Troublesome Topic: The Consequences of a Broken Covenant

Lesson 2 of 5

Although God is full of love and mercy, there were always consequences when a covenant was violated. He was so very patient with them, but when that decisive moment had finally come, He had to allow them to reap the consequences of their own decisions, even though it pained Him to do so.

Consequence #1: Because they had abandoned God, God was abandoning them.

The covenant relationship had been established with them for the precise purpose of seeking reconciliation and intimacy with the entire human race. When they walked away from God, He began to move away from them.

Ezekiel chapters 10 and 11 relate the slow and halting removal of God’s glory from the temple. It moved first from over the Cherubim, to rest over the threshold of the temple. Next it stopped above the East gate of the temple. Then the last step:

Ezekiel 11:23


The glory of the YHVH (read Adonai) went up from within the city and stood for a time on the mountain which is East of it.

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The glory of THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD removed itself from the where the people live, but it paused to mourn for a time at a place of strength as if to say, “Don’t try to follow me;” it was heading toward the place where life and everything good comes from, the place it had originated. That meant it probably wasn’t coming back.

This was an undeniable sign that God had deserted His people, based on their prior desertion of His covenant. 

Consequence #2: God would fight against them

Hosea was the last prophet to bring God’s word to the northern tribes of Israel before destruction came upon them. By now they had ignored God’s warnings time and time again, so words were not enough. Hosea was asked to live out his prophecy in a very personal and painful way. As a picture of how God had worked with Israel, God commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer, who later left him. After a time Hosea was told to buy her back from the slave traders. What a vivid picture of the depths to which Israel had fallen and the extent of God’s amazing grace. Included in that dramatization of God’s truths were the names that Hosea was instructed to give his three children (before Gomer ran away). Their first child was calls Jezreel, and everyone knew that referred to the valley of Jezreel which was famous for many important battles. Except for the coastal plain along the Mediterranean sea, most of the land of Israel contains either hills or small mountains. But Jezreel is a large valley that is wide and flat. That means it was good for armies that had chariots. This boy was named Jezreel because in that valley God would break the bow of Israel (render them incapable of protecting themselves), punish them, and put an end to them (think annihilation).

In the predicted battle that would take place in that famous, blood-soaked valley, God would be fighting against them, not for them. Hold on. I don’t think that is what you would want to happen. I don’t think anything good can come from a situation where God is fighting against you. This should have been a big wake-up call for the northern tribes called Israel.

Consequence #3: They were no longer recipients of God’s love.

 Hosea’s second child was a girl, given the name Lo-Ruhamah, which means “not loved.” How would you like to be a child running around the neighborhood with that kind of a name? Living out this prophecy was painful for everyone in Hosea’s family. It may seem cruel, but it was God’s way of trying to somehow get the attention of the people. This girl’s name should have been a wakeup call to God’s people that they were in real danger if God no longer was showing His love to them.

Consequence #4: They were no longer God’s people.

Then Hosea’s third child was born; he was called Lo-Ammi, which means, “not my people.” God could not have stated it more clearly. To no longer be considered the people of God would mean to forfeit all that God had done for them. It was a clear consequence of having broken the covenant relationship that God established with their forefathers for the expressed purpose of making them “His people.”

Consequence #5: God was divorcing them.

To make matters worse, the Israelites of that day would have understood that this sounded very much like the formula used for a divorce, and they would have known that such a similarity was not a coincidence. In those days a wedding commitment (think vows) sounded like this, “I am your husband, and you are my wife.” The formula for a divorce was, “you are not my wife, I am not your husband.” Consider how God’s statement of a desired relationship sounded like their wedding vow; God said, “I will be your God and you will be my people.” I am convinced the Israelites of old did not miss the similarity. So when God said through Hosea that “you are not my people,” they would have immediately seen the similarity to a statement of divorce. I cannot think of any way that God could have communicated more clearly to His people that it was time for judgment, and they should expect no mercy.

Consequence #6: They were removed from the Promised Land.

One consequence of this broken relationship was losing the land that had been given to them by promise. To them it was yet another devastating blow. The land was their livelihood; the land held their identity and all possibilities for a future. Being an agricultural community the land was everything, so this one really hurt. They began their history as slaves who owned nothing. Because of their violation of the covenant they were to return to slavery (see Jer. 17:4).

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The next lesson in all three series on Covenants is: The Final Consequence of a Broken Covenant



East was for the people of that time the most important direction. Whereas our maps are oriented to the North, their maps were based to the East. Since the sun comes up in the East and all life requires energy from the sun, ancient peoples saw the East as the source of life and all that accompanies life.

2: Jer 17:4

You, yes you yourselves, will drop your heritage which I gave you and I will cause you to serve your enemies in the land which you did not know, for you have turned my anger into a burning fire, it will burn forever.