************ Sermon on Hosea 5:3-4 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on May 18, 2005
"I Know All About You"
I God Sees Everything
A I think all of you know or recognize these words from Psalm 139:
O Lord, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
These Bible verses tell us that God sees us. He sees us in the morning when we get up, He sees us during the day in school or at work, He sees us at night time in bed or at a meeting or in a bar.
B I have something to show you (HOLD UP OJO DE DIOS). Does anyone know what this is? In Spanish this is called an "Ojo de Dios." In English this means "Eye of God." I used to work in a church in New Mexico. When I was there we made these things for Vacation Bible School and when we left someone in the church gave me a big one with feathers at the end. They are made of sticks and different colors of yarn.
I was told that Navajo Indians hang up an "Ojo de Dios" in every room of their house. They put one in the kitchen, the living room, the bedrooms. This is to remind them that wherever they are in the house, the eye of God is upon them.
C Do we need to hang up an "Ojo de Dios" in our house for God to see us? Of course not! God is so mighty, so powerful, He can see through wood, stones, brick, cement. God sees and knows everything.
Is there anywhere we can go where God can not see us? If we fly in a rocket past the stars, can God still see us? Yes, He can. What if we fly to some island on the other side of the ocean; can God see us there? Yes, He can. What if I try to hide from God at the bottom of the ocean? Will He see me even there? Yes, He will (cf Psalm 139:7-10).
Do you remember Jonah? He tried to hide from God. God said, "Go to Nineveh, Jonah." But Jonah went to the Mediterranean Sea, got on a boat, and tried to run away from God. God found Him on the Sea and made a fish swallow Jonah and bring him back to the land. It is impossible, as Jonah found out, to hide from God.
God sees everything. He sees everywhere. He knows everything. Nothing escapes His attention. Jesus tells us He even sees the little sparrows when they fall.
You know what? God also sees in your heart. He sees and knows things about you that your parents or spouse do not know. He sees and knows if you love Jesus. He sees and knows if you do anything bad. He sees and knows if you are scared. He sees and knows if you are sick.
"Ojo de Dios" (HOLD IT UP), "Eye of God." God knows you, He sees you! He knows you and sees you because He loves you and cares for you.
D I am sure that this is nothing new to any of us here: that God knows everything, that He – as Hosea puts it – knows Ephraim, that Israel has no secrets of which God is unaware. A man may be sly and cunning; he may hide the various sides of his life and personality from others; but even a child can tell you that God knows us through and through.
It fills the soul, doesn't it, to realize that God knows everything. Nothing is more likely to create respect for God and His ways than the thought of that all-seeing eye. For one thing, this means God does not and cannot make mistakes.
Topic: IgnoranceThese kinds of mistakes happen because we don't see and don't know all things. But this kind of mistake is impossible for God.
Title: The Danger of Spiritual Ignorance
Canada and the United States have long been the best of friends, justly proud of the undefended border between them. It has not always been so. During the War of 1812 the Americans crossed the border and destroyed York, modern day Toronto. The Canadians retaliated by burning Washington, D.C. Finally, on December 24, 1814, representatives of the two countries, who had been meeting in Belgium signed the Treaty of Ghent, which agreed on the details of an armistice.
Unfortunately, the news of the peace was delayed, and, on January 8, 1815, unaware of the armistice, the two armies met in the Battle of New Orleans. More than 2,000 men lost their lives in a totally unnecessary battle, because they were ignorant of the peace treaty.
Everyone knows about God's all-seeing eye (HOLD UP OJO DE DIOS). Everyone knows about God's omniscience. Yet, along comes Hosea in our text and says:
(Hosea 5:3) I know all about Ephraim (Ephraim is another name for Israel); Israel is not hidden from me.
Israel was well aware of this before the time of Hosea. What did you think, Hosea? Did you think we don't know about the all-seeing eye of God? What else is new? Come now, Hosea, don't give us that old sermon. Don't preach to us about things we have heard so often before. Are we ignorant of what David wrote in Psalm 139? Or, what about Psalm 33?
(Ps 33:13-15) From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; (14) from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth-- (15) he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.So why is Hosea repeating the obvious?
II Trying to Fool God
A The omniscient God Who knows all things and sees all things has something to say to Israel. He says, "they do not acknowledge the LORD" (vs 4). Now get this: when it comes to a theological knowledge of God, those Israelites deserve a "A" but when it comes to a practical knowledge of God they get an "F"; they have all sorts of head-knowledge but very little heart-knowledge; they know all about God but they don't know Him personally. This reminds me of Josef Stalin – did you know he studied for the priesthood before he became one of the bloodiest dictators of history? According to God, Israel was like this: she knew all about God, yet she didn't know God Himself.
