This chapter is a little bit longer than normal. It deals with a lot of stuff and, as usual, I ping-ponged around with different ideas and different lessons that I would try to teach today and I think I finally landed on one that we will look at.
This king Hoshea was talked about at the very first of the chapter. He wasn't as bad as some of the other kings of Israel but he wasn't good either. This had been building up in Israel since they had divided. There were evil kings and they had led Israel into sin as it said in verse 7, 'The Children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God.' If the people I study after are correct, over time there had been 200 years of this since they had crossed over into Jordan. It had got to the point to where the Lord put them into captivity. We are not going to talk about that scenario this morning per say.
What I want to look at is the fact that Hoshea was kind of a conniving king and he got caught. He was given presence to Syria's king to keep them from invading, and at the same time he got caught in a conspiracy where he was sending messengers back to Egypt to try to get them to help them out of the mess they were in. As I read that. I thought, that's very interesting. This passage even brings it out in verse 7: 'It was so that the Children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt,' and here is this king trying to take them back to where? Egypt. That was the place of captivity. That was the place of torture. They were forced to build the pyramids and the buildings for the pharaohs and they were beaten and some even killed. And that's where they wanted to go back for help? He got caught passing notes and here come the Assyrians and took the city and took him and placed them in bondage. That starts the captivity of the whole nation of Israel, Judah included, because later on you will see Judah taken captive as well.
I would say that that king, during that time, was afraid, wouldn't you? Turn to (2 Timothy 1:7) When we go back and read the account of this king, I don't think he had this spirit, -- the one of power and of love and of a sound mind. He wasn't relying on God. He was looking for answers somewhere else. As we look at Egypt and the wilderness and Canaan, we represent it as the world, as carnal Christian living and victorious Christian living. He was reverting back to the world, to that old man, the old way of life. He wanted help from that end of it. Instead of turning his face toward God and fearing God, he chose to fear man.
I tell you this morning as children of God we have absolutely no reason to fear man nor any of the circumstances of this world. I know you all have seen the signs on the trucks and shirts that say 'No Fear'. Have you seen that campaign that's going out. There is also one that says, 'I Ain't Skeered'. And they spell it like they say it. I can't even say it right. I mean, why be proud of your ignorance. Anyway, I hope none of you all have that on your trucks. But no fear! Not scared! That's what the world wants to proclaim today. They are not afraid. They are not afraid of God and they are not ashamed to tell you. If you are out in the world at all [and if you are not out in the world turn your TV on] there is evidence every day that there is no more fear of God, as a world. But we do have fear in our lives, as human beings, I am saying. We fear something or somebody. This king was afraid and instead of turning to God with his fear, turning that over to God and trusting God to save his people, he decided to play both ends against the middle and try to find some kind of help somewhere. It led to being shut up in prison.
As we look at this lesson and we try to look at the lessons in the past to give us some insight as being Christians today, and how to handle the situations as they come up and relate this to us, I began to study. I looked at doing a study on sin, where it says there in Verse 7 'the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God', and I was getting really bogged down, just to be honest with you. We may come back and do this one day or I may do a message on that some other time. But the further I went into it the more I knew that's not what I was suppose to teach on this morning so I started looking elsewhere.
I kept noticing the word fear. Fear. All through this chapter they feared the Lord. They were talking about these people who had been brought into Samaria from the other countries. Basically, when it said they feared the Lord there in verse 33, it's not that they served the Lord with all their heart, it's just that they included Him in all the rest of the gods. They respected Him just like they did all the rest of their gods. That's not the fear that I'm talking about this morning, the fear of man as we have already talked. But in II Timothy it says that He didn't give us a spirit of fear. God didn't give us a spirit of fear but a spirit of power and love.
So I began to look at some examples. Turn with me to Daniel 3. It's a very familiar story, and we may end up running over this again because I may go into Daniel next. I'm not real sure what book we are going to go into next with our study, but that's OK. We will deal with this again if we come to it. But over here in Chapter 3 of Daniel, these three Hebrew children, I believe, can show us some things. They are described as young men, probably anywhere from 15 to 20. They were set up in Nebuchadnezzar's hierarchy as governors over provinces. They weren't the rock busters or painters or whatever you want to call them. They had position.
(Daniel 3:1) So the king, the one that they were under, decides to build him an idol that was probably about eight stories high. We know the story but I want to go over it. He wanted everybody to bow down and worship him. You see, his country was a melting pot. We think America was the first one to do that but we're not. Nebuchadnezzar had an entire nation of captives from different countries, cultures, languages, and religions. He comes up with this idea that he is going to be the god they are going to worship so he builds this idol. He sits it out on this plain where everybody could gather around and see. In verse 2 [and I'm going to paraphrase this] he actually brings them all together. The princes, governors, captains, judges, and treasures came. The Who's Who of Babylon came here today, and he wanted them to dedicate this to him and worship him as a god.
There were some directions that were given to these people. (Daniel 3:4,5) It's pretty simple. You hear the music; you bow to the idol. Not very complicated. But there is a consequence if you don't, by the way. This isn't a choice. (Daniel 3:6) I mean, we want you to honor the king and worship him, and, by the way, if you don't you are going to die. Of course, in verse 7 'the music sounded and the people (continued...)