(15 verses, 3:00 to read)
What I am about to READ
Through the words of the prophet, God describes the lawlessness and idolatry of Israel and calls them back to repentance and faith.
MARK and LEARN
God had delayed executing his justice upon Israel for a time, waiting for their repentance with long-suffering and steadfast love. The people of Israel were experiencing a time of national security in which they neither knew hunger or war, and during times like this it was easy for them to think that God was pleased with them and that he would look the other way for their Baal worship and going after other gods. Their security, as Hosea says in these opening sentences was in their prosperity, which in turn increased their lawlessness toward God and his commandments. As Dr. Luther writes in his Large Catechism is his explanation of the First Commandment:
“Many a one thinks that he has God and everything in abundance when he has money and, possessions; he trusts in them and boasts of them with such firmness and assurance as to care for no one. Lo, such a man also has a god, Mammon by name, i.e., money and possessions, on which he sets all his heart, and which is also the most common idol on earth. 7] He who has money and possessions feels secure, and is joyful and undismayed as though he were sitting in the midst of Paradise. 8] On the other hand, he who has none doubts and is despondent, as though he knew of no God. 9] For very few are to be found who are of good cheer, and who neither mourn nor complain if they have not Mammon. This [care and desire for money] sticks and clings to our nature, even to the grave.”
The heart of the lawlessness in the land that Hosea describes is lack of faith and trust in God. The fear and worship of the Lord God is indeed the first commandment to his people. This is why, as Dr. Luther says, everything depends on faith. If you have not faith, then you will not consider your life rightly toward God or the relationship of yourself to others. So that even a nation without faith will fall quickly into licentiousness and civic discord.
Yet God calls his people to repentance. The last parts of this chapter is the call from God for his people to return to him and trust not in the their military might or their fortresses, but in the Lord God who will “rain righteousness upon you”. Righteousness can only be received by faith in the Lord’s promises.
Lord God, release me from my reliance on other things that draw me away from you and destroy my faith and trust in you. For the sake of Jesus forgive me my sins and bring me closer to your love through Him. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.