Hosea 13

* The abuse of God's favour leads to punishment. (1-8) A promise

of God's mercy. (9-16)

1-8 While Ephraim kept up a holy fear of God, and worshipped

Him in that fear, so long he was very considerable. When Ephraim

forsook God, and followed idolatry, he sunk. Let the men that

sacrifice kiss the calves, in token of their adoration of them,

affection for them, and obedience to them; but the Lord will not

give his glory to another, and therefore all that worship images

shall be confounded. No solid, lasting comfort, is to be

expected any where but in God. God not only took care of the

Israelites in the wilderness, he put them in possession of

Canaan, a good land; but worldly prosperity, when it feeds men's

pride, makes them forgetful of God. Therefore the Lord would

meet them in just vengeance, as the most terrible beast that

inhabited their forests. Abused goodness calls for greater

9-16 Israel had destroyed himself by his rebellion; but he

could not save himself, his help was from the Lord only. This

may well be applied to the case of spiritual redemption, from

that lost state into which all have fallen by wilful sins. God

often gives in displeasure what we sinfully desire. It is the

happiness 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 is

comfortable. Except sinners repent and believe the gospel,

anguish will soon come upon them. The prophecy of the ruin of

Israel as a nation, also showed there would be a merciful and

powerful interposition of God, to save a remnant of them. Yet

this was but a shadow of the ransom of the true Israel, by the

death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He will destroy death

and the grave. The Lord would not repent of his purpose and

promise. Yet, in the mean time, Israel would be desolated for

her sins. Without fruitfulness in good works, springing from the

Holy Spirit, all other fruitfulness will be found as empty as

the uncertain riches of the world. The wrath of God will wither

its branches, its sprigs shall be dried up, it shall come to

nothing. Woes, more terrible than any from the most cruel

warfare, shall fall on those who rebel against God. From such

miseries, and from sin, the cause of them, may the Lord deliver

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