In chapter 4 of Hosea the Lord is stating His case against Israel. The priest were failing to bring the peoples hearts back to God, but they were getting fat from their sacrifices to Him. Ritual prostitution almost replaced the proper worship of our God. The people completely lost their way and broke the laws God commanded them to obey. To put it in simple terms the Israelites were morally wrong in just about everything. In the last chapter, the people were pointing the finger to Hosea’s wife who was an adulterous even though they themselves were prostituting themselves in another way. For today’s devotional/lesson I will be peeling back the layers of the scripture to clearly present the message at hand.
1 “Hear this message from the LORD, people of Israel. Indeed, the LORD brings a charge against the people who live in the land— for there is no truth and no gracious love or knowledge of God in the land. 2 Swearing, lying, murder, theft, and adultery are rampant, and blood mingles with blood. 3 Therefore the land will mourn, and all who live there will languish, along with the wild animals of the field and the birds of the air. Even the fish in the sea will disappear.
During Hosea 4:1-3, the Lord was explaining the reasons for their suffering. You see because of their “behavior,” they were cursed with more suffering and violence. More laws were broken against each other and the land had no more peace. The people brought the suffering unto themselves. For the Israelites, there was a direct correlation to cause and effect in their lives for their past and current actions. Sometimes when things go wrong in our lives, we should think it could be a effect of a past action or sin not repented for. During these times we do not let God work for us because we stay unrepented. This is why it is very important to repent for past sins and even if one pops in your head, stop what you are doing and seek forgiveness. This is not only what is commanded of us, but it will humble us. Until you humble yourself fully to the Lord, you can not truly allow Him to work in our life.
4 “Let no one fight or bring charges against another, for my dispute is with you, priest.
The Lord is speaking about not taking responsibility for your actions. Even though this verse is directed to the priest, it can be generally directed to everyday life. Many times it is easier to point your finger at someone else for your wrong doing to dodge some sort of punishment. This is very deceitful and you make get away with it for a short time, but remember we have one final judge and you will be held accountable not only for your actions, but your lies as well. The priest were doing this very thing and Hosea had to bring it to light. Since the priest were not leading the people to God, but idol worship, they were directly to blame for Israel’s current situation.
5 So you will stumble during the day, the prophet also will stumble with you at night, and I will destroy your mother. 6 My people are destroyed because they lack knowledge of me. Because you rejected that knowledge, I will reject you as a priest for me. Since you forget the Law of your God, I will also forget your children. 7 “The more they increased in number, the more they sinned against me, so I will change their glory into shame.
God accused the priest of keeping His people away from Him. The spiritual leaders were teaching the people the wrong way to worship God. They were all being “false prophets.” The people were being led astray because of their lack of knowledge and were doing what their leaders were doing. They thought it must be ok since they are doing the same thing. To me history repeats itself very often especially when it comes to this irrational thinking, it does more so than I like to admit.
The reason why I wanted to share this study with everyone today is because we as Christians need to do the right thing when it comes to learning and teaching God’s word. I have seen too many times when religious leaders or people in authority misconstrued the scriptures to win an argument or to prove some sort of point. As “spiritual leaders,” we must always do the right thing when it comes to scripture and God. If not, we ourselves become “false prophets” and are no different than the priest in Hosea. This message is not only directed to priest, pastors, ministers and lay leaders, but to everyone. Even if you are just leading a bible study at home with your family, you are leading people and should be feeding them God’s word correctly. So I am calling all Christians reading this today to hold each other accountable. By doing this, we will not only better our community, but make our Heavenly Father pleased.
I pray that everyone has a blessed day today!