Three ways to live

Which is your way?

Summary of Study: Hosea 4 & 5

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vitali at 10:47 am on Monday, August 27, 2007
Main points

1. In Hosea 4 & 5, Hosea continues to accuse the people of Israel of their sin of idolatry. In addition to the group of common people, God is also raging with anger against the priests and rulers of Israel.

2. As mentioned in the passage, the 3 groups are guilty of the following:

People:
a. Don’t have mercy
b. Don’t have faithfulness or truthfulness,
c. Don’t have knowledge of God
d. Lying
e. Cursing
f. Murder
g. Stealing
h. Adultery (Physical)
i. Stubbornness

Priests:
a. Reject knowledge
b. Ignore law
c. Sin
d. Disgrace
e. Feed on the sins of the people
f. Prostitution
g. Drinking

Rulers:
a. Being a trap to common people
b. Border conflicts

As a result, the new curses laid on these people are:
a. All the beasts will die
b. Priest will stumble
c. Rejection of the priests and their children
d. Priests will never be satisfied
e. Uprooting
f. God’s withdrawal from his people
g. God will be like rot and moth and lion to Israel

3. The overall feeling that the passage gives is that God is very angry. Much more so, than he was in Hosea 2. Anger asserts itself in attitudes of indignation and acts of aggression, both expressing a sense of outrage and a wish that appropriate punitive hurt overtake the wrongdoer. That is exactly what God seems to want to do.

Does God have the right to be angry in this way?

God is often described as in the Bible as being angry. Sometimes it appears as a deliberate anger, as in Hosea 2, sometimes as a quick-tempered anger as in Hosea 4-5. Yet God’s anger is not automatic or predictable, nor is God ever “out of control.” This kind of anger is not arbitrary or disfigured, as human anger often is. While God shows quick-tempered emotion toward sin, God is slow to anger, which means he is slow to act on his anger. There is probably tens of years that have passed between promises in Hosea 4-5 and actual judgment. And what God has finally done is much less than what he “felt” he will do, as apparent from the ending part of Hosea 11.

Application

1. What can we learn about human anger from God’s anger from these passages?

First of all, we should not assume that we should do everything God does – we are not him. Anger threatens human self-control, prudence, and good judgment. Anger is mentioned in the many lists of sins in the New Testament. Human anger often leads to sin, and hence we should be slow to anger (e.g. slow to act on our anger).

James 1:19-20 (NIV)

Yet the best place for us to learn about anger is from Jesus, because he was God and without sin (and hence has perfect anger) and also a man, so was bound to behave like one. Indications of anger on Jesus’ part appear in Mark 3:1–5 (at the Pharisees’ ill-will and indifference to suffering), 10:14 (at the disciples’ arrogance towards children), 11:15–17 (at the desecration of the temple; cf. John 2:13–17), 12:24–27 (at the Sadducees’ complacent errors about resurrection); Matthew 16:23 (at Peter’s rejecting of his prediction of the cross), 23:13–36 (at the Pharisees’ sham religiosity); and John 11:33–38 (at the repellent legacy of sin, namely death).These passages must be held to show that anger at what dishonors God, so far from being sinful, may be just the reverse – a truth already modeled in the Psalms and prophets (Ps. 139:21–22; Jer. 15:17).

2. Should we, as Christians, be afraid of God’s anger?

God’s anger toward sin has been eternally satisfied or deflected (NT uses the word “propitiation“) by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We, Christians, are no longer in the hands of angry God:

1 John 4:10 (NIV)

Romans 5:9 (NIV)

God can still be angry when Christians sin, but this is an anger that leads to discipline, not the eternal damnation.

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