Calvary Road Baptist Church

ďI REMEMBER ALLĒ

Hosea 7.2

 

We are in the Old Testament book of Hosea, which is first in order in that section of the Old Testament we sometimes refer to as the Minor Prophets, only because the books are comparatively smaller than the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Living during the time of the divided monarchy, Hoseaís prophetic ministry was of long duration and exclusively to the northern kingdom. It is likely that Hosea, along with Jonah, were the only writing prophets who were actually from the kingdom of Israel.

Hosea was an amazing man, used of God in an incredible way, to show the loyal love of God for His faithless people. In the first three chapters of the book of Hosea, he is directed by God to marry a prostitute, the most unfaithful kind of woman, for the purpose of showing Hoseaís betrothal to the woman named Gomer, his union with Gomer, the adultery of unfaithful Gomer, the divorce from Gomer, and then the reconciliation with Gomer that results in their remarriage. To be sure, there are few examples in the Bible in which a manís life is as much the message of redeeming love as are the words that come forth from his pen. Written during a time of material prosperity and spiritual backsliding, Hosea and Gomerís life experience is a prediction of Godís reconciliation with unfaithful Israel.

It is in Hosea chapters 4 through 14 that a series of messages delivered by Hosea draws the readerís attention away from the prophet and his wife to adulterous Israel and her faithful Lord. Adulterous Israel is shown to be guilty before God, adulterous Israel is then put away by God, and then adulterous Israel is restored to the Lord. Find Hosea 6.1-3, where we read a call to repentance:

 

1      Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.

2      After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.

3      Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

 

You may have already guessed that Israel did not heed Godís call to repentance. However, what you may not have guessed is what happened when God lovingly ministered to them to return them to spiritual health, Hosea 7.1-3:

 

1      When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without.

2      And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face.

3      They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.

 

Keil and Delitzsch remark on this passage:

 

As the dangerous nature of a wound is often first brought out by the attempt to heal it, so was the corruption of Israel only brought truly to light by the effort to stem it. . . The first hemistich[1] of v. 1 is not to be referred to the future, nor is the healing to be understood as signifying punishment . . . but the allusion is to the attempts made by God to put a stop to the corruption, partly by the preaching of repentance and the reproofs of the prophets, and partly by chastisements designed to promote reformation. The words contain no threatening of punishment, but a picture of the moral corruption that had become incurable. Here again Ephraim is not the particular tribe, but is synonymous with Israel, the people or kingdom of the ten tribes; and Samaria is especially mentioned in connection with it, as the capital and principal seat of the corruption of morals, just as Judah and Jerusalem are frequently classed together by the prophets. The lamentation concerning the incurability of the kingdom is followed by an explanatory notice of the sins and crimes that are openly committed. Sheqer, lying, i.e., deception both in word and deed towards God and man, theft and highway robbery and not fear of the vengeance of God. . . They do not consider that God will remember their evil deeds, and punish them; they are surrounded by them on all sides, and perform them without shame or fear before the face of God Himself. These sins delight both king and prince. To such a depth have even the rulers of the nation, who ought to practise justice and righteousness, fallen, that they not only fail to punish the sins, but take pleasure in their being committed.[2]

 

To recap what Hosea 7.1-3 reveals to us, four things seem readily apparent: First, Godís dealings with them through His prophets to heal them served only to more fully expose what was wrong with them. Next, they considered not in their hearts that God remembered all their wickedness. Third, not only were they completely surrounded by their sins, but their sins were also considered by God to be before His face. Finally, their sinful lifestyles did make the kingpins happy, even if God was not at all pleased with them. This morningís sermon will seek to show the parallels that exist between Israelís response to God and a modern day sinnerís rejection of Christ.

 

SERMON:

 

It has been a week since we returned from our annual summer camp in Wrightwood, where we enjoyed glorious weather, an escape from the hustle and bustle of the hectic pace of life, informative and challenging lessons showing how scientific evidence actually supports Biblical creationism, and more than a dozen challenging gospel messages from the Bible. Though I always enjoy camp, and find it spiritually stimulating, I also approach camp and leave camp with a profound sense of dread. You see, the Lord Jesus Christ strongly proclaimed that most people will not receive the truth, will not respond to His offer of forgiveness and cleansing, and will instead end up rejecting the person and work of Christ.

