of Southeastern Oklahoma. So, if I can be aware of it, certainly anyone should be that this is exactly where we are–now verse 2.
II Timothy 3:2a
“For men shall be lovers of their own selves,…” What’s the fancy word for it? Narcissism? Is that the word? Yes, all people live for is the “I.” I! I! I! Nuts to you! It’s all about me! All right, that’s a sign of the end times.
II Timothy 3:2a
“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous,…” Now again, what does Scripture always associate with coveting? What we’re dealing with in Israel. Idolatry! Now granted, we’re not living in a society in America with wooden idols on every hilltop. We aren’t associating with a society that is falling down and worshipping the gods and goddesses. But we’ve got all this materialism that is just as bad. So, you can equate idolatry with that. All right, reading on.
II Timothy 3:2b-3a
“…boasters, proud, blasphemers, (What’s that…what did they call it back in Hosea? Swearing! It is the same thing.) disobedient to parents, (My, nobody can argue that, can they?) unthankful, (Are people thankful today? You can hardly find it on Thanksgiving Day. They don’t thank God for anything. They just take it all for granted. Well, it’s all a mark of the end of the age.) unholy, 3. Without natural affection,…”
What does that tell you? Why do we find newborn infants in the garbage bin? Why do we find this murder of these little two and three-year-old kids who are defenseless? No natural affection. They have no love even for their own flesh and blood. Now, I know–listen–whenever I talk about these I know that’s not the majority. I’m not sitting here and telling people that 90% of Americans are like this. No. It’s a minority, but unfortunately, it’s a large enough minority that it’s affecting the whole. I know that.
II Timothy 3:3b
“…truce breakers,…” Now, that’s another thing. My, when I first started farming, I could go to the bank, and I could borrow money using a promissory note that had nothing on it but my signature. Can you do it today? No way! Why? Because society has gotten so corrupt that anytime somebody loans money, they’ve got to cross every “T” and dot every “I,” or they’re going to get snookered. That’s the mentality of the day. All right, reading on.
II Timothy 3:3c
“…false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,” Now, you know what I had to think of the other day when I read this? The guy that went in and shot those little Amish girls, can you imagine the mentality?! Those were good little kids that wouldn’t hurt a mouse. Yet just go out in cold blood and shoot a bunch of them. But see, it’s happening all the time. It’s a part of the end time–reading on.
II Timothy 3:4-5
“Traitors, (My goodness, I don’t have to comment on that, do I? The New York Times especially. Oh my goodness, when I read what they put out, they’re traitors.) heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; 5. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: (I don’t have to comment on that either, do I?) from such turn away.” Paul says have nothing to do with it. Oh, they may be in church, they may be singing in the choir, or whatever they’re doing; but, listen, if it isn’t biblical, then we’re to have nothing to do with it. They are part of the devil’s crowd.
Okay, back to Hosea, again. God has a “controversy with the Nation of Israel” because of their ungodliness and their wicked lifestyle. Now verse 3:
“Therefore (because of their wickedness) shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish,…” Now, here’s the point I have to make. I’ve done it before as we’ve studied God’s controversy with the Nation of Israel. I know that scripturally I can’t say–well, this is what it’s talking about. But I think we can all draw an analogy between our beloved America and Israel. And I do that only because we have been in such a place of privilege as a nation of people, like no other nation on earth.
We were founded on biblical principles. And godly men prayed. I don’t say they were necessarily born again, but they were godly, good men. So, I think we have been put in a place of special responsibility. We’ve had the Bible in every home in America, many copies of it. That makes us responsible. And the more responsibility God lays on a nation, the more what? The more He expects in return. So, I feel that as God was dealing with ungodly Israel, He is also going to deal with our beloved America; because of our rejecting all of His overtures of goodness. All right, reading on.
“Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish,…” The believing element right along with the rest. That’s the part that’s scary. If God judges America because of their wickedness, are we as believers going to escape it? Well, of course not, unless the rapture takes us out. No. We’re going to suffer the horrendous responsibilities that have been laid upon us. And we’re not going to escape. Neither did the believers in Israel.
