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Hosea 4:16, 1214comment (0)

December 6, 2012

By Robert Olsen

Related Scripture: Hosea 4:16, 1214

Explore the Bible 
Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile

Rebuking Destructive Behavior

Hosea 4:1–6, 12–14

Spiritual Decay (1)
This section of Hosea focuses on Israel as a nation. Just as Hosea’s wife was unfaithful, so too was Israel unfaithful to God. God used Hosea’s wife as an image of the spiritually adulterous behavior of the Israelites. 

The judgment is for the entire nation of Israel — all those who inhabit the land. Interestingly, the same land that the Israelites lived in had been inhabited by the Canaanites, a race that did not acknowledge God either. God had judged the Canaanites, and now He was judging the Israelites for the same behavior. The Israelites did not acknowledge God. This does not mean that they did not know who God was or even what He expected from them. Rather it indicates that the Israelites lived in a way that did not match God’s expectations. Even today many people claim to know God and love God, but their actions suggest otherwise. A true indicator of a Christian is that they love God not only in word, but also in deed and attitude.

Lawless Society (2–3)
God points out the sins that the Israelites have committed, bringing judgment upon themselves. The list includes murder, stealing and adultery. These are violations of the Ten Commandments. Because of these sins the land itself is languishing. Sometimes God brings judgment upon nations by bringing natural disasters such as drought and famine. However, just because God brings judgment in this fashion at times does not mean that every natural disaster is necessarily God bringing judgment for a certain reason. Christians need to be careful about claiming that disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes are God judging a certain nation or city. In Israel’s case, their actions had brought condemnation from God and this extended to the land as well. 

Failed Leadership (4–6)
In particular, God is bringing His case against the priests in the land. As those who are charged with teaching the people God’s Word and acting accordingly, they are held accountable for the bad actions of the Israelites. Handling God’s Word is a very important task. Our Christian leaders and pastors need to be sure to preach God’s Word in its entirety so that the people know what God says and what He expects. For example, in many churches across the land cultural elements have crept in to replace biblical truth. Many churches have asserted that homosexuality is acceptable to God and that all religious faiths lead to God. Furthermore, in many churches gossip and grudges reign and are not confronted. We need to be praying for our church leaders because of the great responsibility they have. 

Sick Religion (12–14)
The Israelites were guilty of following idols and false gods, which led to sinful behavior. Worship of Baal required temple prostitution, and these behaviors crept into worship of Yahweh. Because of this, the Israelite children did the same things. They were only following the example set by their parents. 

For Christian parents today, this is a dire warning. Our children will learn about God from us, and they will see where our faith lies. For the Israelites, their faith was in foreign gods. If we put our faith in the government or in the stock market for our security, what does this say about our faith in God? Can we expect our children or even non-Christians to take our faith seriously when we put our hope in things seen rather than in God and His promises? This is not to suggest that the government or businesses are not important, but Christians are to place their hope and security — both financial and eternal — in God. Many Christians live in a way where God is only acknowledged in church on Sundays. What does this teach our children about God if He is supposedly supreme but only takes part in our lives one day a week? Christians need to realize that God is God of everything, not just certain aspects of our lives.

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