Putting the trumpet to the lips was preparation. The trumpet may be calling the Assyrians to arms as ordained by the Lord or it may be the trumpet of warning to Israel that danger is near; or both. The eagle over the house is Assyria coming to attack them. Look back at what Moses said to the Israelites if they were disobedient towards Him:
47 "Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you. 49 The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, 50 a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young. 51 And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you.
As swift as an eagle this will happen. While this is a curse from disobedience, I don't believe this is God bringing this judgment as much as Him allowing it. When a people remove themselves from following after God, this becomes a normal and natural thing. If there is no higher standard of life than that of the strongest and most powerful, the people are at the mercy of that ever changing, man defined standard. When God is removed, the enemy is free to reign through our sin-nature bringing destruction, death and dark times.
In response to this judgment coming so swiftly the Israelites cry out to God. This is like a child in the hands of his father about to spank him; he will say what needs said to avoid the punishment. But this only happens because it becomes abundantly clear the spanking cannot be avoided. It's not a cry of repentance, it's a cry of grief over circumstances they feel are out of their control. The humanistic spirit of man says, "I'm in control of my destiny. I make my way. I am the captain of my ship." When we suddenly realize that isn't the case we cry out to God. But our cry isn't for God to captain our ship, but for God to give us our ship back to once again put our hands on the rudder.
Israel says, "God we know you." God said, "No, you don't!" What a scary place for them to be. Judgment was crashing down on them and they didn't know God. They had played the religious game for years, never really committed to God; all along in the back of their mind figuring they had time. God was their plan B, if all else went wrong, God would step in and save them.
They set up kings without seeking God. They put princes in place that wouldn't acknowledge God. They made idols for themselves that did nothing but cut them off from the Lord. Of all the idols to make, they made a golden calf. This is so reminiscent of the Israelites at the base of the mountain of God, while God gave the law to the Priest and Prophet Moses. This is so offensive to God; it can be nothing else than Satanically inspired. But they wouldn't know that, they were so far from knowing God, this seemed right to them.
Israel refused to stop idol worship until it was too late. The calf was rejected! God's anger was aroused; this phrase literally means it causes a burning in the nose of God. It was like God saying this calf stinks to high heaven. How long? How long could they expect God to look past this? They made this with their hands; it had nothing to do with God Most High. How could they forget all that was said, documented and done for them by Yahweh?
We migh ask the same; how long? With all God's done to bless this nation, suddenly we find our self facing inevitable judgment. How could we forget all that God did to found this nation? How could we forget the what God gave us for His glory?
God is a God to be obeyed. He is a God of mercy and justice. Our society is quick to acknowledge God when convenient. The acknowledgment is not noticeable by the way we live.
The whirlwind will not seem fair or right. The whirlwind is violent and yields nothing of value. The Israelites would look to God as unjust in this; the punishment seemed so much harsher than the sin. Isn't this always the case? We view our sin and small, insignificant and hardly worth mentioning. Yet, it reveals our lack of understanding of holiness. In God's holiness, righteiousness and perfection, our sin and grand offense. A sin against an eternal God is deserving of an eternal punishment.
Israel sowed in sin for years. When judgment didn't come, the sin became easier and more frequent. They sought gods that couldn't deliver, instead of sowing in holiness with God Most High. What they reaped from those years of sowing in the fields of the enemy was a whirlwind of judgment.
Israel sold themselves among the nations seeking political allies when all they needed was to be right with God. They sought a solution tot their problem among other nations, so God made this sin their punishment. He would gather the nations against Israel and it would bring sorrow and a great burden on them. This speaks of the tribute they paid to these nations to keep them at bay. The nations they sought in partnership they were now subject to.
The altars they built increased sin instead of remove sin. The sacrifices offered didn't please the Lord and cover their sin, they increased their sin. Their eyes weren't on the Lord with a desire to please Him but were on themselves. They sought God only to satisfy their own desires.
These people looked at the law as if it were alien. The very word of God that was the means of knowing and understanding Him had been set aside. God's word is like a foreign language to the wicked and corrupt. It's a language they can't understand and choose not to pursue. It's as though deep down inside, man knows that God's word will set us off the throne and put on God on high at the center of life. The excuses probably haven't changed much; maybe they thought it was outdated, a little behind times; archaic and irrelevant. They probably thought it was offensive and they had grown in wisdom beyond needing God's word. Pride told them they no longer needed it. They were religious but they didn't serve God and the religious things they did were done as ritual and not with a heart for God.
The indictments of chapter 8:
- In verse 2 they acknowledge him only when they feel pain.
- In verse 3 they reject what is good.
- In verse 4 they set up kings without God's consent.
- In verse 5 with their wealth they set up idols to worship.
- In verse 8 they make alliance with ungodly nations.
- In verse 11 they worship to false altars (also false worship).
- In verse 11 they consider God's law a strange thing
God remembers their iniquity and the fire of judgment was coming upon them.
©2016 Doug Ford