Hosea 4

IMG_1758God’s love for His people is overwhelming right?  He warns us that we serve a jealous God, so when our love turns from Him to other idols of course He is going to get upset.  But then the way He chases after the Israelites unrelentingly is amazing.  He is chasing after us with that same love.  Although we may not worship wooden idols and the god of Baal, we struggle with worshiping money, our jobs, name brand things, a baby…

God begins with judging the sins of the people claiming that there is no truth, mercy, or knowledge of God.  Instead the world is full of lying, stealing, adultery, murder, and human sacrifice.  This judgement was going to affect all living things in the world.

Could this be why as the world becomes more and more broken and wars are everywhere and there seems to be more hate than ever, that the hurricanes are more deadly, earthquakes more severe, and things like rainfall that should be full of life are now causing horrific landslides?  Just a thought.

“Because of this, the land mourns.” (v3)  His judgement affects the whole world.

“The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The LORD has spoken this word.” (Isaiah 24:3)

Hosea warns even the priests that they were not doing their job of teaching the law to the people and God will bring judgement on them as well.

If God has given you the gift of evangelizing, it is your duty to speak The Word to others.  We all don’t get the grand platform as a speaking engagement in a stadium of 20,000 people.  It could be something as simple as talking with someone over the dinner table.  Obviously, I am not a priest but God has put on my heart the love of The Holy Scripture and a way to give it to others: through this little blog, my work, and volunteering.

How is God using you to teach the Gospel? (doesn’t have to be with words.)

“My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge.  Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.” (v6)  This is one of the best known and more frequently quoted passages in Hosea.  The law was Israel’s source of life.  The priests were not promoting it and the people were not living it.  “And it will be: Like people, like priests.  I will punish both of them for their ways and repay them for their deeds.” (v9)  It doesn’t matter who you are, if you don’t worship God and give all your glory to Him, it doesn’t matter if you are a priest, a pastor, a teacher, or a mother: God will seek punishment.

Hosea goes into the ways that the Israelites are prostituting themselves and being unfaithful to God.  “They sacrifice on the mountains and burn offerings on the hills under oak, poplar, and terebinth, where the shade is pleasant.  Therefore your daughters turn to prostitution and your daughters-in-law to adultery.” (v13)  Mountain tops were commonly the places chosen for pagan altars.  The fertility rites performed over young girls involved sexual activity and led to the erosion of sexual morality.

“Do not go up to Gilgal; do not go up to Beth Aven.  And do not swear. ‘As surely as the Lord lives.’” (v15)  The Lord tells the people not to go to the sanctuary and the religious shrine and do this all in His name.

This next verse is probably my favorite in the chapter:

“The Israelites are stubborn, like a stubborn heifer.  How then can the Lord pasture them like lambs in a meadow?” (v16)

To get insight into this piece of scripture, I consulted an expert in this type of thing: my sister.  We grew up on a little farm and I call her for all my barnyard animal questions.

Our facebook message conversation went like this:

Me: I am working on my next study, and there is a passage that I think you can bring some light to. (Insert above passage)  Describe a stubborn heifer.  What does it look like to pasture a lamb?
Mandi: Lambs are docile, content in their fields. Heifers push fences and cause trouble. Lots of times young cows just want to fight you every chance they get. (I compare them to teenagers oftentimes) Lambs are also easier to move.  To pasture a lamb would be the shepherd taking the whole flock out to green pastures. Imagine lots of fluffy white babies all laying in fresh green grass
Me: You can just pick up a lamb and put it where it needs to be.  A heifer is a big ole thing and if it doesn’t want to move, it isn’t going to no matter how hard you push them.
Mandi: Pretty much.

So, I think that basically sums up how the Israelites are acting towards God.  All He wants to do is love them and keep them safe, but with the stubbornness of a heifer, they fight Him every step of the way.

Are you acting like a stubborn heifer with God?
Or are you docile like a lamb, easy for God to lead one way or another?


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