Friday, May 3, 2019 -
This morning I again read the book of Hosea. And, like every time I read it, I can’t help but draw parallels to our own nation and the church of today. Hosea is a picture of the relationship of God to the nation of Israel, which played the harlot. For God told Hosea to marry a harlot, Gomer, so that the grievous relationship might be manifest in a way which the people could relate. Simply put, God wanted us to recognize how broken His heart was for the harlotry and unfaithfulness of His people (1:2).
For God’s people refused to recognize that it was God who provided them with their success and prosperity (2:8). The Israelites attributed their prosperity to their idols (2:5, 10:1), just as today we in our own nation – and in the church – too often attribute our wealth to our own handiwork and ingenuity. “The more his fruit, the more altars he made,” says Hosea. And so, the greater a man’s wealth, the more diligent he seeks to obtain more, and his wealth and possessions become his idol. I Timothy warns against the seeking of wealth. “But for those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.”
Or, our idols can also be our leisure time, our recreation, or even our retirement. Our idolatry can be anything which takes credit or lordship away from God Almighty.
And with such idolatry comes covetous greed and oppression of those who are least able to defend themselves (4:2; 10:13; 6:80, refusing to acknowledge the fact that God gives to us so that we can further His kingdom and bless others. For this avoidance of our responsibility is sin, too.
And then there is the obvious, just by the fact Israel (or the church) is being compared to a harlot, and that is the sin of our adulteries. For the statistics of divorce, and remarriage within the church today differs little from the world, as does the prevalence of pornography use by those within the church – including a large percentage of practicing pastors! Sexual abominations are gradually becoming more “acceptable,” which grieves the heart of God. God says such a spirit means they do not know the Lord (5:4). “There is swearing, stealing, and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed” (4:2), says the Lord. God hates this in his people. And He hates when we give our acceptance and approval by watching depictions of such evil and forms of entertainment. For that, too, has become an idol.
God, through Hosea, condemned Israel’s lying, cheating (5:10), lack of loyalty (6:4), and pride (7:10), the slaughter of the children (9:13). But Hosea’s prophetic book clearly points to a Redeemer, and even Matthew quotes it in Matthew 2:15. God says in Hosea He will either deal with his people wrathfully or, if they repent and turn from their evil ways, compassionately. It is a word we in the church should take to heart (7:14). The consequences will be severe. I encourage you to read the book of Hosea once again.