Power Over the Angel

Hosea 12:4-5.

Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto Him: He found him in Bethel, and there He spake with us;

Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial.

Why couldn't God defeat Jacob in a wrestling match? – Good Question

This story always puzzled me when I was a child. How could a human being possibly prevail over God Himself? Bible scholars agree that the “man” was actually the Angel of God, or a Theophane, an appearance of God as a man.

We know that Jacob’s character was one of deceit, and that it was so from before he and Esau were born. He deceived Laban; he even deceived his father Isaac, with the encouragement and help of his mother. Knowing this will help us to understand why he found it so difficult to submit to God. He knew that if he gave in, there would have to be a change in his behavior. So he fought.

The only way he could prevail with God would have been to admit that he was outmatched, and to give in. When we submit to God’s authority, acknowledging that He is God, then we have power with Him.

I like this painting for several reasons. I do wish the artist had left off the wings, but that’s a minor detail. If you look closely at the “angel,” he does not seem to be stressed at all. His face is calm. His muscles are not defined like Jacob’s, who would seem to be exerting every ounce of strength against his heavenly opponent. It would almost seem as if the angel was simply waiting for Jacob to relent. And we even see the angel touching Jacob’s thigh, causing him to limp for the rest of his life. What a reminder that must have been to Jacob every single day!

And he did. He wept and prayed to God, asking for His blessing. In his surrender, he got that blessing. He called the place Peniel, which means I have seen God face to face. The remarkable thing to Jacob was that his life was preserved!

I refer you again to Gen. 32: 24-30 for this dramatic story.


Hosea 12:2-3.

The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will He recompense him.

He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God:

Toldot — SMART ART

While the majority of Hosea’s warnings are aimed at the ten tribes of the north, he also has many words of warning for Judah. He refers here to the well-known story of Jacob and Esau, who struggled even before they were born. Genesis 32 tells us the story of Jacob’s wrestling match with God, and the physical limp that stayed with Jacob for the rest of his life–a reminder that God allowed Jacob to escape with his life.

Jacob was always deceitful. In his day, a “heel-catcher” was one who used devious means to gain his goals, going behind his victim’s back to defeat him. Such behavior characterized Jacob all his life. Hosea points out that such behavior characterized Jacob then, and Israel now. They were even foolish enough to think they could deceive God!

Jacob even physically struggled with God, Who appeared in human form to challenge Jacob.

Feeding on Wind

Hosea 12:1. “Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt.”

Hosea 12:1 KJV - Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the

Making treaties with one’s enemies is like taking big gulps of the dry, damaging east wind. Israel was so determined to ignore God that they grew worse and worse, and increased their efforts to pacify snarling Assyria. Assyria would not be pacified until Israel was desolate. They (Assyria) were an incredibly cruel and vicious people, and would never be prevented from their plans by empty words and promises.

I am thinking of America now being led into alliances with our enemies in the East. We are foolish to believe their empty words and promises, and our leadership is guilty of feeding on the east wind.

Assyria paid dearly for her evil, wicked treatment of her enemies, though. God allowed Assyria to be the tool of judgment on Israel, but as always, they went too far, and God used Babylon, in 612 B.C., to destroy Nineveh, the capitol of Assyria. The Assyrians never recovered from that great loss, and faded into the pages of past history, known mainly for their inhumane treatment of their captives.

What about oil being carried into Egypt?

The Israelites were bargaining with Egypt for protection against Assyria. They took gifts of expensive, medicinal and cosmetic oils with them into Egypt, seeking favor with Pharaoh as a refuge to which they could escape when the Assyrians began their dreadful march of conquest.

Lies and Deceit

Hosea 11:12. “Ephraim compasseth Me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.”

Hosea 11-12, God Does Not Give Up On You – West Palm Beach church of Christ

There are some Bible scholars who feel that v. 12 should actually be the beginning of the next chapter. It does make sense that way. We need to remember that chapter divisions and verses, did not exist in the original manuscripts. They were created to help locate subjects and specific verses, and I’m very thankful for that! However, there are places in which it would have been better not to make divisions, and this could be one of them.

The message in this verse is that Ephraim (Israel) has not been honest with God or His prophet. They made claims, and had some appearance, of continuing to worship God, but those were surface behaviors that they foolishly thought God wouldn’t punish. How arrogant we can become when we want to live sinfully!

Judah, on the other hand, had been more reluctant to fall into idolatry. Some of her kings–not all–had restored proper worship, but the struggle was ongoing, and Judah would suffer judgment but would not be as completely destroyed as the ten northern tribes.

In spite of the coming judgment, God would preserve and protect a remnant of His people. He would restore them and bless them when they came, in repentance and humility, back to Him.

Lion of Judah

Hosea 11:10-11.

They shall walk after the LORD: He shall roar like a lion: when He shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west.

They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD.

They will follow the LORD; he will roar like a lion. When he roars, his  children will come trembling from the west. Hosea 11:10 | Lion, Like a lion,  Lions

When He roars: This is God’s promise of eventual restoration. When the judgment has run its course, God’s people will be ready and willing to hear His call, and He will allow them to return to their homeland from the west–in this case, from Assyria. They will also come from Egypt, and they will come trembling, not with bravado and courage, but with the fear (respect) of God.

There is a cycle that God’s people have repeated time after time in the course of their long history.

