Sound the Alarm
My dad gave me a Lafayette trumpet when I was about eight. Don Lough, Sr., an older friend who went to church with us, taught me how to play. When I went to a Christian boarding school in Florida for ninth grade, I took my trumpet with me. One of my assigned jobs was to get up before sunrise, turn on the microphone, and blast reveille through the speakers positioned all over the campus. I learned early the power of a horn to get people up and moving.
In old Israel, they used ram horns and silver trumpets for something far more important than a morning wake up call. Their horns sounded the call to arms. They shouted they were under attack.
“Blow the ram horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah!
Shout the alarm in Beth-aven;
‘Behind you, Benjamin!’
Ephraim, you will be destroyed on the day of punishment.
Among the tribes of Israel, I make known what is certain.
The officials of Judah are like those who move boundary stones.
Over them, I will pour out my anger like water.
Ephraim will be oppressed. He will be crushed in judgment.
He has persistently gone after Filth.” Hosea 5:8-11
Gibeah, Ramah, and Beth-aven were all on the north-south ridge road from Jerusalem in the territory of Judah to Beth-aven (Bethel) right on the border marking the territory of Ephraim, the dominant tribe of the Northern Kingdom. Near the middle of Hosea’s prophetic ministry in 733 BC, Pekah, the King of Israel, and Rezin, the King of Syria, invited the King of Judah to join them in an alliance against Assyria. When Judah refused, they attacked. Ahaz, the newly appointed twenty-year-old king in Jerusalem, appealed to Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria who was more than happy to help out. He attacked and deposed Rezin in Damascus, and then Hoshea, a pro-Assyrian, assassinated Pekah and took over in Samaria.
The princes of Judah decided to seize upon the chaos and destruction in the north and attacked from the south. Gibeah, then Ramah, and Bethel were the first places to face the point of their spears. Their purpose was to steal some of the land that God had given to the tribe of Ephraim. They were moving ancient boundaries (Deut. 19:14, 27:17). It was brother against brother, the bloodiest kind of fight.
Both believed they were playing a clever game of Realpolitik as they shifted back and forth between dependence upon Assyria and Egypt, the two Super Powers of their day. Neither realized that it was not the fury of Assyria or Egypt they needed to worry about. They had persistently chosen to worship “Filth” (Hosea actually uses a much stronger Hebrew term for their idols). So Hosea prophesies that God would bring the flood waters of judgment against them. He was their ultimate enemy. Would they hear the alarm, wake up, and return to their true God before it was too late?
LORD, help me to hear the daily alarms your Spirit sounds in my life when I’m tempted to laugh at filthy jokes or more deceptively to start to believe that I’m cunning and clever. Help me not to bow down to worthless things but only before you in authenticity and faithful dependability as I rest on Jesus’ power within.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!