Now let me take you back a minute to Isaiah. Keep your hand here. Come back to Isaiah. Every last Jew wasn’t in this condemnation. They had a remnant of believers. This is what I want you to see with your own eyes. Isaiah chapter 1 and verse 9–this was typical of Israel all through their history. They had that little remnant of believers.
“Except (or unless) the LORD (again Jehovah) had left unto us (the Nation) a very small remnant,…” Now, what do you call a very small remnant percentage-wise? Ten percent? Five percent? Four percent? Three percent? I don’t know.
But there was only a small percentage of Jews in the Twelve Tribes of Israel that were still adhering to the God of Abraham. The rest had fallen completely into idolatry. And the gods and goddesses of antiquity that we’re going to see here (I don’t know if it’s in this chapter or next taping), here they were falling prostrate to these pagan gods and goddesses. Unbelievable! Yet don’t ever forget there was that small remnant of believers. All right, back to Hosea chapter 4 verse 3, again.
“Therefore shall the land mourn, every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be (What?) taken away.” The land will have nothing left. Now the first thing I have to think of is the economy, because even back in antiquity the nation had to operate on an economy of trade and selling and buying. Well, how can you buy and sell if you’ve got nothing to buy or nothing to sell? Well, the same way in America. What if our economy should crash? What if? I hope it never does, but what if? What’s going to happen? Hey, even the people that think they’re pretty well set will have nothing.
You know, I always remember Germany. If you know anything about history, Germany after World War I and the horrendous inflation. Even the wealthiest of the German people had to almost beg to buy a loaf of bread. So, don’t think it can’t happen. The same way in Israel, their whole economy of bartering or selling or whatever you want to call it, would collapse. They’d have nothing to keep them going as a Nation–verse 4.
“Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people (the Nation of Israel) are as they that strive with the priest (the religious leaders). 5. Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother.” Now, what are we seeing here? The religious leadership, the prophets and the priests of Israel, were just as wicked and sinful as the ordinary guy on the street. In fact, they were leading the people into all this wickedness, as we’re going to see later in Hosea. It was the leadership that took them down.
I was thinking yet this morning, sometime before we came up here, the old Southern Baptist preacher–I think he was president of the Southern Baptist Convention way back in the 40’s or 50’s. I’ve referred to him on the program before, Vance Havenor. He made the comment that as he was a little boy walking through those huge pine forests in the Carolinas, one day he noticed that when a tree died, where did it start dying? At the top. That was the point of his sermon. That if a denomination or a nation is going to die spiritually, it starts with the leadership! Every nation that has ever fallen or every empire that has ever fallen started its fall at the top.
Look at our vast denominations today. My, the people out in the pew write to me one after another, “Les, what can we do?” Well, it’s not the guy in the pew that’s going down the tube, it’s the leadership. And it’s the same with Israel. It was the priests who were going into wickedness and ungodliness–verse 6.
“My people (Israel) are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee,…” Well, what’s He talking about? They had no understanding of God and His principles. They had no understanding of who God really was! That’s why they could go and fall prostrate before some female goddess.
All right, but now I’ve got another verse that comes to mind. Come back with me to I Corinthians chapter 2. These biblical principles go from cover to cover. From Adam to the end of the Age and they never change. And what’s the warning? That’s why we teach. Oh, I want people to come out of their ignorance of the Scriptures. When I use that word ignorance, I’m always quick to follow up with what? Ignorance isn’t lack of brain cells. When I say someone’s ignorant, I’m not putting them down for being unable to learn. Someone who is ignorant is untaught. And they’re untaught because someone else has failed in their duty to teach. Here Paul is writing to Gentiles.
I Corinthians 2:7
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, (That which was wrapped up in secrets held in the mind of God and now revealed through this apostle.) even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world (In other words, before eternity past ever ended, God already knew about this apostle–) which God ordained before the world to our glory.” Now, look at verse 8. This is the verse I came for.
