Read Hosea 7
7 1 whenever I would heal Israel,
the sins of Ephraim are exposed
and the crimes of Samaria revealed.
They practice deceit,
thieves break into houses,
bandits rob in the streets;
2 but they do not realize
that I remember all their evil deeds.
Their sins engulf them;
they are always before me.
3 “They delight the king with their wickedness,
the princes with their lies.
4 They are all adulterers,
burning like an oven
whose fire the baker need not stir
from the kneading of the dough till it rises.
5 On the day of the festival of our king
the princes become inflamed with wine,
and he joins hands with the mockers.
6 Their hearts are like an oven;
they approach him with intrigue.
Their passion smolders all night;
in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.
7 All of them are hot as an oven;
they devour their rulers.
All their kings fall,
and none of them calls on me.
8 “Ephraim mixes with the nations;
Ephraim is a flat loaf not turned over.
9 Foreigners sap his strength,
but he does not realize it.
His hair is sprinkled with gray,
but he does not notice.
10 Israel’s arrogance testifies against him,
but despite all this
he does not return to the Lord his God
or search for him.
11 “Ephraim is like a dove,
easily deceived and senseless—
now calling to Egypt,
now turning to Assyria.
12 When they go, I will throw my net over them;
I will pull them down like the birds in the sky.
When I hear them flocking together,
I will catch them.
13 Woe to them,
because they have strayed from me!
Destruction to them,
because they have rebelled against me!
I long to redeem them
but they speak about me falsely.
14 They do not cry out to me from their hearts
but wail on their beds.
They slash themselves, appealing to their gods
for grain and new wine,
but they turn away from me.
15 I trained them and strengthened their arms,
but they plot evil against me.
16 They do not turn to the Most High;
they are like a faulty bow.
Their leaders will fall by the sword
because of their insolent words.
For this they will be ridiculed
in the land of Egypt.
God’s desire all along was to redeem Israel. But as we see in this chapter, the nation was not willing to give up their sin. Not only were they not repentant of their sin, but they were so deep in their sin that they were not aware of it. Hosea gives us several images to illustrate this in verse 8: a cake that is burnt on one side, but uncooked on the other; strength that has been devoured from an able body; and gray hairs that are overtaking a man’s head. To each of these illustrations, Israel’s response is the same…”he knows it not.”
As humans, we have the amazing ability to deceive ourselves when we are in sin…and this is exactly where the nation of Israel finds itself. Israel realizes that they have a problem: God’s blessing has been removed from them, and they are experiencing extreme hardship as a result. What they do not acknowledge is the role of their own sin and disobedience in getting them to this point. God desired to heal Israel from their sin and its effects, but not as long as they behaved as their sin didn’t exist.
We are no different from Israel. In much the same way, our own pride tells us to hide our sin. It often feels safer to hide sin than to experience the pain of remorse. 1 John 1:8-9 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confession and repentance lead to healing and safety.
Hosea warns Israel about leaving the safety of God and looking to the world for answers. He closes in verse 16 by describing them as a “treacherous bow.” They are a useless and dangerous weapon that is completely missing the mark. God desires to redeem us. May we courageously and consistently confess the sins in our lives so that we can live in that freedom.
- Do you have any lingering sins that you have not brought to God?
- What will be the consequences of sin if you remain in it?
- James 4:6 says that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble”. How would you categorize your posture toward sin in your own life?
Want to gain a better understanding of what it means to “miss the mark”? Read this article from GotQuestions.org titled, “What is a Sinner”?
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