In a normal Christian Reformed family it is possible to know all about God. After all, we have regular family devotions, attendance at two worship services a week, church school, youth societies, Christian School, and personal devotions. It is possible to know all about God yet we may not know God Himself.
I need to ask you, boys and girls, young people, congregation, do you know the Lord? I'm not asking if you know about the Lord. I want to know if you know the Lord? Do you have a personal, living relationship with Him? Do you have intimate knowledge of God and Christ ? In your life do you find sincere worship, joyful obedience, true prayer, thoughtful Bible reading, and the like?
B Now we know why God has to send Hosea with that same old message: "I know all about Ephraim; Israel is not hidden from me." Israel comes to the altar; she offers gifts and sings songs. And, she has fooled herself into thinking that God does not know the real state of her heart. She thinks she can use the sound of songs and the smell of offerings to hide things from God. Therefore God has to treat the Israelites like children and keep repeating the same things to them over and over again.
It is impossible to fool the One Who knows everything. "I know all about Ephraim; Israel is not hidden from me."
C What an overwhelming truth! Think about it. What do you really know about your neighbors, about the people beside you in the pew? You know what they look like, but what are they like inside? Do you know what goes on in their hearts and minds? Of course not.
But, then, we don't devote much effort to finding out either. We live in a busy and superficial time in which people no longer share with each other their ultimate concerns and hopes. Thousands upon thousands of people are lonely and alone. Many parents know virtually nothing about their children, and many children show no interest in their parents. Many a husband is a mystery to his wife, and many a wife is a mystery to her husband.
When you get right down to it, what do we really know about ourselves? Are we able to admit to ourselves what we are really like? Do we ever do a completely honest self-inventory?
It is so easy for us to lie to each other and to ourselves. We can lie through our pious words. We can lie by conforming to Christian practices and customs. It is easy, real easy, to deceive that way. But the Lord looks into the heart. He sees through every disguise. "I know all about Ephraim; Israel is not hidden from me."
We don't know our neighbors. We don't know the members of our own family. We don't even know ourselves. But the all-knowing God knows me and everyone else as well (HOLD UP OJO DE DIOS). He knows everything about me, including what is shameful and wrong. He knows all about our personal life, our family life, our church life. Therefore there is no point in pretending to be better than we really are. There is no point in trying to keep up appearances. We are wasting our time when we try to use our church membership to fool God. There is simply no way to fool the Lord. Because the Lord knows me just like He knows Ephraim, just like He knows Israel.
III God's Knowledge Means Judgment
A God knows Ephraim, all right. The Lord had called him out of Egypt when he was still a little boy and had kept a close eye on him ever since. The Lord had heard him cry out for God in his hour of need. The Lord had seen him turn away from God when things went well. He had endured so much from Ephraim throughout the years. No, there is nothing about Israel that the Lord does not know.
God sees Israel's sin. He knows her shortcomings. He knows her hypocrisy. He knows the chasm that exists between her head-knowledge and heart-knowledge. Knowing all this, there will come a day, says Hosea, when God will have to execute judgment unless the people repent:
(Hosea 5:8-9,10) "Sound the trumpet in Gibeah, the horn in Ramah. Raise the battle cry in Beth Aven; lead on, O Benjamin. (9) Ephraim will be laid waste on the day of reckoning. Among the tribes of Israel I proclaim what is certain ... For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, like a great lion to Judah. I will tear them to pieces and go away; I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them.
The God Who knows everything about Ephraim also knows everything about us. Someday, like Israel, we too will be called to account. Someday, like Israel, we too will be laid bare, exposed, by the God Who intimately knows us. Someday, we too will be judged unless we repent.
B God's knowledge not only means judgment, but it also means a completely just judgment. Think about the Laci Peterson case for a moment. Is her husband innocent or is he guilty? Most of us have opinions about this but none of us know 100% for sure. The Prosecuting Attorney doesn't know. The police don't know. The defense attorney doesn't know. The media don't know. That's why innocent men sometimes are jailed in our land. But God does know. He is omniscient. He knows all things and sees all things (HOLD UP OJO DE DIOS).
God's judgment of Israel – and of us – is completely just. There are no mistakes made if you know all things and see all things. God is completely just and right and true in all His judgments.
My brothers and sisters, remember that the Lord knows Ephraim! The Lord knows you and me. That alone should make us think twice before we say or do anything because someday "God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil" (Eccl 12:14). And, "men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken" (Mt 12:36).
The Lord knows you. His eye is upon you (HOLD UP OJO DE DIOS). He knows all about you. He knows your every sin. And, someday He will judge you for all that He knows.
On that day, you will end up either in heaven or in hell, with God or with Satan. Where you end up depends on your answer to one question: "Do you know the Lord?" If you know the Lord, then your sin has already been punished in Christ. If you know the Lord, then all your hidden and secret sins has already been punished in Christ.
God knows you. Now, do you know the Lord?
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