Hosea 2

* The idolatry of the people. (1-5) God's judgments against

them. (6-13) His promises of reconciliation. (14-23)

1-5 This chapter continues the figurative address to Israel, in

reference to Hosea's wife and children. Let us own and love as

brethren, all whom the Lord seems to put among his children, and

encourage them in that they have received mercy. But every

Christian, by his example and conduct, must protest against evil

and abuses, even among those to whom he belongs and owes

respect. Impenitent sinners will soon be stripped of the

advantages they misuse, and which they consume upon their lusts.
6-13 God threatens what he would do with this treacherous,

idolatrous people. They did not turn, therefore all this came

upon them; and it is written for admonition to us. If lesser

difficulties be got over, God will raise greater. The most

resolute in sinful pursuits, are commonly most crossed in them.

The way of God and duty is often hedged about with thorns, but

we have reason to think it is a sinful way that is hedged up

with thorns. Crosses and obstacles in an evil course are great

blessings, and are to be so accounted; they are God's hedges, to

keep us from transgressing, to make the way of sin difficult,

and to keep us from it. We have reason to bless God for

restraining grace, and for restraining providences; and even for

sore pain, sickness, or calamity, if it keeps us from sin. The

disappointments we meet with in seeking for satisfaction from

the creature, should, if nothing else will do it, drive us to

the Creator. When men forget, or consider not that their

comforts come from God, he will often in mercy take them away,

to bring them to think upon their folly and danger. Sin and

mirth can never hold long together; but if men will not take

away sin from their mirth, God will take away mirth from their

sin. And if men destroy God's word and ordinances, it is just

with him to destroy their vines and fig-trees. This shall be the

ruin of their mirth. Taking away the solemn seasons and the

sabbaths will not do it, they will readily part with them, and

think it no loss; but He will take away their sensual pleasures.

Days of sinful mirth must be visited with days of mourning.
14-23 After these judgments the Lord would deal with Israel

more gently. By the promise of rest in Christ we are invited to

take his yoke upon us; and the work of conversion may be

forwarded by comforts as well as by convictions. But usually the

Lord drives us to despair of earthly joy, and help from

ourselves, that, being shut from every other door, we may knock

at Mercy's gate. From that time Israel would be more truly

attached to the Lord; no longer calling him Baali, or "My lord

and master," alluding to authority, rather than love, but Ishi,

an address of affection. This may foretell the restoration from

the Babylonish captivity; and also be applied to the conversion

of the Jews to Christ, in the days of the apostles, and the

future general conversion of that nation; and believers are

enabled to expect infinitely more tenderness and kindness from

their holy God, than a beloved wife can expect from the kindest

husband. When the people were weaned from idols, and loved the

Lord, no creature should do them any harm. This may be

understood of the blessings and privileges of the spiritual

Israel, of every true believer, and their partaking of Christ's

righteousness; also, of the conversion of the Jews to Christ.

Here is an argument for us to walk so that God may not be

dishonoured by us: Thou art my people. If a man's family walk

disorderly, it is a dishonour to the master. If God call us

children, we may say, Thou art our God. Unbelieving soul, lay

aside discouraging thoughts; do not thus answer God's

loving-kindness. Doth God say, Thou art my people? Say, Lord,

thou art our God.
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