Hosea 4



Hosea 4:1-2 


Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: “There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.  There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.


Observation-What does it say? 


The book of hosea paints a detailed and graphic picture of Israel’s and our relationship with God.  The first three chapters outline the life of Hosea’s family and his calling to love a woman who acts outside of God’s law.  This is the perspective from which we are to understand chapters 4-14, which present God’s case against Israel and how they have walked away from His law.  In addition to walking away from God’s word, Israel became involved with the Canaanite religion and their worship of idols.  The words Hosea uses to describe Israel’s behavior goes from bad to worse.  The faith of God’s people often waxes and wanes over time.  But, to act so blatantly outside of God’s law, through lying, stealing and killing, shows how far from His will they have gone. 


Understanding-What does it mean? 


Baseball is a lazy man’s sport, according to my father-in-law and I have a tendency to agree.  There is a lot of standing around, a few short bursts of energy, and then some more standing around.  While it definitely takes skill and some practice, what a player does in the offseason is not as critical as other sports, like swimming, cycling and running (though some people call these activities, they are in fact sports, unlike golf, which is a game (but, I digress)).  I spent a long time involved in long distance running, both as an athlete and as an assistant coach.   In distance running, you can always tell the difference between athletes who used their time in the offseason to prepare for the upcoming season of racing and those who saw the lack of structure as a time to venture into other things.  


I remember one year when a new kid transferred into our school from a high school in Taft, we’ll call him Matt.  He had a lot of talent and was a great asset to our cross-country team, which was having trouble recruiting.  During the school year and with the structure provided by the races and training schedule, Matt showed a lot of promise for the track season.  But, when the cross-country racing ended, so did the structure.  Matt became interested in the other extracurricular activities that many high school kids enjoyed, which were not involved with long distance running.  He began smoking and drinking a lot of alcohol, both of which seemed counter productive to a long distance running lifestyle.  Needless to say, he struggled during the track season, got injured, and ultimately stopped running altogether.


Our relationship with God can be like this.  We have seasons where we can easily engage in what the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives and seasons where the Holy Spirit is a little more quiet.  If we take the seasons of quiet as an opportunity to “explore” other religions or ways of life, like the Israelites did, then we risk becoming out of shape for the seasons when God is speaking to us.  We also risk, as Israel did, becoming subject to God’s anger.  To the Ephesians, Paul wrote, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (4:30).  We grieve the Holy Spirit when we walk away from the commandments of God, much like an athlete grieves his coach by smoking in the offseason.  Part of the process of steering clear from following the religions of the world involves us holding each other accountable and encouraging one another.  The author of Hebrews encouraged us by writing, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (10:23-25).

Life Application  

Today, it has become increasingly easy to dive into the “religions” and belief systems of this present world.  These beliefs even creep their way into the doors of the church, dividing the unity based on the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Holy Spirit, help my message to be of Christ and Him crucified.  Help me to neither add nor take away from your perfect message of hope.  Help me to trust not in the markets and seasons of this world, but in your perfect timing and perfect grace.  May my words be seasoned with the grace only you can provide.    
-Tyler Galloway