Utter Destruction

Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit. The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built; as his country improved, he improved his pillars. Their heart is false; now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will break down their altars and destroy their pillars. For now they will say: “We have no king, for we do not fear the LORD; and a king—what could he do for us?” They utter mere words; with empty oaths they make covenants; so judgment springs up like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field. The inhabitants of Samaria tremble for the calf of Beth-aven. Its people mourn for it, and so do its idolatrous priests—those who rejoiced over it and over its glory—for it has departed from them. The thing itself shall be carried to Assyria as tribute to the great king. Ephraim shall be put to shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his idol. Samaria’s king shall perish like a twig on the face of the waters. The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed. Thorn and thistle shall grow up on their altars, and they shall say to the mountains, “Cover us,” and to the hills, “Fall on us.” From the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel; there they have continued. Shall not the war against the unjust overtake them in Gibeah? When I please, I will discipline them, and nations shall be gathered against them when they are bound up for their double iniquity. Ephraim was a trained calf that loved to thresh, and I spared her fair neck; but I will put Ephraim to the yoke; Judah must plow; Jacob must harrow for himself. Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way and in the multitude of your warriors, therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle; mothers were dashed in pieces with their children. Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel, because of your great evil. At dawn the king of Israel shall be utterly cut off.
Hosea 10:1–15
Utter Destruction
It was Israel’s lack of faith that caused their destruction. All have sinned and the Lord Jesus comes for all. God’s love is for the whole world, and he desires that no one perish eternally. His desire is for the evil plans and purposes of the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh all die and new life in Jesus takes its place. God’s desire is that all repent of their evil ways and live. Unrepentance reaps only one thing: destruction. God will not abide by unrepentance and unbelief. He will not let it stand. Like Israel, we have shattered the image of God and replaced the glorious with a dim reflection. So, our God comes to restore and make new. Jesus’ death on the cross is applied to you in your baptism and the image of God is given you there. Faith is planted in your heart and death no longer has control over you. We cast our burdens, no matter what they are, on Jesus. What does he do with the sins you confess to him? He buries them in the deepest sea. He nails them to his cross and kills them. He pardons you of all your sin and gives to you life in its place. Take comfort, for the Holy Spirit keeps calling you by this gospel and making you holy in Jesus’ blood.
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