Just Desserts

“They sow the wind,
And reap the whirlwind.
The stalk has no bud;
It shall never produce meal.
If it should produce,
Aliens would swallow it up.
Israel is swallowed up;
Now they are among the Gentiles
Like a vessel in which is no pleasure.
For they have gone up to Assyria,
Like a wild donkey alone by itself;
Ephraim has hired lovers.
Yes, though they have hired among the nations,
Now I will gather them;
And they shall sorrow a little,
Because of the burden of the king of princes.
“Because Ephraim has made many altars for sin,
They have become for him altars for sinning.
I have written for him the great things of My law,
But they were considered a strange thing.
For the sacrifices of My offerings they sacrifice flesh and eat it,
But the LORD does not accept them.
Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.
They shall return to Egypt.
“For Israel has forgotten his Maker,
And has built temples;
Judah also has multiplied fortified cities;
But I will send fire upon his cities,
And it shall devour his palaces.” (Hosea 8:7-14)

The word for “sin” and the word for “sin offering” are one and the same in the Hebrew language of the Old Testament. This is why Paul later writes of Jesus that “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). The sin offering is identified with the sin, becomes one with the sin, and so as the sin offering is offered to God and burned up in the sacrifice, the sin is purged away, destroyed, and forgiven.

Just as a farmer will harvest the sort of crop that he planted back in Spring, so the nation of Israel is going to harvest what it has planted. They had put their trust and dependence upon vapor. Thus, when the Assyrians invaded, the Israelite’s non-existent gods rendered the aid of the pretend: and so Israel returned to captivity. Metaphorically speaking, they were back in Egypt. Once there, they would eventually figure out their mistake, repent, and God would forgive them, rescuing them once again from their mistake. Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive those who sinned against him. God’s relationship with Israel is an illustration of the answer.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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