God’s Judgement

Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel, for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens, and even the fish of the sea are taken away. Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse, for with you is my contention, O priest. You shall stumble by day; the prophet also shall stumble with you by night; and I will destroy your mother. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; I will change their glory into shame. They feed on the sin of my people; they are greedy for their iniquity. And it shall be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their ways and repay them for their deeds. They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but not multiply, because they have forsaken the LORD to cherish whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding. My people inquire of a piece of wood, and their walking staff gives them oracles. For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have left their God to play the whore. They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains and burn offerings on the hills, under oak, poplar, and terebinth, because their shade is good. Therefore your daughters play the whore, and your brides commit adultery. I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore, nor your brides when they commit adultery; for the men themselves go aside with prostitutes and sacrifice with cult prostitutes, and a people without understanding shall come to ruin. Though you play the whore, O Israel, let not Judah become guilty. Enter not into Gilgal, nor go up to Beth-aven, and swear not, “As the LORD lives.” Like a stubborn heifer, Israel is stubborn; can the LORD now feed them like a lamb in a broad pasture? Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone. When their drink is gone, they give themselves to whoring; their rulers dearly love shame. A wind has wrapped them in its wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.
Hosea 4:1–19
God’s Judgement
            This chapter is a difficult one to hear. It reminds us of our own unfaithfulness to God. It also reminds us of the fallen state of the world, one in which even those who are supposed to lead us can oftentimes fail in their calling. We see God’s judgment against Israel in these verses focus on the priests and their failure to lead their people. They permitted and even encouraged the people to engage in gross idolatry. Yet this is not something relegated to the distant past, today we see similar failures in leadership, not only among the clergy and secular leaders but also among parents. Those who are tasked with raising their children in the fear of the Lord, fail miserably to even raise their children in even knowledge of the Lord, let alone to trust and believe in Him. It is a great comfort it is, then, to know that the Church ultimately depends on Christ, the true Good Shepherd. He never falters or fails in His love and care for us. He took God’s judgment for our sins so that we could have a relationship with our Father. Jesus promises that He will never lose any of the sheep the Father has given Him but will keep them and raise them up on the Last Day. And for this, we thank and praise, serve and obey.
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