Are surrounded by people from all walks of life who are bent on defining relationships according to their own rules. Not just what is or isn’t acceptable, includes how Entity A relates to Entity B. Applies to all institutions ordained by God – family, church, state. Consider some examples:
someone breaks civil law – is government’s proper relationship as Department of Justice or Department of Corrections?
question not simply who is fit for leadership in local church – does pastor get to declare or should he/she share their thoughts / feelings?
and then the home: marriage is optional, is a 50/50 partnership in all things except separate checkbooks, $0.50 in the “cuss jar” if you use headship or submission – right?
Not in my Bible! God not only defines what relationships are acceptable, which are unacceptable; he sufficiently defines roles of parties in a relationship. Any, regardless of spiritual condition, who try to live contrary to God’s standard or who try to redefine the standard do so at their peril. Sovereign Lord of all things does not allow such things to go unnoticed.
At every portage on the Presumpscot bright yellow WARNING signs declare: “LARGE RIVER FLOW CHANGES MAY OCCUR RAPIDLY. FLOW CHANGES IN THE RIVER WILL BE PRECEEDED BY THREE BLASTS OF A HORN FOR YOUR SAFTEY. PLEASE RELOCATE TO THE RIVRBANK AT THAT TIME.”
In similar way, God graciously warns children – relationship is broken. Five blasts of trumpet before serious consequences aka judgment comes to you. An abrupt opening to the chapter: “to your gums a shofar”. Sense of urgency, first bird of prey (vulture) already circling over the temple. Just as significant change in river quickly follows blasts on horn, same will be true for God’s people. Must heed warning or bear the consequences.
Must remember God works through means, did in Hosea’s day, will continue to do so until Jesus comes back. God working through Hosea to warn people of imminent danger. Pattern used here: get their attention, declare God’s truth. Shofar / trumpet not a quiet instrument – not quite on-off but close. Large ram’s horn can be over 4 feet long, not a good for indoor use!
Ex. 19:16 “Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.”
Sound of trumpet not to be ignored, often used as summons to gather people together that could not be ignored… either for important communication or assembling for battle. Here intended to get everyone’s attention, make them realize what comes next is of utmost importance. Are in effect five blasts – one for each of charges / warnings brought against people by God through prophet Hosea. Is good to understand warnings, recognize how they can apply to our present circumstances. Also need to be up to speed on what our part in all of this is.
A. transgression v.1-2
broken the covenant – going back to Garden, fall into sin had its root in simple act of eating fruit God had forbidden
part of entire cascade of sin, one leading to another and another – disobedience accompanied by disloyalty, pride against God and man
really came about as result (for both first parents and Israel) of replacing “God on throne” with self – self making rules, self being priority, self knowing what is best
leads to distorted view of God and his laws – when loyalty is to self, external authority is seen as mean-spirited and oppressive
meanwhile, still claiming to be God’s people – thinking they can acknowledge God on their terms, God obligated to recognize them
probably were still doing things that would identify them as devotees of Yahweh – the culturally significant rituals, church on the big days, important feasts, etc.
and… they did same for other deities on god-shelf – Yahweh not even first among other gods, was only one of many
were no longer loyal to covenant or God of covenant – all they wanted was to pay in to risk pool, make withdrawals when needed or desired; didn’t care about personal relationship with God any more
God’s response – “Next thing…”; are too quick to ask people “do you believe in God”, “do you believe in Jesus” – should be asking “does God know you… and how do you know that”
B. rebellion v.3-4a
discarded moral standard – rebelling against law never stays that simple: has tentacles that reach into all areas of life
once God’s law is rejected, ultimately leads to hyper-individualism, no regard for any external standard of right and wrong
don’t believe me? read book of Judges, note the conclusion: Judg. 21:25 “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
here’s one of those tentacles
“The husband is NOT the leader or “head” of the family. This mindset is misogynistic and completely outdated. Their decisions both have equal value because they’re both equals as individuals. One shouldn’t be given the “final say” simply based on their gender, as this is both discriminatory and unbalanced. If one person is more comfortable making decisions and being the vocal instrument in a relationship due to personality traits it’s one thing, but to be a leader based on faulty gender roles that have been proven flawed over the years is another.”
another one – why is present political landscape like it is? because at least one candidate is doing / saying what all supporters would… if they only had the guts, or opportunity
notice where God begins – underlying principle, not specific behaviors; problem in Judges not what people did, was what they rejected to get there
problem with quote not choices about gender roles but rejection of inspiration / authority of God’s word
means we should identify/address principles in discussion, going back to root cause, instead of addressing only symptoms
C. idolatry v.4b-6
rejected acceptable worship – redefined not only relationships, right/wrong, redefined religion into worship of god who would serve them
in Hosea’s day, idols likely to be tangible things of wood and metal crafted for particular purpose; now idols disguised more cleverly
when people did not get what they wanted from true God, manufactured one they claimed would satisfy their desires
is twisted reasoning but setting up idol to worship is actually setting up self in place of true God – one worshiping idol believes they know better than true God which god is best to worship
worship of idol is never acknowledgment of false god’s supposed worth; is attempt to manipulate deity into meeting felt needs
similar pattern exists today – worship at altar of personal rights, choice, sports, appearance, things; expect to receive pleasure, validation, sense of worth or achievement in return
professed atheism is idolatry taken to limit: individual claims to have all resources necessary to determine truth, morals, values – iow absolute ruler over kingdom of one, more if they can impose views on others
D. alliances v.7-10
focus here on political entanglements but extends to all areas of life – attempted alliances with Egypt and Assyria to protect against Judah
had long track record – God had never failed to supply what was needed… so long as people remained faithful to covenant
had broken covenant (v.1), now consequences for disobedience starting to kick in – trying to keep God off their back, line up other sources of help before foreclosure and eviction
two-fold problem: lack of trust / loyalty / obedience to God and inviting trouble by close association with people committed to unbiblical worldview
is problem no matter where it occurs in a society – eventually will have effect on all spheres of life whether public or private
agreements between governments or between governments and alliances like UN, NATO can require compromise of constitutional principles and maybe biblical ones, too
alliances between religious entites with conflicting worldviews is always injurious to Gospel and its furtherance
can be true in workplace, business partnerships – may require difficult choices to preserve biblical integrity
is definite problem in home, alliance between saved/unsaved – ruinous effect on children especially: see Neh. 13, several examples
need godly wisdom / discernment to see worldview issues at root of political/religious/social problems, then apply biblical/Gospel standard
E. altars of sin v.11-14
paying off God so they can pursue own agenda – “built many altars for sin offerings, these have become altars for sinning”
made it simple, convenient to sacrifice for sin, all it was: going through motions without expected change of heart and behavior
no thought for who they were sacrificing to – “Israel has forgotten his Maker”, religious practice degenerated to empty ritual
bottom line – God operates on basis of relationship, not simply ritual; motivation matters, doing religious thing will not avert just consequences
“Whenever a nation forsakes God it insures its ruin. It may, for a time, dwell in luxury, building palaces; and give itself a sense of security, by fortifying its cities; but sooner or later the Divine fire will destroy the cities, and devour the castles. There is no true pleasure, nor any real security, but such as are found in the maintenance of right relationships with God.” G. Campbell Morgan
So what are we to do? Know the truth, practice the truth, stand for the truth, invite people to the truth. Do not be ashamed of the truth, it can defend itself. And in context of personal relationships, invite and encourage friends to check out “the church of the living God, the pillar and ground (foundation) of the truth.” (1 Tim. 3:15)