Idolatry

Day 13 » Hosea 13-14

This blog was written by James Kim. James is an Intern at Georgetown Chi Alpha.

This blog was written by James Kim. James is an Intern at Georgetown Chi Alpha.

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.

Day 11 » Hosea 7-9

This blog post was written by Karen Keyser. Karen is the Director of Chi Alpha International at Georgetown University.

This blog post was written by Karen Keyser. Karen is the Director of Chi Alpha International at Georgetown University.

Today's Reading » Hosea 7-9

Hosea continues his prophecy to Northern Israel in Chapters 7-9.  Though Israel had been in an intimate relationship with God, like a marriage, now disloyalty to God was spiritual adultery. (9:1)  Israel had turned away from God and turned to Baal worship, as well as sacrificing at the pagan high places. They were mingling with godless foreigners and flitting around worshiping foreign gods with arrogance (7:8–11) and materialism (8:14).   God’s judgment was inevitable.

This section continues to outline God’s case against Israel (ch.7-8) and then pronounces judgment (ch. 8-9).  Listen to the heart-breaking cry of God’s heart in holy jealousy:

7:13-16
I wanted to redeem them,
but they have told lies about me.
They do not cry out to me with sincere hearts.
Instead, they sit on their couches and wail.
They cut themselves, begging foreign gods for grain and new wine,
and they turn away from me.
I trained them and made them strong,
yet now they plot evil against me.
They look everywhere except to the Most High.

9:1
For you have been unfaithful to your God,
hiring yourselves out like prostitutes,
worshiping other gods on every threshing floor.

God’s judgment is inevitable and rightly severe:  God says that Israel’s harvests will be inadequate. They won’t be able to stay in the land, but must return to Egypt where they will be conquered.  Their sacrifices will not be accepted. Nettles and thistles will take over their ruined homes. They will be childless—or their children will be taken away & slaughtered. They will wander about homeless among the nations.  The worst part of the judgment, it seems, is that God will reject them and leave them alone.

As you read, put yourself in Hosea’s shoes…how would he have felt?  Then think about how the Israelite hearers must have felt.  Finally, consider how God would have felt. 

Personally, I can sometimes relate to Israel’s shameful practice listed in 7:16 in my own life: “They look everywhere except to the Most High.”  Not good.  How do I turn that around?  It’s something to prayerfully consider.