Stronghold (Hosea #8)

Text: Hosea 1-14

In this lesson we will take a step back and look at the book of Hosea as a whole.  Hosea’s ministry is aimed at tearing down the wicked stronghold in EPHRAIM.  We will see what a stronghold is and make application in our own lives.  We will see how a stronghold operates, and what to do to destroy a stronghold.

Stronghold defined

  • It is a place where the devil has seized control.
  • It is a place where an unclean spirit possesses the real estate.
  • And in your own personal life, you know where that place is.  The devil is the primary influence in that area.  It is a wayside area in your life.
  • 7:1 When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without.
  • 2 Chronicles 11:13-15 a stronghold is an area of devil possession

 Stronghold is established

  • A stronghold begins with a lie and a temptation
  • Any place there is a fixed set of ideas, a mindset, or thoughts in conflict with revealed truth, you have the beginning of a stronghold.
  • Jeroboam lays the stronghold in Israel in 1 Kings 12:25-33.
    • Idol set up in Bethel which is in Ephraim (Joshua 16:1-4).
    • This sin (1 Kings 12:30) shows up another 18 times until the northern tribes of Israel are destroyed by Assyria.
    • God says Jeroboam made Israel to sin (1 Kings 14:16, 15:26, 34, 16:2, 13, 19, 26, 21:22, 22:52, 2 Kings 3:3, 10:29, 31, 13:2, 14:24, 15:9, 18, 24, 28).  For every king in northern Israel, God records that sin.
  • Started as convenience, pleasurable, enjoyable.
    • Devil possession begins with the flesh being satisfied in temptation
    • The devil takes ground through seduction
    • 5:3 I know EPHRAIM, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O EPHRAIM, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled.
    • 6:10 I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoredom of EPHRAIM, Israel is defiled.
    • 5:11 EPHRAIM is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment.

 Stronghold strengthened

  • The longer a stronghold is allowed to remain, the more difficult it is to deal with
  • The stronghold gains strength because we give it strength.
  • First, we make excuses for it.
    • 11:12 EPHRAIM compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit:
    • I’ll stop anytime I want to
    • The judgment isn’t that bad.  God understands.
    • Or, I deserve this.  After all I’ve done for God, I deserve this.
  • Then, we begin to justify it.
    • 12:8 And EPHRAIM said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin.
  • Next, we begin to legalize it
    • 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.
  • Lastly, we begin to fight to protect it.
    • Anybody ever preach on your pet sin or for the sake of this study, your stronghold?
      • The fight is either violent.  You either threw a fit about it.
      • The more entrenched in that sin you are though the fight takes on a more callous and calculating response.  You pretended it didn’t bother you and that you didn’t have that problem.  Kind of a devilishly cold response.
    • Ephraim looks for strength in numbers
      • 7:11 EPHRAIM also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.
      • 8:9 For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: EPHRAIM hath hired lovers.
  • In you and me a stronghold becomes a place where the enemy’s thoughts seem more credible than our thoughts or God’s thoughts, because they seem to originate within us.  Since those ideas come from within us, we’ll naturally view them as our own.  This is the reason the word of God says, Bringing every thought into captivity unto the obedience of Christ.
  • Many times we have accommodated a stronghold for so long that our personalities are identified with it.
    • We say things like, “I just can’t help it, that’s just the way I am.”
    • Our problem is – we have acted in an abnormal way for so long that abnormal seems normal to us.
    • Some general categories and specific problems that could be classified as strongholds.
    • Specific Problems: Galatians 5:19-21

 Strategy of the stronghold

  • Strategy of the devil is to launch more attacks from that stronghold
  • 8:11 Because EPHRAIM hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin.
  • The enemy’s plan is to establish a stronghold in an area of our life and then destroy other areas of our life and establish more strongholds.
  • Becomes a fortress from which Satan launches other destructive attacks
    • It refers to a place of enemy entrenchment or a fortress.
    • A command post from which the enemy works in surrounding areas.
    • He may not have jurisdiction in other areas, but from the place where ideas are accepted he can exert influence over nearby areas.
  • Renders your life fruitless because of his stronghold
    • 9:11 As for EPHRAIM, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception.
    • 9:13 EPHRAIM, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place: but EPHRAIM shall bring forth his children to the murderer.
    • 9:16 EPHRAIM is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.
    • The devil will destroy the next generation.  I’ll ruin one generation then gobble up the next generation at will.
    • Generational snare – 3rd and 4th generation growing up in vain tradition started by Jeroboam
      • Tradition becomes the darkness that blinds the soul from the light of God’s words
      • Tradition takes the place of God’s word – Mark 7:8-9, 13

 Stronghold Ignored

  • Strongholds that you won’t deal with can only be destroyed by God
  • There is nothing else God can do at this point because the will is completely possessed by the stronghold in that area.
  • 4:7 EPHRAIM is joined to idols: let him alone.
  • 5:9 EPHRAIM shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be.
  • 12:14 EPHRAIM provoked him to anger most bitterly: therefore shall he leave his blood upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him.
  • 13:1 When EPHRAIM spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.
  • 13:12 The iniquity of EPHRAIM is bound up; his sin is hid.

 Destroying strongholds

  • You are battling the enemy for the spiritual success of your future.
  • Satan knows full well that those strongholds in your life are his edge in preventing fruit and righteousness in your life.
  • We are not at a disadvantage in dealing with the strongholds in our life.
  • Weapons of our warfare
    • 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
    • 2 Timothy 2:24-26
    • The written word of God – the truth.  John  8:32, And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.
    • 14:8 EPHRAIM shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found.
    • Prayer in the name of Jesus is how we come boldly before the throne of grace to find help in time of need.  Let it be done for HIS sake.
    • Preeminence of Jesus Christ – firstfruits, first love, give him the first time in your day, the first of your income, the first of your
    • The cross of Jesus Christ – crucified life