"Destroyed for Lack
toward Israel had always been conditional on their obedience. At the foot
of Sinai they had entered into covenant relationship with Him as His
"peculiar treasure. . . above all people." Solemnly they had
promised to follow in the path of obedience. "All that the Lord hath
spoken we will do," they had said. Exodus 19:5, 8. And when, a few
days afterward, God's law was spoken from Sinai, and additional
instruction in the form of statutes and judgments was communicated through
Moses, the Israelites with one voice had again promised, "All the
words which the Lord hath said will we do." At the ratification of
the covenant, the people had once more united in declaring, "All that
the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient," Exodus 24:3, 7. God
had chosen Israel as His people, and they had chosen Him as their King.
close of the wilderness wandering the conditions of the covenant had been
repeated. At Baalpeor, on the
of the Promised Land, where many fell a prey to subtle temptation, those
who remained faithful renewed their vows of allegiance. Through Moses they
were warned against the temptations that would assail them in the future;
and they were earnestly exhorted to remain separate from the surrounding
nations and to worship God alone.
therefore hearken," Moses had instructed Israel, "unto the
statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that
ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your
fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you,
neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments
of the Lord your God which I command you. . . . Keep therefore and do
them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the
nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great
nation is a wise and understanding people." Deuteronomy 4:1-6.
Israelites had been specially charged not to lose sight of the
commandments of God, in obedience to which they would find strength and
blessing. "Take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently,"
had been the word of the Lord to them through Moses, "lest thou
forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from
thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons'
sons." Verse 9. The awe-inspiring scenes connected with the giving of
the law at Sinai were never to be forgotten. Plain and decided were the
warnings that had been given Israel against the idolatrous customs
among the neighboring nations. "Take ye . . . good heed unto
yourselves," was the counsel given; "lest ye corrupt yourselves,
and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure," "and
lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and
the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven
to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto
all nations under the whole heaven." "Take heed unto yourselves,
lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which He made with you,
and make you a graven image, or the likeness of anything, which the Lord
thy God hath forbidden thee." Verses 15, 16, 19, 23.
the evils that would result from a departure from the statutes of Jehovah.
Calling heaven and earth to witness, he declared that if, after having
dwelt long in the Land of Promise, the people should introduce corrupt
forms of worship and bow down to graven images and should refuse to return
to the worship of the true God, the anger of the Lord would be aroused,
and they would be carried away captive and scattered among the heathen.
"Ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over
Jordan to possess it," he warned them; "ye shall not prolong
your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. And the Lord shall
scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among
the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you. And there ye shall serve
gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor
hear, nor eat, nor smell." Verses 26-28.
prophecy, fulfilled in part in the time of the judges, met a more complete
and literal fulfillment in the captivity of Israel in Assyria and of Judah
of Israel had developed gradually. From generation to generation, Satan
had made repeated attempts to cause the chosen nation to forget "the
commandments, the statutes, and the judgments" that they had promised
to keep forever. Deuteronomy 6:1. He knew that if he could only lead
Israel to forget God, and to "walk after other gods, and serve them,
and worship them," they would "surely perish." Deuteronomy
The enemy of
God's church upon the earth had not, however, taken fully into account the
compassionate nature of Him who "will by no means clear the
guilty," yet whose glory it is to be "merciful and gracious,
long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for
thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin." Exodus
34:6, 7. Despite the efforts of Satan to thwart God's purpose for Israel,
nevertheless even in some of the darkest hours of their history, when it
seemed as if the forces of evil were about to gain the victory, the Lord
graciously revealed Himself. He spread before Israel the things that were
for the welfare of the nation. "I have written to him the great
things of My law," He declared through Hosea, "but they were
counted as a strange thing." "I taught Ephraim also to go,
taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them."
Hosea 8:12; 11:3. Tenderly had the Lord dealt with them, instructing them
by His prophets line upon line, precept upon precept.
heeded the messages of the prophets, they would have been spared the
humiliation that followed. It was because they had persisted in turning
aside from His law that God was compelled to let them go into captivity.
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge," was His message
to them through Hosea. "Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will
also reject thee: . . . seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy
God." Hosea 4:6.
In every age,
transgression of God's law has been followed by the same result. In the
days of Noah, when every principle of rightdoing was violated, and
iniquity became so deep and widespread that God could no longer bear with
it, the decree went forth, "I will destroy man whom I have created
from the face of the earth." Genesis 6:7. In Abraham's day the people
of Sodom openly defied God and His law; and there followed the same
wickedness, the same corruption, the same unbridled indulgence, that had
marked the antediluvian world. The inhabitants of Sodom passed the limits
of divine forbearance, and there was kindled against them the fire of
preceding the captivity of the ten tribes of Israel was one of similar
disobedience and of similar wickedness. God's law was counted as a thing
of nought, and this opened the floodgates of iniquity upon Israel.
"The Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land,"
Hosea declared, "because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge
of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and
committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood." Hosea
prophecies of judgment delivered by Amos and Hosea were accompanied by
predictions of future glory. To the ten tribes, long rebellious and
impenitent, was given no promise of complete restoration to their former
power in Palestine. Until the end of time, they were to be "wanderers
among the nations." But through Hosea was given a prophecy that set
before them the privilege of having a part in the final restoration that
is to be made to the people of God at the close of earth's history, when
Christ shall appear as King of kings and Lord of lords. "Many
days," the prophet declared, the ten tribes were to abide
"without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and
without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim."
"Afterward," the prophet continued, "shall the children of
Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and
shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days." Hosea 3:4,
language Hosea set before the ten tribes God's plan of restoring to every
penitent soul who would unite with His church on earth, the blessings
granted Israel in the days of their loyalty to Him in the Promised Land.
Referring to Israel as one to whom He longed to show mercy, the Lord
declared, "I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and
speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence,
and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as
in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the
land of Egypt. And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou
shalt call Me Ishi ["My
margin]; and shalt call Me no more Baali ["My lord," margin].
For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall
no more be remembered by their name." Hosea 2:14-17.
In the last
days of this earth's history, God's covenant with His commandment-keeping
people is to be renewed. "In that day will I make a covenant for them
with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the
creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and
the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. And I
will betroth thee unto Me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in
righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. I
will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the
shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear
the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the
corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. And I will
sow her unto Me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not
obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not My people, Thou art
My people; and they shall say, Thou art my God." Verses 18-23.
day" "the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the
house of Jacob, . . . shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in
truth." Isaiah 10:20. From "every nation, and kindred, and
tongue, and people" there will be some who will gladly respond to the
message, "Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His
come." They will turn from every idol that binds them to earth, and
will "worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the
fountains of waters." They will free themselves from every
entanglement and will stand before the world as monuments of God's mercy.
Obedient to the divine requirements, they will be recognized by angels and
by men as those that have kept "the commandments of God, and the
faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:6, 7, 12.
the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall
drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the
captivity of My people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities,
and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine
thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I
will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out
of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God." Amos