to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
September 25, 2019 – Wednesday
Hosea 9:15-17 NIV
15 “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.
16 Ephraim is blighted, their root is withered, they yield no fruit.
Even if they bear children, I will slay their cherished offspring.”
17 My God will reject them because they have not obeyed Him; they will be wanderers among the nations.
Our verses for today begin with God addressing the wickedness in Gilgal. What was the wickedness there that would cause Him to say I hated them there? Guzik mentions it is because it was a center of idolatry in Israel while Pett adds Gilgal’s wickedness centered not only on idolatry, but also on adultery. Clearly Gilgal was home to sin, great sin. Recall this is the location where Saul finally rejected by Samuel because of his gross disobedience and lies. Here Samuel replies to Saul’s lies about why they kept sheep and cattle in disobedience to God’s direction saying they kept them to sacrifice to the Lord.
22 “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king.”
The condemnation is so great that He will not permit Ephraim to have children. Why? Guzik explains:
One of the major reasons Israel went after idols like Baal and Ashtoreth was because those gods were thought to bring fertility and fruitfulness. God reminds Israel that He is really the LORD over the womb, and that He will turn their fruitfulness into barrenness.
Then we come to verse seventeen where Hosea speaks because they had continually refused to listen responsively to Him He now intended to cast them away, with the result that they would become wanderers among the nations (Pett). In other words they not only disobeyed Him, but did so after repeated warnings, repeated opportunities to repent to confess their sins and change their ways. They refused again and again. Even though they were greatly loved by Him. He reveals His great love and disappointment in Hosea 11
1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 But the more they were called, the more they went away from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. 3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. 4 I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.
Then in Hosea 14, Hosea reveals how Israel could once again be blessed via their repentance.
1 Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! 2 Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips. 3Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount warhorses. We will never again say ‘Our gods’ to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion.”
Again God reveals His nature. Sin, unrepentant sin will be punished, but upon repentance His blessings once again become available to His people. We serve an awesome God full of mercy and forgiveness.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)