Hosea 9

* The distress to come upon Israel. (1-6) The approach of the

day of trouble. (7-10) Judgments on Israel. (11-17)

1-6 Israel gave rewards to their idols, in the offerings

presented to them. It is common for those who are niggardly in

religion, to be prodigal upon their lusts. Those are reckoned as

idolaters, who love a reward in the corn-floor better than a

reward in the favour of God and in eternal life. They are full

of the joy of harvest, and have no disposition to mourn for sin.

When we make the world, and the things of it, our idol and our

portion, it is just with God to show us our folly, and correct

us. None may expect to dwell in the Lord's land, who will not be

subject to the Lord's laws, or be influenced by his love. When

we enjoy the means of grace, we ought to consider what we shall

do, if they should be taken from us. While the pleasures of

communion with God are out of the reach of change, the pleasant

places purchased with silver, or in which men deposit silver,

are liable to be laid in ruins. No famine is so dreadful as that

of the soul.
7-10 Time had been when the spiritual watchmen of Israel were

with the Lord, but now they were like the snare of a fowler to

entangle persons to their ruin. The people were become as

corrupt as those of Gibeah, #Jud 19|; and their crimes should be

visited in like manner. At first God had found Israel pleasing

to Him, as grapes to the traveller in the wilderness. He saw

them with pleasure as the first ripe figs. This shows the

delight God took in them; yet they followed after idolatry.
11-17. God departs from a people, or from a person, when he

withdraws his goodness and mercy from them; and when the Lord is

departed, what can the creature do? Even though, for the

present, good things seem to remain, yet the blessing is gone if

God is gone. Even the children should perish with the parents.

The Divine wrath dries up the root, and withers the fruit of all

comforts; and the scattered Jews daily warn us to beware, lest

we neglect or abuse the gospel. Yet every smiting is not a

drying up of the root. It may be that God intends only to smite

so that the sap may be turned to the root, that there may be

more of root graces, more humility, patience, faith, and

self-denial. It is very just that God should bring judgments on

those who slight his offered mercy.
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