That is what He meant in Matthew 7.14, when He said, ďnarrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.Ē We here in the United States are so competitive and so geared to a majority rule kind of mentality that we tend to assume that most people will become Christians, and that most people will end up doing the right thing, because that is just the way things are supposed to be.

Sadly, but predictably, that is not the way things end up. However, that is not the only reason for my sense of dread in connection with camp, and in connection with all gospel preaching, point be made. What most people seem oblivious to are the consequences of exposure to the gospel. However, such consequences are always on my mind. On one hand, exposure to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ results in the glorious salvation of the sinner who responds by embracing the Savior. However, the state of the person who rejects the gospel, as well as the person who does not respond at all to the gospel, is considerably worse than had that person not heard the good news at all. This point was clearly made by the Lord Jesus Christ when He declared that the judgment faced by the communities of Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida, cities where He had preached, would be far worse than the wicked cities of old that never heard of Him, such cities as Sodom and Tyre and Sidon.[3]

Consideration of these facts, then, affects me greatly as I anticipate camp and as I recover from camp. To be sure, it is an urgent necessity that the gospel be preached in a persuasive and consecrated fashion, since no sinner has any hope of salvation from his sins but through faith in Jesus Christ. However, the destiny of that one who rejects the gospel, who refuses Christ, is far worse than any sinner who has never heard of Christ.

I think you can see the parallel between Hoseaís experiences with his countrymen and the situation we observe with our kids who attend camp, and with any lost sinner who is exposed to the saving gospel message. As God sought to minister to Israel, so we seek the salvation of our young ones who do not know Christ. However, as Godís ministrations to Israel only resulted in greater exposure of their moral depravity, so we find that a week at camp in which Godís creative acts are highlighted, Godís glory is exalted, and the Savior is shown to be the glory of God, we find so many youngsters not only reject the gospel outright, but they do so by suppressing the truth of Godís glory, that one sin that Paul points out as the great crime God began judging men for while they yet lived, Romans 1.18 and 23.

Moms and dads, have you ever wondered why so many youngsters play fast and loose with the gospel? Ever wonder why those kids who seem to accept the existence of God as being undeniable, and the awesome power of God in creation as being indisputable, nevertheless seem unconcerned about their own soulís safety? Perhaps the conduct of Israel in this regard will provide some insight for you. Focus your attention on the first half of Hosea 7.2: ďAnd they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness.Ē Truth be known, I suspect your unconverted youngster thinks God is like most people in this respect, that the seriousness of the offenses against Him diminish with the passing of time, that His anger when He is sinned against gradually cools to the point of being forgotten.

Why do people not consider in their hearts that God remembers all their wickedness? Three reasons:

 

First, BECAUSE IT CONFLICTS WITH THEIR DESIRE

 

Never forget the pleasure that is associated with sin. Hebrews 11.25 informs us that Moses chose to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Thus, it is clear that Godís Word grants that enjoyable pleasures are associated with sinful behavior. Therefore, when someone wants to feel good for the moment, wants to provide pleasure for himself in the here and now, his desire to dismiss Godís remembrance of his sins is very strong.

Besides that, consider also the popularity factor. We human beings are social creatures, and we crave community. Never mind that sin separates, always separates, and never brings people closer together. The fact of the matter is that people think that by doing wrong they achieve a sense of community, and that by rebelling against God they can be a part of a social group. They give little thought that in their sinning they achieve only a mob mentality and a gang-type interaction. They frequently are unwilling to admit, because they are so desperate, that the loneliest people in the world are Christ-rejecting lost people, even when they are standing in a room filled with others just like them.

And, of course, there is the pride factor. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. However, sinners are so fearful, so terribly frightened of showing the reality of their helplessness and hopelessness without Christ, that they cannot reconcile their inherent dishonesty about who and what they are with Godís requirement that sinners humble themselves before Him. Let me tell you from painful experience, when you are committed to the facade, to the pretense, to playing the game of looking and acting cool and together, the last thing in the world you want, even at the cost of your soulís salvation, is for anything to interfere with your desperate desires.

This is how desire promotes a refusal to consider in your heart that God remembers all your wickedness.

