Spurgeon Verse Expositions - Hosea 13:1 - 13:14

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Spurgeon Verse Expositions - Hosea 13:1 - 13:14

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Hos_13:1. When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel;

When we are little in our own esteem, when we are full of fears concerning ourselves, when we dare not think of boasting, then it is that we grow:

When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel.”

Hos_13:1. But when he offended in Baal, he died.

It is when, like Ephraim, we turn aside to other gods, when our heart goes astray from the Lord, that there is death-death to our joys, death to our confidence, death to our usefulness. No one knows what destruction there is, even in the least sin, to the most joyful believer. It is like the hot breath of the Sirocco, which scorches up every green thing. If, before this terrible blast, everything is like Eden, behind it all is as a desert. Let us read the whole verse again that we may lay to heart the lesson it teaches us; “When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.”

Hos_13:2. And now they sin more and more,

That is the usual way of sin; it is a growing evil; its course is downhill.

Hos_13:2. And have made there molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.

Their idolatry was such that they were not satisfied with the bulls that were set on high as images, but they had little imitations of these, which they wore upon their persons, just as Romanists wear small crucifixes or crosses. These they carried about with them for their own private worship. Oh, what a tendency there is in sin to multiply itself. The idolaters were not satisfied with bowing the knee to false gods, but they said, “Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.” Superstition goes from one evil to another, there is no end to it. You may begin with what you call moderate Ritualism, but where you will end I cannot tell. Some go beyond the superstitions of popery itself. The only safe way is to worship the Lord our God, and serve him alone, and purge out the idols from among us.

Hos_13:3. Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.

If they make idols their gods, they shall be like their idols. Idols are but for a day; what is there in them of endurance? What is there in them of power? “They that make them are like unto them, so is every one that trusteth in them.” If we trust in anything that we can see, if we trust in anything but God, then our hope shall be “as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away,” and we ourselves shall be like the chaff that is driven from the threshing-floor by a whirlwind, or like the smoke driven out of the chimney by the blast.

Hos_13:4. Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.

Now here is the wickedness of idolatry, that we have so good a God, and yet must needs look after another. Here is the sin of trusting to an arm of flesh, that we have an almighty arm to lean upon, and instead of doing so we begin to look to a poor arm that has not strength enough to support itself, much less to support us. Are any of you children of God forgetting your God? Is your faith turning away from the great invisible, and the sure promises of his Word? Are you looking to the creature? Beware of it, I pray you; whenever you do that, you are making a rod for your own back.

If you forsake the Lord, to whom will you go?

Hos_13:5. I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.

Look back upon days of your trouble, when God was very near to you; do you not remember when he was everything to you? When you were poor, when you were sick, when you were despised, God did know you then; yet now you sing,-

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed,

How sweet their memory still!.”

Hos_13:6. According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.

What a terrible verse this is! After they had been filled, they turned away from the God that filled them. When they were poor and despised, then he was all to them; but afterwards, when by his providence they grew rich and increased in goods, then they forgot their God. I have often seen it thus; it is a grievous evil under the sun. I have seen the man rejoicing in God, earnest and devout while he has been afflicted and poor. God has prospered him, and then he has turned his back upon sacred things, and made the world his joy. Is not this a horrible sin, a gross evil? I well remember one, who used to steal into this house on Thursday nights, glad to escape a while from the persecution in his own home. He had a hard time of it to be a Christian at all; but he came to be the possessor of his father’s estates, and he has now no care for these things. He is a fashionable gentleman now, he who once was glad enough to mix with even the poorest of God’s people, and to find comfort among them. It is a sad thing when it is so, and when the Lord has to say to any, “I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. They were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.”

Hos_13:7-8. Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.

For God is jealous, and most jealous of those whom he loves best. He cannot endure that we should treat him thus; he means to have our love by some means, and if he cannot have it by gentleness, he will have it by sterner methods. If the Lord has chosen you, he will sooner be to you as a leopard and a lion than he will suffer you to live without him. You must, you shall find your all in him.

Hos_13:9-10. O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me thine help. I will be thy king:

If thou hast shifted me from the throne, and set up a usurper, I will come and be thy King even now.

Hos_13:10. Where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities?

To whom else canst thou look? Where else canst thou find peace?

Hos_13:10. And thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes?

What is the good of them? Have they not all turned out to be a delusion?

Hos_13:11-12. I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath. The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid.

How sadly true this is! Sin seems to be bound up in our very nature. It is hard to find it; it is hidden away; and when we discover some of it, and it is purged away, there is still more to be found. As hidden treasure may lie in a house for many a day, and not be seen, so are there stores of corruption that seem hidden away in our nature, and are not easily discovered. What a gracious God we have to deal with, or else he would have swept us away long ago!

Hos_13:13-14. The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children. I will ransom them from the power of the grave;

Oh, what great promises we get driven, like piles, into the marshes of our sin, to make a foundation for God’s grace! Here, when the Lord says that we have destroyed ourselves, and he notes all the blackness of our depravity, then he comes in with this gracious word, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave.” You who believe in Jesus shall not die; nay, not even the deadly force of sin shall hold you in your grave. There is a resurrection for the dead. There is a spiritual resurrection for you, believers. When you mourn your death, and cry, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” the Lord will answer you, “I will ransom you from the power of the grave.”

Hos_13:14. I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

Lord, work this quickening in thy people tonight, and let us live in the fullness of thy divine love, and so anticipate the day when our bodies also shall be raised by thy glorious power!