Hosea 13* The abuse of God's favour leads to punishment. (1-8) A promiseof God's mercy. (9-16)1-8 While Ephraim kept up a holy fear of God, and worshippedHim in that fear, so long he was very considerable. When Ephraimforsook God, and followed idolatry, he sunk. Let the men thatsacrifice kiss the calves, in token of their adoration of them,affection for them, and obedience to them; but the Lord will notgive his glory to another, and therefore all that worship imagesshall be confounded. No solid, lasting comfort, is to beexpected any where but in God. God not only took care of theIsraelites in the wilderness, he put them in possession ofCanaan, a good land; but worldly prosperity, when it feeds men'spride, makes them forgetful of God. Therefore the Lord wouldmeet them in just vengeance, as the most terrible beast thatinhabited their forests. Abused goodness calls for greaterseverity. 9-16 Israel had destroyed himself by his rebellion; but hecould not save himself, his help was from the Lord only. Thismay well be applied to the case of spiritual redemption, fromthat lost state into which all have fallen by wilful sins. Godoften gives in displeasure what we sinfully desire. It is thehappiness of the saints, that, whether God gives or takes away,all is in love. But it is the misery of the wicked, that,whether God gives or takes away, it is all in wrath, nothing iscomfortable. Except sinners repent and believe the gospel,anguish will soon come upon them. The prophecy of the ruin ofIsrael as a nation, also showed there would be a merciful andpowerful interposition of God, to save a remnant of them. Yetthis was but a shadow of the ransom of the true Israel, by thedeath, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He will destroy deathand the grave. The Lord would not repent of his purpose andpromise. Yet, in the mean time, Israel would be desolated forher sins. Without fruitfulness in good works, springing from theHoly Spirit, all other fruitfulness will be found as empty asthe uncertain riches of the world. The wrath of God will witherits branches, its sprigs shall be dried up, it shall come tonothing. Woes, more terrible than any from the most cruelwarfare, shall fall on those who rebel against God. From suchmiseries, and from sin, the cause of them, may the Lord deliverus.
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