“Reap the whirlwind”

Without reading further, do you know where the title originated?

One of the many, but admittedly lesser, reasons to read the entire Bible is that there are so many references and sayings that came from it.

Here’s where it came from.  I noticed it again as I was working through my “read the Bible in a year” plan again that I started last September (side note: I’m finally in the minor prophets and Revelation, so I’m almost there!).

For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. (Hosea 8:7, ESV)

So that verse became a well-known saying, but what was the point of it?  How often, if ever, do people read Hosea?

You can infer from the saying that reaping a whirlwind is probably a bad thing.  But just knowing the saying doesn’t tell you the all-important context.

  • Who sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind?  The Israelites.
  • What constituted sowing the wind?  Disobeying the true God and worshiping false Gods.
  • What did the whirlwind look like?  Disease, destruction, slaughter and captivity.  Pretty gruesome stuff.

Here’s an example from Hosea:

Rejoice not, O Israel! Exult not like the peoples; for you have played the whore, forsaking your God. You have loved a prostitute’s wages on all threshing floors. Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail them. (Hosea 9:1–2, ESV)

The Israelites worshiped and credited the false god Baal for their crops, acting as prostitutes earning their wages.

The false teachers in the church today, along with countless illogical and uninformed people, are fond of saying that all religions lead to God.  But you can’t flip more than a couple of pages in the Old Testament without seeing the recurring theme that the Israelites’ #1 problem was worshiping false gods and that God took that very seriously.  And the New Testament teaches at least 100 times that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  That isn’t what makes it true (his rising from the dead makes it true), but it does mean that it is impossible for Christianity and another religion to both be right on major issues.

Run, don’t walk, from those who teach that we have as much to learn from other religions as they do from us.  There is nothing anyone has to teach us about Jesus that isn’t in the Bible.  These false teachers give warning signs by claiming that other religions are valid, and they teach the opposite of the word of God on truly simple concepts (they think Jesus is pro-choice and supports “same-sex marriage,” among other things).

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. (2 Corinthians 11:13–15, ESV)

The Israelites reaped the whirlwind, and it was spectacularly bad.  Read all the Old Testament and see what I mean.

But Hell will be far worse, and forever.  Repent and believe while you have time.  If you are a believer, warn others of false teachers.

11 thoughts on ““Reap the whirlwind””

  1. I was slightly mistaken in my processing of “reap the whirlwind”. I knew it was Scripture, but I also thought it was (ironically) the name of the movie about the Scope Monkey Trial. I was wrong. That was Inherit the Wind. And in hunting that one down I discovered that THAT was a quote from Prov 11:29. So in making a movie that ridiculed Scripture, they used Scripture as its title. The irony survived my mistake.


      1. Actually, it was Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris speaking about the Blitz. “The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw, and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind.”


  2. I must “shamefully” admin that when I read “Whirlwind” I though Elijah… ….

    Thanks for writing this. good theology + good writing = Good way to spend the Lord’s day.


  3. “What did the whirlwind look like? Disease, destruction, slaughter and captivity. Pretty gruesome stuff.”

    Oh, you must be mistaken, Neil. I’m constantly being told that such things are not possible with a God of perfect love and justice. Too many “innocent” people would have to suffer along with the guilty and God just doesn’t work that way. We’ll have to assume that was just the OT author’s impression of the nature of god and not actually a record of events. God was only responsible for the happy, bunnies and puppies experiences of ancient peoples, not anything that might sound like a God of wrath, jealousy and vengeance.

    I’m sorry. Was I being sarcastic? My bad.


    1. You are correct… God is love and a loving God would not do the things you imply… oh wait… it is the Bible that is implying these things… I don’t know what to say…


  4. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the bible, I’ve done it cover to cover twice. Whether you believe its stories, or think of it as historical fiction, it’s a book that has had a great impact on western civilization since Constantine.

    As far as ‘false gods’ is concerned, I think the Documentary Hypothesis gives a much clearer explanation as to why the early Israelites worshiped Baal.



    1. Probably because worshiping false gods didn’t carry all the rules and obligations carried by worshiping the real God.

      With idolatry, it was perfectly OK to kill someone if you didn’t like them, steal things from others if you wanted to, sleep with people you weren’t married to (often orgies, no less) and do all kinds of other abominable things that God’s people were forbidden to do. As I read through the Old Testament, the only thing that surprises me is how quickly the Israelites forgot what God had done for them and adopted the wicked, heathen ways of the people around them.

      People sin today for the same reason. It’s easier, it’s more fun, and it doesn’t require one to deny his baser impulses.

      I don’t care much for documentaries, myself. I prefer to trust the Bible along with what I can personally verify, not what some “expert” on a TV screen thinks. Those people always seem to leave out pertinent information…or in Michael Moore’s case, lie outright.


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