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Hosea 9:11 - 13

"'Ephraim's glory will fly away like a bird - no birth, no pregnancy, no conception. Even if they rear children, I will bereave them of every one. Woe to them when I turn away from them! I have seen Ephraim, like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place. But Ephraim will bring out their children to the slayer.'" NIV translation

God saw their promising future and yet they threw it away with their idolatry. While they look around themselves and see their prosperity, God warns them that it will all be gone even to the blessings of having children. He goes on to explain that they cannot blame the situation on their surroundings as they were "planted in a pleasant place". Their hearts led them into idolatry and their kids were going to pay for it. 

This is a reminder to us, today, that our actions towards God have a big impact on the lives of our children. It is easy to look around and criticize the younger generation but we have to remember that they are a reflection of our spiritual health as a people. Much like the people of the prophet's day, we have become blinded by our prosperity.

Hosea 9:14

"Give them, O Lord - what will you give them? Give them wombs that miscarry and breasts that are dry." NIV translation

The prophet makes it clear that this lack of children is from God and not some natural ebb in the birth rate.

Hosea 9:15 & 16

"'Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal, I hated them there. Because of their sinful deeds, I will drive them out of my house. I will no longer love them; all their leaders are rebellious.'" NIV translation

What happened at Gilgal that was so bad? That is the place where Saul was made the king of Israel. That does not sound too bad to us but, in fact, they had God as their king but wanted a man to serve as king just like the nations around them. This began what would be a very long string of leaders that drew the people deeper and deeper into idolatry. We might wonder how they could have done such a thing as they had God as their leader but wanted a man instead. The simple fact is that we do the same thing in many ways today. Instead of listening and following God through the Holy Spirit, many compromise to fit in with the crowds around them just as Israel did with the nations.

Hosea 9:17

"My God will reject them because they have not obeyed him; they will be wanderers among the nations." NIV translation

What is the penalty for their disobedience? The penalty is the same as it was for Cain (see Genesis 4) and that is to be "wanderers". A wanderer brings to mind the image of a child that has strayed from the safety and direction of their parents and so is at the mercy of the world around them. Cain had ignored the direction of God and Israel had gotten to the point where they could not even see the direction of God as they were blinded by their prosperity.

The same principle applies to our walk with Christ. If we become blinded by our prosperity and wander from His direction, then, we are at the mercy of the world around us. If we stay focused on His leading and listen to the Counselor that He gave us, we will stay in the safety that He provides.

Hosea Chapter Nine Study Quiz