Judges 1 Commentary | Precept Austin

I believe America is at the point of rebellion and paganism in that cycle. The rest is sure to come, just as it always has for Israel. What can save us? That’s simple. Confession and repentance, which would lead to a Holy Spirit revival in the hearts of believers, and that revival would reach thousands of hearts of unbelievers to bring them to God.

God’s Forgiveness vs. Man’s Forgiveness

Hosea 11:9. “I will not execute the fierceness of Mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.”

The Living... — Hosea 11:9 (NKJV) - I will not execute the...

In this verse is the promise that, in spite of their repeated and outrageous sin, God would not totally destroy Israel. He would indeed punish them, but there would be a remnant spared that would eventually grow to build back what the Assyrians destroyed.

I don’t typically just copy what one of my sources offers, but I’m doing that today. Here is a pointed list of how God’s forgiveness differs from man’s, along with a quote from Charles Haddon Spurgeon. I couldn’t say it any better, or even as well, myself, What follows is taken from Blue Letter Bible.com, and is the work of David Guzik:

– Man cannot hold back his anger very long

– Man cannot bear with others when he is tired, stressed, or annoyed

– Man will not reconcile if the person who offended him is a person of bad character

– Man is often only willing to be reconciled if the offending party craves forgiveness and makes the first move

– Man is often only willing to be reconciled if the offending party will never again do the wrong

– Man, when he does reconcile, does not lift the former offender to place of high status and partnership

– Man, when he is wronged, does not bear all the penalty for the wrong done

– Man, when he attempts reconciliation, will not continue if he is rejected

– Man will not restore an offender without a period of probation

– Man will not love, adopt, honor, and associate with one who has wronged him

– Man will not trust someone who has formerly wronged them

i. What passes for forgiveness among men is nothing like the amazing forgiveness of God. “Suppose that someone had grievously offended any one of you, and that he asked your forgiveness, do you not think that you would probably say to him, ‘Well, yes, I forgive you; but I – I – I – cannot forget it’? Ah! dear friends, that is a sort of forgiveness with one leg chopped off, it is a lame forgiveness, and is not worth much” (Spurgeon).

Sunday Morning Coffee: Christmas Program

It’s that time of year, I guess. I’m fighting a cold, and no, it’s not Covid. I’m just fighting an old-fashioned cold, and it’s really important that I wait until after tomorrow morning to give in to it.

I’ve been invited to portray the story of Jesus’ birth from Mary’s perspective. It’s about half-an hour for the script (which I wrote) plus music and a short message from the pastor.

This is all going to happen at Bible Baptist Church in Quakertown, which is presently meeting at the Highland Park Campgrounds chapel near Souderton. We have lots of old friends there, so this is going to be a real treat, seeing people we’ve known and loved for many years.

The program will be live-streamed on You Tube, BibleBaptistcares.org.

Also, I’ve taped the script for radio with friends from church, missionaries Ken and Nancy Kirkland. They have been missionaries in Antigua for many years, and still are involved with the radio station they worked with down there. You can find it online at RadioLighthouse.website. There are three segments, airing on the 21st, 23rd, and 28th, at 6:15 a.m. and p.m. If you’re interested, they play some interesting cultural programs, as well as some good music.

I was also invited to present the reading at Upper Bucks Christian School, 4-6th grades. So I’ve had plenty of practice for tomorrow. It has been a blessing to me as I studied and researched to write the script. It’s a good thing to look at the beloved Christmas story through new eyes, and it has been wonderful to put myself in Mary’s place, trying to understand her heart and mind from Bethlehem to Calvary and beyond.

This is the last Sunday before Christmas, so I will take the opportunity to wish you all a warm, wonderful, and blessed Christmas day. Never forget it’s not just about food and decorations and lights and music. It’s always, only, and forever about Jesus!

Manger Scene Exceptional Value - Walmart.com


Hosea 11:7-8.

And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.

How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? Mine heart is turned within Me, My repentings are kindled together.

Hosea 11:7 KJV - And my people are bent to backsliding from me: - Bible Verse Picture

Backsliding in v. 7 is translated as turning away, turning back, apostasy. In spite of the warnings of the prophets, not a single one of God’s people would exalt Him as the Most High. Not one!

In spite of their rejection of His love, it is breaking His heart to allow judgment to fall upon His people. At the end of v. 8, God expresses the sorrow of what was coming.

Admah and Zeboim were cities near to Sodom and Gomorrah that were also destroyed in the judgment on those two cities. God took no joy in leaving Israel to the harsh judgment they would experience at the hands of the Assyrians.

Their Own Counsels

Hosea 11:5-6.

He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.

And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels.

Hosea 11:6 And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his  branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels.

I’m going to take the liberty of clarifying the pronouns in these verses:

“He (Israel) shall not return into the land of Egypt (in which there was safety from the Assyrians) but the Assyrian shall be his (Israel’s) king because they (Israelites) refused to return (to God).

“And the sword (of Assyria) shall abide on his (Israel’s) cities, and shall consume his (Israel’s) branches and devour them (branches) because of their (Israel’s) own counsels (ideas, preferences, practices). “

Every source I looked at this morning interpreted “the sword shall abide on his cities” as “The sword of Assyria shall flash through their cities.” The destruction would be rapid and complete, showing no mercy for those caught in the way.

The phrase consume his branches and devour them is variously translated as gates, nearby smaller towns, or possibly the leaders or princes of the royal family.

However it is translated, it pictures utter, complete, merciless destruction of Israel and Judah, for one reason only: They refused to return to obedience to God.