Read Hosea 8
Israel to Reap the Whirlwind
8 “Put the trumpet to your lips!
An eagle is over the house of the Lord
because the people have broken my covenant
and rebelled against my law.
2 Israel cries out to me,
‘Our God, we acknowledge you!’
3 But Israel has rejected what is good;
an enemy will pursue him.
4 They set up kings without my consent;
they choose princes without my approval.
With their silver and gold
they make idols for themselves
to their own destruction.
5 Samaria, throw out your calf-idol!
My anger burns against them.
How long will they be incapable of purity?
6 They are from Israel!
This calf—a metalworker has made it;
it is not God.
It will be broken in pieces,
that calf of Samaria.
7 “They sow the wind
and reap the whirlwind.
The stalk has no head;
it will produce no flour.
Were it to yield grain,
foreigners would swallow it up.
8 Israel is swallowed up;
now she is among the nations
like something no one wants.
9 For they have gone up to Assyria
like a wild donkey wandering alone.
Ephraim has sold herself to lovers.
10 Although they have sold themselves among the nations,
I will now gather them together.
They will begin to waste away
under the oppression of the mighty king.
11 “Though Ephraim built many altars for sin offerings,
these have become altars for sinning.
12 I wrote for them the many things of my law,
but they regarded them as something foreign.
13 Though they offer sacrifices as gifts to me,
and though they eat the meat,
the Lord is not pleased with them.
Now he will remember their wickedness
and punish their sins:
They will return to Egypt.
14 Israel has forgotten their Maker
and built palaces;
Judah has fortified many towns.
But I will send fire on their cities
that will consume their fortresses.”
In our study of the book of Hosea, the Hebrew word “Yada,” meaning “acknowledge” has appeared several times. It’s used in the context of Israel acknowledging God. The meaning of “Yada” goes beyond simply knowing about someone. It implies a deep knowledge, one that defines an intimate relationship. Israel claims to “yada” God, but their actions do not match in the slightest. In today’s reading, Hosea continues to lay out how Israel has willfully and continually fallen short.
In chapter 8, Hosea continues to call out Israel’s hypocrisy. Even though they say with their mouths that they “yada” God, their actions don’t follow suit. What Israel does betrays the condition of their hearts. They lack the sincere desire to completely abandon their sins and follow God. While Israel appears to be making strides economically and politically, their spiritual condition is actually deteriorating. Her people are involved in idol worship. She seeks alliances with pagan nations, but they no longer desire her (v.8 she is among the nations like something no one wants).
God takes hypocrisy very seriously and is not pleased with his people. Judgment is near. God is about to chasten Israel with the very things that His people have pursued for their own fulfillment. Soon, everything that God’s chosen people have exalted above their Lord will viciously turn on them (v.9 Ephraim has sold herself..). Their allies and political role models will become their conquerors. Israel will be transformed into a seemingly forsaken land, a people without a home.
Even for all of Israel’s shortcomings and failures, God’s rescuing hand still reaches out. Despite their rebellion, before time began a restoration plan had already been put in motion. Psalms reminds us that the Lord chastens those he loves. Like all of us, Israel is never too far gone. In His infinite grace, God gives His people a wakeup call to bring their focus back to Him. Today, take time to thank God for His grace and love that abounds.
- Do we truly know God, or do our actions reveal that our hearts do not know Him?
- Are the external parts of our life all in order, while our spiritual life is in disarray?
- What does it look like to truly know and desire God?
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