By Rev. Jeremiah Cheung
Hosea Chapter 5:1-15
5:1 “Hear this, you priests! Pay attention, you Israelites! Listen, royal house! This judgment is against you: You have been a snare at Mizpah, a net spread out on Tabor. 2 The rebels are knee-deep in slaughter. I will discipline all of them. 3 I know all about Ephraim; Israel is not hidden from me. Ephraim, you have now turned to prostitution; Israel is corrupt.
4 “Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. A spirit of prostitution is in their heart; they do not acknowledge the Lord. 5 Israel’s arrogance testifies against them; the Israelites, even Ephraim, stumble in their sin; Judah also stumbles with them. 6 When they go with their flocks and herds to seek the Lord, they will not find him; he has withdrawn himself from them. 7 They are unfaithful to the Lord; they give birth to illegitimate children. When they celebrate their New Moon feasts, he will devour their fields.
8 “Sound the trumpet in Gibeah, the horn in Ramah. Raise the battle cry in Beth Aven; lead on, Benjamin. 9 Ephraim will be laid waste on the day of reckoning. Among the tribes of Israel, I proclaim what is certain. 10 Judah’s leaders are like those who move boundary stones. I will pour out my wrath on them like a flood of water. 11 Ephraim is oppressed, trampled in judgment, intent on pursuing idols. 12 I am like a moth to Ephraim, like rot to the people of Judah.
13 “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his sores, then Ephraim turned to Assyria, and sent to the great king for help. But he is not able to cure you, not able to heal your sores. 14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, like a great lion to Judah. I will tear them to pieces and go away; I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them. 15 Then I will return to my lair (my place) until they have borne their guilt and seek my face— in their misery they will earnestly seek me.”
When you read this chapter carefully, you will find a seeming contradiction here – in Hosea 5:6 it says, “With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they will not find Him; He has withdrawn from them.” The Lord did not want to see them. They could not find the Lord when they brought their flocks and herd to seek Him. But 5:15 says, “I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me.” The Lord will return to His place; He is waiting to meet them there.
“Return to my place” is the theme of this chapter. Because the Israelites had prostituted themselves, they cannot return to God. Because they had a spirit of prostitution in them, they did not know the Lord. This was their biggest problem. When they brought their flocks and herds, they were not actually seeking God. Hosea 5:7 tells us: “They have dealt faithlessly with the Lord; for they have borne alien children. Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields.” They acted deceitfully. On one hand, they wanted to earn God’s favor but on the other hand, they committed sins of adultery and bore illegitimate children. How can the Lord accept their offerings? Thus, the Lord withdrew and hid Himself from them.
When the Lord withdrew from them, His judgment also came. Still the Israelites did not seek Him, they sought the help of Assyria. In Hosea 5:13, we see: “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria, and sent to the great king. But he is not able to cure you or heal your wound.” As a result, the Lord tore away from them. Yet through it all, He did not abandon them. Hosea 5:15 says, “I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me.”
There are two important points here:
- The Lord is in his place waiting for us. ‘My place’ not only refers to the Lord’s place, it also refers to the place where Israel and the Lord first met, where they had once regarded God as their God, served God, and worshipped God.
- Man must return to the Lord’s place. We must sincerely acknowledge and confess our sins. We must stop dealing with the Lord unfaithfully. Then, we must seek Him earnestly.
The Lord has been waiting for us to turn back. Have you turned back to Him?
回到原處 | 何西亞書
5:1 眾祭司阿, 要聽我的話。以色列家阿, 要留心聽; 王家阿, 要側耳而聽, 審判要臨到你們, 因你們在米斯巴如網羅, 在他泊山如鋪張的網。2 這些悖逆的人, 肆行殺戮, 罪孽極深, 我卻斥責他們眾人。3 以法蓮為我所知, 以色列不能向我隱藏; 以法蓮哪, 現在你行淫了, 以色列被玷污了。
4 他們所行的使他們不能歸向神, 因有淫心在他們裡面,他們也不認識耶和華。5 以色列的驕傲當面見證自己, 故此, 以色列和以法蓮必因自己的罪孽跌倒, 猶大也必與他們一同跌倒。6 他們必牽著牛羊去尋求耶和華, 卻尋不見, 他已經轉去離開他們。7 他們向耶和華行事詭詐, 生了私子; 到了月朔, 他們與他們的地業必被吞滅。
8 你們當在基比亞吹角, 在拉瑪吹號, 在伯亞文吹出大聲,說: 便雅憫哪, 有仇敵在你後頭。9 在責罰的日子, 以法蓮必變為荒場, 我在以色列支派中, 指示將來必成的事。10 猶大的首領如同挪移地界的人, 我必將忿怒倒在他們身上, 如水一般。11 以法蓮因樂從人的命令, 就受欺壓, 被審判壓碎。12 我使以法蓮如蟲蛀之物, 使猶大家如朽爛之木。
13 以法蓮見自己有病, 猶大見自己有傷, 他們就打發人往亞述去見耶雷布王, 他卻不能醫治你們, 不能治好你們的傷。14 我必向以法蓮如獅子, 向猶大家如少壯獅子, 我必撕裂而去,我要奪去, 無人搭救。15 我要回到原處, 等他們自覺有罪, 尋求我面,他們在急難的時候必切切尋求我。
當你好好讀這章聖經, 你會發現有一個好像矛盾的地方, 在5:6 說: 他們必牽著牛羊去尋求耶和華, 卻尋不見, 他已經轉去離開他們。神不見他們的面, 他們帶著牛羊來尋求耶和華, 卻尋不見。但5:15 卻說: 我要回到原處, 等他們自覺有罪, 尋求我面, 他們在急難的時候必切切尋求我。神要回到原處, 神在那裡等候他們, 要與他們相見。
「回到原處」是這章聖文的重點, 以色列人因爲有淫心在裡面, 使他們不能歸向神, 因有淫心在他們裡面,他們也不認識耶和華, 這是最大的問題所在, 當他們帶著牛羊來的時候, 他們不是真正來尋求神, 在5:7 告訴我們, 他們向耶和華行事詭詐, 生了私子; 到了月朔, 他們與他們的地業必被吞滅。他們行事詭詐, 他們一方面要討神的喜悅, 一方面又犯淫亂的罪, 還生了私子。神怎能接受他們的奉獻呢? 所以神離開他們, 不被他們尋見。
當神離開他們後, 神的審判也來臨了, 但以色列人沒有去尋求神, 他們去尋求亞述的幫忙, 5:13 以法蓮見自己有病, 猶大見自己有傷, 他們就打發人往亞述去見耶雷布王, 他卻不能醫治你們, 不能治好你們的傷。最後神要我撕裂他們而去, 但神沒有離開他們, 5:15 我要回到原處, 等他們自覺有罪, 尋求我面,他們在急難的時候必切切尋求我。
- 神在原處得我們。原處不單是原來的地方, 原處也是指以色列人與神起初認識的地方, 他們以神為神, 他們事奉神, 敬拜神。
- 人要回到原處, 首先要真誠的認罪, 不能再以詭詐來對神, 另外更要切切的去尋求。