Scripture – What stood out?

Hosea 8:11

“Though Ephraim built many altars for sin offerings,

    these have become altars for sinning.


Observation – What does it say?

Hosea chapter eight continues to deliver God’s message to the nation of Israel. The message contains elements of what God has in store for Israel’s future as well as the current spiritual condition of Israel. As an example of what is going on within the nation God singles out one of Israel’s tribes, Ephraim.


Understanding – What does it mean?

When I read verse 11 of this chapter I was able to envision the opening day for these altars. They were intended for so much good. And I believe there must have been this great sense of not only celebration but also of relief – because this was how they were going to get into a right relationship with the Lord.


Upon asking an acquaintance why he chose not to believe in Jesus, my aunt’s newfound friend explained, “I just don’t trust the people in church.” With the recent spotlight on several mega church pastors and their indiscretions, it is not difficult to see why a person may think this way. 


And much like the tribe of Ephraim, I am sure, that it all started off right for these pastors. The altars they built were being used for what they were intended for. Until somewhere along the way they were used for the exact opposite intention. Where did Ephraim go wrong? Where and when did these pastors, who had labored so long for God allow evil and sin to enter their souls. (Assuming the allegations are true.) With so much at stake, I am reminded of an old belief I have held onto since my 20’s – that the human spirit is so fragile.


And yet we build upon it so heavily. Relationships, businesses, communities, countries, are all built on something that consistently falters, people. 


Life Application How can I apply this to my life today?


If I had the opportunity to talk to my aunt’s acquaintance I would have asked that he put his trust not in people but in Jesus. And while I am sad to see pastors fall, whether they are mega or not, I am still hope filled that the mission I chose to carry out is worth the labor and worth the risk. While God uses us flawed people to carry out his mission, Our responsibility still remains the same – to spread the gospel of Jesus and make disciples of all nations.


Lord I put my trust, my faith, and my hope in you today. Help me to remain on mission. Whatever you help me to build in Your Name help me to be faithful in using it for the purpose and plan you intended it to be. Always. In the name of Jesus do I pray, amen.


-kenneth lee