Grapes Of Wrath
As I was entering Tractor Supply in Midlothian in the late fall, I noticed they had some grape vines for sale. At our old house, we had two luxuriant grapevines, and Mary made the sweetest grape juice I’ve ever tasted right from our own grapes. I picked out three of the new plants, took them home, and planted them. A hard freeze hit soon after, but I’m still hopeful that in the spring they’ll be alive. Then maybe in a couple of years I’ll be able to pick our own grapes and taste again some of Mary’s sweet grape juice. If so, we will both thank the Lord for the fertility of our land.
Ancient Israel was all about growing grape vines. Remember the spies who entered the land and returned with clusters of grapes they had to carry between them on poles on their shoulders (Numbers 13:23)? The deadly reality, however, was that by Hosea’s time, instead of thanking the Lord for the bountiful vines, they were bowing down to Baal and Asherah, engaging in illicit sex, and believing this worship guaranteed freedom and fertility. Hosea exposed the lie that had infected their hearts.
“Israel was a spreading grape vine; he produced ripened fruit for himself. As his fruit multiplied, he multiplied altars; as his land produced magnificently, he erected magnificent sacred pillars.
Their heart is deceitfully smooth, and now they must bear their guilt.
The Lord will break their altars and destroy their sacred pillars.” Hosea 10:1-2
A look at Israel’s history revealed that the Lord did keep his promises at Mt. Sinai to abundantly bless them. Their bountiful grape harvests year after year proved it. But instead of raising their hands in thankfulness to the great I Am, they used their hands to build the sacred pillars of stone that God commanded them not to build (Leviticus 26:1, Deut. 16:22, Hosea 8:11-14) and to caress lovers at their fertility shrines.
Hosea has already described how both the women and the men bowed before idols and engaged in sex at altars throughout the land (4:10-14). When he preached against their idolatrous, immoral disregard of the 7thcommandment, the majority mocked and attacked him. They proclaimed it was a new progressive day of freedom—a day when moral rules stating sexual intercourse was only to be enjoyed under the promise of a marriage between a man and woman were patriarchal, unjust power plays. All sex was pure, a holy rite, to be enjoyed with whomever one passionately connects? Who was right?
Hosea said the people’s false worship would mean the destruction of their altars and themselves. If you took a Gallop poll of his audience about 733 BC, the majority would have checked off the box saying Hosea was not only wrong, but crazy. Who was right?
In 722 BC Samaria and the Northern Kingdom did fall to the Assyrians and the idolatrous altars were plundered and destroyed, just as Hosea predicted.
LORD, help me realize that your moral principles don’t change with opinion polls, and only you decide what’s right and what’s wrong. Help me to also remember that under your Law we all face judgment and death. But thanks for giving your Son so that we can come to the end of ourselves and receive forgiveness and a new life in Jesus. Thanks that you alone make the call.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!