As I read the end of Hosea’s prophesy and warning to Israel, two themes remain in my mind.
1) God was ever-present and He is everlasting. Like a mother raising a child, God has watched His people grow and fall. He wasn’t a passive guardian either. He was the savior that brought Israel out of Egypt. Just as He stayed with them since, He will continue to be with them.
But, people are quick to forget what has been received and end up living a life that lacks gratitude. Israelites forgot about the God of their ancestors. They also did not realize that the same God looks over them, cares for them, and will go with them. Don’t we do the same? The God who led our parents and pastors to Him is the same God that people praise and worship around the world and is the same God that people testify about when they share how God’s transformed their lives. This God is the One who promises to go with us. This last part is what we don’t say to ourselves often enough.
2) The reasons why we stray from God is dependence on ourselves. After having seen all the good things God provided for His people, the Israelites decided to provide for themselves. I am not against recognizing our strengths and utilizing our resources. But, if they are done not for the glory of God and without remembrance of what God has done and can do in our lives, we become like the Israelites portrayed in Hosea, and throughout much of the book of the Minor Prophets.
Another way to put this is that we lose the sight of God when we don’t trust Him and trust ourselves. The Israelites didn’t go to God’s altar anymore. When they did sacrifice on the altar, they did it with a selfish motive, as seen by their immediate consumption of the sacrificed meat. They built golden calves and other idols and worshipped Baal. How foolish it must appear to God when we worship the things we build ourselves? We build up our resumes, careers, images, groups of “friends”, and social media pages. When they become more important than God, when they grab our attention more than God does, when we block out God for them, we are putting our trust in things of the earth and not things of God. This is called sin.
Hosea’s plea for Israel and for us is to look to God, adopt a heart of gratitude from knowing God’s mercy, and trust Him.