Who is wise? Let him discern these things! Who is discerning? Let him understand them! For the ways of the Lord are right; the godly walk in them, but in them the rebellious stumble. (NET Bible, Hosea 14:9)
ESV - 9 Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.
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To me, the thought expressed here is similar to the words of Isaiah in Isaiah 8:14-15. A rock (representing God through His changeless commandments) can be a shelter, anchor, and protection to those who use it for those purposes through obedience. However, to those who disregard those commandments, that same rock represents an impediment that will cause them to stumble by their disobedience and rebellion, leading to their ultimately being "broken", as would happen if that rock fell on them. Paul and Peter use the cited verses from Isaiah in the same dual sense in Romans 9:33 and 1 Peter 2:6-8 with respect to Christ, referring to Him as a "precious cornerstone" who will not disappoint those who place their faith in Him, but as a "stone of stumbling and a rock of offense" to those who reject or disobey Him.
Hosea was called by God to declare God's word to the northern kingdom of Israel. He appealed to them by using the figure of an unfaithful wife, because of their devotion to idols and the forsaking of Jehovah. This verse forms the ending of the whole prophecy. The way of God's salvation is a step up for those who believe. Yet at the same time it is troublesome, a Rock of offence, for the unbeliever. 1 Corinthians 1:23, "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness." The cross was the way of redemption. It still is today. It is the foundation of God's way. Then and now, humans find it so difficult to just believe and receive God's blessing of life eternal!
1 Samuel 15:23 in the Life of Saul the first King of Isreal pretty much demonstrates the best example of what rebellion does for a King and a nation. Saul, after being rejected by God, chose the way of the occult rather than repentance. He was consumed by jealousy over David and pride, refusing to accept that David would rule after him rather than one of his own sons, even though David was his son in law. David was victorious as the King of a divided kingdom, and after repentance of sin in his own life. As King he was never defeated while the kingdom was divided. The Kingdom after his sons ruled was continually defeated when the Kings chose other gods or became prideful and self reliant. Just like the saying 'a house divided against itself shall not stand.' Mark 3:25 America's war over slavery proved this scripture true but with the ending of slavery brought the nation back together with great loss of life. 1/2 million Americans died over the slavery issue. Rebellion in anyone's life hurts and effects many peoples in your personal spear of influence. Our lives touch the lives of multitudes of people in so many large and small ways. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft 1 Samuel 15:23 is a vital lessen to all that desire heaven as their final home. Pride comes before the fall a haughty spirit before destruction. Proverbs 16:18 Provebs the book of wisdom says so. Selah!
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