By Rev. Jeremiah Cheung
From Hosea Chapter 7:10-16
7:10 Israel’s arrogance testifies against him, but despite all this, he does not return to the Lord his God or search for him. 11“Ephraim is like a dove, easily deceived and senseless—now calling to Egypt, now turning to Assyria. 12When they go, I will throw my net over them; I will pull them down like the birds in the sky. When I hear them flocking together, I will catch them. 13Woe to them, because they have strayed from me! Destruction to them, because they have rebelled against me! I long to redeem them but they speak about me falsely. 14They do not cry out to me from their hearts but wail on their beds. They slash themselves, appealing to their gods for grain and new wine, but they turn away from me. 15I trained them and strengthened their arms, but they plot evil against me. 16They do not turn to the Most High; they are like a faulty bow. Their leaders will fall by the sword because of their insolent words. For this they will be ridiculed in the land of Egypt.
In Hosea 7:1-9, we see the prophet enjoining the Israelites to stop and consider their situation because their every act displeased God. Now starting with verse 10, the prophet implores with a sorrowful tone once more because the people still refused to return to the Lord. Why? The answer is in Hosea 7:10 “Israel’s arrogance testifies against him, but despite all this he does not return to the Lord his God or search for him.” Their own arrogance testifies against them. Despite all that they had gone through, they still refused to return to God. Pride is such a terrible thing; because of it, a man will dig his heels in if only to save his face, and he would rather die than admit any wrongdoing. The price of pride can be terrible!
Because of pride, the Israelites turned away from God again and again. The prophet used three analogies to describe such people:
- First analogy: the prophet says they are like doves that are easily deceived and senseless. Hosea 7:11 “Ephraim is like a dove, easily deceived and senseless— now calling to Egypt, now turning to Assyria.” Pride makes us unable to make the right choice, because pride makes people lose their humble heart and refuse to admit they have done anything wrong. Israel did not seek God even as they faced difficulties, instead they went and asked Egypt and Assyria for help. How foolish!
- Second analogy: the prophet says they are like birds in the sky. Hosea 7:12 “When they go, I will throw my net over them; I will pull them down like the birds in the sky. When I hear them flocking together, I will catch them.” The Israelites thought they could be like birds flying into the sky; they thought they were free, but they didn’t realize that a terrible net was spread out for them. God was waiting to pull them down and punish them. And by then, even if they call on the Lord, He will not listen because they were crying out not due to repentance, but rather because of their suffering. Their hearts were not in the right place, thus crying was useless.
- Third analogy: the prophet said they were like a faulty bow. Hosea 7: 16 “They do not turn to the Most High; they are like a faulty bow. Their leaders will fall by the sword because of their insolent words. For this, they will be ridiculed in the land of Egypt.” A faulty bow is a useless bow, it cannot kill the enemy. The Israelites were not returning to the Most High, instead they were seeking useless objects.
Church, how about us? The price of pride is enormous; turn back! Let us return to the Lord quickly.
仍不歸向神嗎? | 何西亞書
7:10 以色列的驕傲當面見證自己, 雖遭遇這一切, 他們仍不歸向耶和華他們的神, 也不尋求他。11以法蓮好像鴿子愚蠢無知, 他們求告埃及, 投奔亞述。12他們去的時候, 我必將我的網撒在他們身上, 我要打下他們, 如同空中的鳥, 我必按他們會眾所聽見的, 懲罰他們。13他們因離棄我, 必定有禍, 因違背我, 必被毀滅, 我雖要救贖他們,他們卻向我說謊。14他們並不誠心哀求我, 乃在床上呼號; 他們為求五榖新酒聚集, 仍然悖逆我。15我雖教導他們, 堅固他們的膀臂,他們竟圖謀抗拒我。16他們歸向, 卻不歸向至上者, 他們如同翻背的弓, 他們的首領必因舌頭的狂傲倒在刀下, 這在埃及地必作人的譏笑。
7:1-9先知要以色列人停下來, 想一想, 他們現在的光境, 他們所作的一切都不是神所喜悅的; 但從第十節開始, 先知再一次發出悲傷的聲音, 因為以色列人竟然還不歸向神, 為什麼? 答案在7:10「以色列的驕傲當面見證自己, 雖遭遇這一切, 他們仍不歸向耶和華他們的神, 也不尋求他。」他們的驕傲當面見証了自己, 雖然遭遇這一必, 仍不歸向神。驕傲真是可怕, 因為驕傲不願意將面子放下來, 寧願死也不承認自己作的不對, 驕傲付出的代價太可怕了。
因為驕傲的原因, 以色列人一次又一次的背叛神, 先知用了三個比方來形容這樣的人:
- 第一. 好像鴿子愚蠢無知。7:11 以法蓮好像鴿子愚蠢無知, 他們求告埃及, 投奔亞述。驕傲的心做我們不能作出正確的選擇, 因為驕傲使人失去了謙卑的心, 永不承認自己作錯了。以色列人面對困難, 他們不求問神, 反向埃及與亞述求問, 這是何等的愚蠢啊!
- 第二. 如同空中的鳥。7:12 他們去的時候, 我必將我的網撒在他們身上, 我要打下他們, 如同空中的鳥, 我必按他們會眾所聽見的, 懲罰他們。他們自以為聰明好像飛鳥一樣, 他們要飛到空中, 他們以為自由了, 但想不到是: 一張可怕的網正撒在他們身上, 神要將他們打下來, 神要懲罰他們, 那個時候, 他們呼叫神也不聽, 因為他們不是因為悔改而呼求, 他們是因為受苦而呼求,他們的心不正, 呼求也沒有用。
- 第三.如同翻背的弓。7:16 他們歸向, 卻不歸向至上者, 他們如同翻背的弓, 他們的首領必因舌頭的狂傲倒在刀下, 這在埃及地必作人的譏笑。翻背的弓是沒有用的弓, 是不能殺敵的弓, 以色列人不是歸向至上者, 他們尋求的是無用的對像。
教會, 我們又如何? 驕傲要付出的代價是極大的, 回頭吧! 早點歸向神。