Hos_2:6. Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.
God will cause sin to be painful; he will make the way of it difficult; he will do everything to prevent the sinner running in it: “She shall not find her paths.”
Hos_2:7. And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them;
They cannot find satisfaction in sinful pleasure; that which once they easily obtained, they shall no longer be able to procure.
Hos_2:7. And she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.
Am I addressing a backslider? Has God hedged up your way? Is there a whisper in your heart which reminds you of better days and happier times? Oh, stifle not that whisper! Let it be heard within your spirit; if it be but a gentle voice, listen to it till it increases in force, and sounds like the very voice of God in your soul; it will be for your present and eternal good if you do so.
Hos_2:8. For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.
It is a sad sin when we take God’s mercies, and use them in rebellion against him. Just think of it, — the very gifts which Jehovah gave to these people, they presented in sacrifice to Baal; and there are men, who are in comfortable circumstances, who spend their wealth for sin. They have health and strength, and they use them in the service of their own evil passions. The very gifts with which God has enriched them become weights to sink them deeper and deeper in the gulf of transgression. Ah, this is terrible! God has often brought men down to poverty, to sickness, to death’s door, in order that they might be weaned from their sin. He saw that they were going to hell full-handed, and he judged it better that they should go to heaven empty-handed. He knew that, if they had health, they would misuse it, so he stretched them on the bed of sickness, that they might turn to him. God has severe remedies for desperate cases; he will do all that mercy and wisdom can suggest to prevent men from being their own destroyers.
Hos_2:9-11. Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness. And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand. I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.
There is no more merriment now; the old songs have lost their sweetness, and the old games have lost their charm.
Hos_2:12. And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.
So that the joys of sin shall become miseries, as if vineyards were suddenly trained into dense forests wherein lions and wolves might make their lairs. There are some people who can understand this in a spiritual sense; some, perhaps, who have been made to realize it in their own experience.
Hos_2:13. And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD.
It is terrible when God comes to visit upon men the days of their sin,-when for every night of sin they shall have a night of anguish. — when for every pleasure that they took in sin they shall feel the scourge of conscience till they have measured out the weary round. “She went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the Lord.” This was said by him who never forgot her, by him whose love was true and faithful to her when she thus went away from him, and defiled herself and dishonoured his holy name. Now read the next verse; and be astonished, —
Hos_2:14. Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.
You might have thought the Lord was going to say, “Therefore, behold, I will destroy her.” Nothing of the kind: “l will fascinate her to myself; I will draw her away from all her idol lovers, and I will speak comfortably unto her.”
Hos_2:15. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
“I will pluck this Israel of mine out of all her sin; I will give her back the purity and the happiness of her early days: ‘ She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.’” You must have noticed how often God speaks of that coming out of Egypt. He says, in another place, “I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness.” Here the Lord promises to give back to Israel the joy she had when she was young, and espoused herself to her God.
Hos_2:16. And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.
“Thou shalt call me, My man, my husband,” — a name of sweet endearment, “and shalt call me no more Baali,” that is, “my lord, my lordly husband,” for the Lord’s love shall not be galling to thee, but it shall sweetly and gently rule thee. Oh, what a sweet change this is, when we no longer tremble before God with slavish fear, but love him with intense affection, and see in him our soul’s Husband in whom is all our delight!
Hos_2:17. For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.
The word Baalim had been profaned, they had applied it to other lords; and when they used it concerning Jehovah, it sounded harsh, as if he, too, was a tyrant master.
Hos_2:18. And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground:
Everything is in covenant with me if I am in covenant with God; there is nothing so high that it can hurt me, there is nothing so low that it can injure me, there is nothing so great that it need distress me, there is nothing so little that it shall torment me.
Hos_2:18. And I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.
Oh, the security of God’s people when they get into their right position towards God!
Hos_2:19. And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
What a glorious promise is this! It is marvellous that our wayward, wanton, wicked souls should be brought back by infinite mercy, and then that God should be so enamoured of us as to declare, “I will betroth thee unto me for ever.”
Hos_2:20. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.
It is said three times that he will betroth us unto himself, as if the Lord knew that we should hardly be able to believe it.
Hos_2:21-22. And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil and they shall hear Jezreel.
So that there shall be no famine to try God’s people; their prayers shall be abundantly answered, and all their needs shall be supplied.
Hos_2:23. And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.
Oh, blessed Scripture! May the Lord write it on all our hearts! Amen.