This week's Haftorah reading is from Hosea 12:13-14:19. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers as he summarizes the book of the Prophet Hosea, and identifies three major components that make up his entire message to the nation of Israel: sin, judgment, and salvation. See how Hosea's message pertains to us today!
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftorah Portion:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftorah Portion – Hosea 12:13-14:19
The message of Hosea is similar to that of several other prophets living about the same time (Amos, Micah and Isaiah)- Israel has violated the covenant by worshipping other gods (Baal). The major themes of Hosea’s message can be summarized in three words: sin, judgment, and salvation. There are two dominant themes running through the sayings of Hosea which appear at first sight to be mutually exclusive: they are the judgment of Elohim and the love of Elohim!
However, the teaching of the whole book is clear. Idolatry was the great sin of the 10 tribes represented by Ephraim, and it is certainly the sin of the entire human race. The definition is: extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone, the worship of someone or something other than Adonai as though it were Yah. In fact, part of the first Commandment is “You shall have no other gods before Me.” There should be no other love, admiration that elevates itself higher than Adonai. When we talk about idolatry it is not statues, carvings that we are bowing down before. All we have to do is look into our hearts and we will find idols there. This is one of the strongest sin natures within our lives- to turn aside from the living Yah and to make unto ourselves idols in some form or another. The essence of idolatry is this- to love anything better than Adonai, to trust anything more than Adonai; to desire to have a god other than we have, or even to have some signs and wonders by which we may see Him, some outward symbol or manifestation that we can see or hear rather than to rest in faith in an invisible Yah and believe His promises.
In some form or another this great sin is the main downfall in our hearts; even in those who know Yah as their Savior. Idols can be parents, children, spouses, ministers, sports, activities, pleasures, or intellect, money, gold, riches, and even our homes where we enjoy much contentment- anything that pulls us away from Him, His house, His people, His Commandments, His Torah! Sadly, we trust in the reading of Scripture and make the Word itself an idol as we trust in a mere creed, or just in bare Bible reading and not pressing through it to spiritual hearty worship of Adonai Himself. So, anything, however holy, or how good it feels, which comes between us and the personal relationship with Elohim becomes an idol to us.
When you cannot accept the solid promise of Elohim and are not willing to risk it all for Him and instead want something over and above the Word of Adonai to rest in, you idolize your own selfishness. When your human nature continually craves for more than Adonai All Sufficient, because it is so carnal that it will not trust the Invisible One…you have an idolatry problem. It is, therefore, a supreme work of grace when Adonai brings any man to say, “What have I to do any more with idols?” (Hosea 14:8).
There are a few principles found in this verse. The first one we should notice is the “Sovereignty of this Prediction.” “Ephraim shall say, what have I to do any more with idols?” Who is Ephraim? As an individual he represents the 10 tribes at the time when they were engaged with strange gods. He is a man with his own will, depraved, with an obstinate will: and yet Adonai speaks about Ephraim as positively as if he had no will, and states that he shall have nothing to do with idols. Yet, a man of freewill, Adonai speaks about the mind of man and declares what he shall say and what he shall feel.
Elohim knows human inconsistency and willfulness, a creature that wills and determines and judges for himself and so Adonai deals with him as such. There is no man whose “will” Adonai has ever violated. Grace does not enchain the will, but frees the will; and when a man says, “What have I to do anymore with idols?”, he speaks it with full consent of his heart, when Adonai by divine power has “made him willing in the day of His power.”
Yes, we are responsible for our actions, a free agent, yet, there is another truth- Elohim is omnipotent in the region of the mind. He enlightens us with a flash of His Ruach, removing the obstinate will of man, changing the heart of stone to flesh. So, man is free, yet Adonai is sovereign in the world of free mind, working on His own way, speaking positively without ifs, ands or buts. Elohim will have His will, and man’s will shall willingly bow for He is Adonai’s alone!
The second principle we see in this text is “A Marvelous Change”; at one time Ephraim was glued to his idols and now he has nothing to do with idols. What a great change! A change that many of us have undergone, a change that everyone must go through, or else they will never see the face of Elohim with acceptance.
The book of Hosea is full of metaphorical language. The covenant between Elohim and His people is compared to a marriage. Idolatry is explained in terms of adultery.
Though Hosea’s prophecy contains some calls to repentance, he did not expect a positive response. Judgment was inescapable. In implementing the curses, Adonai would cause the nation to experience infertility, military invasion, and exile. However, Adonai would not abandon Israel totally. Despite its severity, each judgment was disciplinary and was intended to turn Israel back to Elohim. Salvation was Elohim’s goal.
Salvation, is the first fruit of regeneration, a resurrection from the dead, so to speak, into newness of life. “Ye must be born again”, a complete and total change in us, so that the things you once loved you come to hate, and the things you hated you are made to love- as great a change as there was in Ephraim.
So, we have a sovereign prediction and a marvelous change and now the third principle is an “Implied Confession.” Hypocrites mean less than their language expresses but true repentance means much more than words can convey. If we search our hearts…will we find a false god there? Self-righteousness, pleasure, greed, pride, our bellies? Any form of love which divides the heart from Yeshua is idolatry, and I fear, the idols are as many as the trees of the field. Elohim remove them from us! Let us learn to say with Ephraim, “What have I to do any more with idols?”
We need to run away from anything which is attached to sin, anything that will try to exalt itself above Adonai. Let Yeshua change you, renew your heart by faith. Let the joy and delight of Yeshua keep you on the road to serving Yeshua with all your heart, soul, and strength. Tear down the idols that have been erected. Learn from Ephraim and say to the Master, “What have I to do any more with idols?” Let’s return to our first and only love…Yeshua HaMashiach!
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,
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Tear down the idols, love Yeshua with all your heart and worship the King as you gather with your Kehillah this Sabbath. THIS IS HIS DAY! Let us remember and honor this wonderful commandment!
Shalom Aleichem and see you at the altar!