 

Next, BECAUSE IT CONFLICTS WITH THEIR DETERMINATION

 

Back in the 1950s a black and white television commercial aired for several years. The scene was shot in a kitchen, with a young married woman struggling with something as her mother reached out to lend a hand. All of a sudden, the frustrated young woman snapped, ďMother, Iíd rather do it myself,Ē with the mother drawing back with a look of hurt on her face. Excuse me, but that commercial portrays the attitude of a lost person perfectly, because it is a portrayal of stubbornness. The stubborn person would rather be wrong than be right, so long as he can be wrong while doing it himself. However, God created His creatures incapable of tending to our needs ourselves, especially tending to our need for forgiveness and cleansing. So you can easily see how a stubborn personís determination to take care of his problems himself, particularly when they are sin problems that he simply cannot take care of himself, prompts him to put out of his mind that God remembers all your wickedness.

Determination can also be seen from another angle, the angle of ignorance. How many times throughout the Bible do we see Godís men provide facts and details, instruction and direction, to people who need to know better but who do not? Even to the Christian community we read so often read the words, ďKnow ye not?Ē or, ďI would not have you ignorant.Ē When the Queen of Sheba heard of the greatness of Solomon she became curious and investigated this man God had so wondrously blessed. When the Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed to His enemies that a greater than Solomon is here, in Matthew 12.42, His purpose was to instigate a similar response, so sinners would satisfy their curiosity about Him, investigate and overcome their profound ignorance about Him, and embrace Him as their savior. Sadly, however, so many sinners have no curiosity and are determined to remain in their dark ignorance, thereby consigning themselves to the blackness of darkness forever.

 

Finally, The Failure To Consider In Their Hearts That God Remembers Their Wickedness Could Be BECAUSE IT IS A MATTER OF THEIR DELUSION

 

Keep in mind that James 1.22 makes mention of those who deceive themselves. The way this works is you tell yourself again and again what you want to be true and end up believing to be true what you want to be true. Rational people understand that nothing is true simply because you want it to be so, but those same people are capable of astonishing self-deception. The same is true, not only with the young who come back from camp convinced their situation cannot possibly be as bad as Godís Word says it is, but with people of all ages. People find it incredibly easy to believe what they want to believe, because people are very capable of deceiving themselves about even the most important realities.

As well, there is the matter of Satanic deception. There is a devil. He is extremely intelligent and more evil than you can imagine, absolutely committed to your personal destruction. Ever wonder why some people just donít get it when it comes to the gospel the simplicity of trusting Christ? The Apostle Paul informs us of part of the problem, when he writes, ďthe god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.Ē[4]

Therefore, sometimes people deceive themselves, while at other times they are deceived by the devil. However, that is not the whole answer when it comes to delusion. In Romans 11.25, the Apostle Paul informs his readers that God has chosen to blind many Jewish people to the truth of the gospel. He also makes reference in Ephesians 4.18 to the blindness of many Gentilesí hearts. Could this be the result of God turning some sinners over to a reprobate mind?

 

This is what we know about many lost people. No matter what you show them from Godís Word, they seem incapable of considering in their hearts that God will remember all their wickedness.

If the unsaved considered in their hearts that God will remember all their wickedness, then perhaps the reality of a future judgment and being held accountable by God for all their sins would make an impact on them. Perhaps they would be more receptive to the gospel. Maybe the suffering and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for sins would seem more important to them. It might even be that older siblings would begin to think of the heavy weight of responsibility that rests on their shoulders as they lead their younger brothers and sisters to Hell by their example of rejecting the gospel.

What can be done about this tendency to refuse the truth that God remembers, that God will someday judge, and that God will rehearse every sin you have ever committed when He determines your punishment? As well, what can parents do for their children who seem not to care, or believe, that God will remember their wickedness?

I would suggest you search the scriptures to discover the evidence you need to convince yourself, or to convince others, that God does remember, that God cannot forget and will not forget . . . unless you come to Christ. You see, the justice of God and the righteousness of God demands that He not only remember your sins, but that He punish your sins. So, unless the Lord Jesus Christ is your substitutionary sacrifice for sins, God must punish you for your sins. But if He is your savior, if you will cast yourself on Him, then He has suffered Godís punishment for your sins for you.

You might ask, ďPastor, I am confused. What should I do?Ē What you do depends upon what you want. Do you want to stay confused and guilt-ridden? Then do nothing. Stay in your sins. However, if you want your sins forgiven and the peace with God that comes from sins forgiven, then come to Jesus Christ.



[1] A hemistich is the first half of a line. The reference is to the first phrase of verse 1.

[2] C.F. Keil & F. Delitzsch, COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT, Vol 10, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1996), page 69.

[3] Matthew 11.21-24

[4] 2 Corinthians 4.4



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org