I Corinthians 2:8a
“Which none of the princes (or the leaders) of this world knew:…” Now, you’ve got to remember who were the leaders of the world at the time of Paul? Rome and the Temple leadership in Jerusalem, the Priests. All right, now what did the leaders of Rome and the Priests of Israel do? They killed the Messiah. All right, here it is.
I Corinthians 2:8
“Which none of the princes of this world knew: (In other words, who Jesus was.) for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Now, isn’t that plain English? Had they known who He was, they would have never attempted to put Him to death! They’d have known better than that. But they didn’t know who He was. And whose fault was that? Leadership! Somebody failed in teaching the principles.
It’s the same way today. Why is the very mass of Christendom so ignorant of the Scriptures? Teachers aren’t teaching. That’s the only reason I carry on. Yes, I’d like to quit. I sometimes get tired, and I’d like to just say, hey, let’s forget it. No, I don’t dare! We have to keep teaching. We have to let people know what this Book is all about. That yes, Jesus of Nazareth was the Creator God of the universe! And had they known it, they would have never crucified Him. But they didn’t know. All right, I’ve only got a few minutes left. Let’s go back to Hosea chapter 4, once again, reading on in verse 6.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” Now remember, they’re steeped in idolatry. What was the first commandment? Come on, you people, you know your Ten Commandments. What was the first one? “Thou shalt have no other gods before me, neither shalt thou bow down unto them.” The first commandment! And what’s Israel doing? Breaking it. Nationally.
“As they were increased, so they sinned against me: (In other words, the more they grew in number, the deeper they went into sin and wickedness.) therefore, will I change their glory into shame. 8. They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. (That’s all they lived for was their sinful lifestyle.) 9. And there shall be, like people, like priest:…” What does that do? There was no difference. The priesthood was just as guilty of sin and wickedness as the ordinary Jew out there, as we say, on the street. I guess I should say out there on the trail, or whatever. There was no difference.
“…and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their doings. 10. For they shall eat, and not have enough: (What does that speak of? Food shortage. Famine. They’re not going to have a full day’s food supply.) they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: (In other words, in spite of all their sexual activity, it’s not going to result in more citizens for Israel.) because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.” Now verse 11, this could almost come out of Proverbs, couldn’t it?
“Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart. (In other words, a wicked lifestyle takes away all recognition of the God of Scripture.) 12. My people (Israel) ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.” Now, this is not sexual whoring. We’re talking about spiritual. Chasing after idols. Don’t get the two confused. The Nation is chasing after the worship of the pagan idols. All right, now the next verse makes it plain.
“They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills,…” I’ve got to stop again. Why did, in antiquity, they always set their idols up on the hilltop? They thought they were getting closer to the real God who was above the idols. So they would set them up on the mountaintops. All right, then there was another favorite place for putting their idol or their place of worship, under a shade tree. Why? Because the Middle East gets hot! It gets hot, and they didn’t want to be worshipping out there in that hot Middle Eastern sun.
“…under oaks and poplars and elms, (under the shade tree) because the shadow thereof is good: (It feels good on a hot summer day to get in the shade.) therefore (Because Israel’s mentality is steeped in idol worship.) your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery. 14. I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall.”
What’s He talking about? Well, you have to know history. At the heart of all pagan idolatrous worship were the what? The female priestesses. What were the female priestesses? Prostitutes brought in as part of temple worship. Well, now you see, when the powers that be would come out and actually confiscate the Jewish daughters and take them into the temples, God didn’t hold them responsible. That’s why He said, He would not punish these daughters of Israel who ended up in these temples as temple prostitutes. They had no control over that as they were victims.
This is the whole picture of Israel. They are so steeped in idolatry that it is even bringing in their daughters and their sons and their young husbands to the whole temple environment. And the temple environment in antiquity was rotten to the core. I can’t emphasize it enough, that, yes, Israel was finally broken of all this; but what becomes the idols of today? Materialism–with all of its temptations and all of its tempting, especially of our young people, to go into those things that are contrary to the Word of God.