Hosea has a message for Israel that I think can also apply to this country (and perhaps to the world): Turn away from your idols and turn back to God. The country was in relative prosperity, but that was soon to change. As I read through Hosea, it keeps reminding me of the world we live in. People are accepting immorality as the “new normal.” God is being forgotten and some are even being hostile toward Him and anyone who believes in Him. Persecution is prevalent in many countries and it may not be long before it is here too. Laws are being passed that go against God and His righteousness. People are all about what is comfortable for them and don’t want to accept consequences. We live in a “me” society. Much like Israel was in Hosea’s time. And God had a message for them.
Hear the word of the LORD, You children of Israel, For the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: “There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed. Therefore the land will mourn; and everyone who dwells there will waste away with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air; even the fish of the sea will be taken away.
God is patient but there comes a point when we must face the consequences of our actions. When we put our trust in ourselves or others, when we seek our own desires instead of what is right, when we remove God from our lives and our society, when we allow man to rule instead of God, we provide a foothold for the devil and little by little, he will take control. We will give our nation over to those who do not seek the Lord, who do not look out for the interests of the people but for their own interests, who seek evil instead of good.
The princes of Judah are like those who remove a landmark; I will pour out my wrath on them like water. Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked by human precept. Therefore I will be to Ephraim like a moth, and to the house of Judah like rottenness. “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria and sent to King Jareb; yet he cannot cure you, nor heal you of your wound. For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue. I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.
When our leaders lead us astray, they will have an even harsher judgement. They will lose their control. In Hosea’s time and before, as Israel turned away from God and turned their trust to others and went against their God’s will, who gave them so many blessings, they let pride get in their way and they opened the door for disaster.
Woe to them, for they have fled from Me! Destruction to them, because they have transgressed against Me! Though I redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against Me. They did not cry out to Me with their heart when they wailed upon their beds. “They assemble together for grain and new wine, they rebel against Me; though I disciplined and strengthened their arms, yet they devise evil against Me; they return, but not to the Most High; they are like a treacherous bow. Their princes shall fall by the sword for the cursings of their tongue. This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.
My God will cast them away, because they did not obey Him; and they shall be wanderers among the nations.
When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. As they called them, so they went from them; they sacrificed to the Baals, and burned incense to carved images. “I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love, and I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them. “He shall not return to the land of Egypt; but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to repent.
And Ephraim said, ‘Surely I have become rich, I have found wealth for myself; in all my labors they shall find in me no iniquity that is sin.’ “But I am the LORD your God, ever since the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of the appointed feast.
God pleaded with Israel to turn to Him, and I believe He is pleading with us as well. But they would not and let their pride and selfishness take control. They made an allegiance with Assyria instead of relying on God. And because of this, God would no longer be with them. He would turn His back on them for a time until they turned to Him. He would use Assyria to get their attention. Three years after Hosea’s ministry, Assyria conquered Israel and led them captive out of their own country. Some would still be in Israel but under the rule of Assyria. Eventually Babylon conquered Assyria, destroyed Jerusalem and led the rest of Israel captive. God had told them that if they didn’t change their ways, He would scatter them. They wouldn’t listen, and that is exactly what happened. Today, we have been redeemed by God and lies are spoken against Him, and we do not cry out to Him but seek other ways to “fix” our problems. When things are good, we let pride set in or take it for granted.
Israel empties his vine; He brings forth fruit for himself. According to the multitude of his fruit he has increased the altars; according to the bounty of his land they have embellished his sacred pillars. Their heart is divided; now they are held guilty. He will break down their altars; He will ruin their sacred pillars. For now they say, “We have no king, because we did not fear the LORD. And as for a king, what would he do for us?” They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant. Thus judgment springs up like hemlock in the furrows of the field.
God has blessed this country for a long time But pride and greed has set in. So much has changed in the past 50 years…20 years…even the last 10… Exponentially! People have turned from God, removed God from schools and government buildings, everyone looks for tolerance and expects everyone to accept and condone sinful lifestyles and other religions, but Christian values and beliefs are being attacked. Many churches have compromised their beliefs and the truth, to fit in with society. We have been worshiping in freedom for a long time and we have avoided persecution and oppression that many other countries have faced. But our freedom is being challenged. We as a country and as individuals need to turn back to God. If we do not, we may face some harsh consequences. But there is a good side to this story. God is patient and He still seeks us. Stay tuned.