Week 5, Saturday: The Lord withdrawn
Israel (Ephraim) had compromised with pagan nations, making themselves corrupt before the Lord. How do such compromises happen? Could they happen to us?
Read Hosea 7
Meditate on Hosea 7.8-12
1. Note the repetition of “did not know.” How is it possible for one to become corrupt before God, the object of His wrath, and not be aware of this?
2. More images suggesting Israel’s desperate condition are used here. What does each of the following suggest:
- “cake unturned”:
- “gray hairs”:
- “silly dove”:
3. Every time the nation of Israel had a problem, the leaders would turn to some surrounding nation for help or protection, while the priests would redouble efforts to placate pagan deities. According to verse 10, what should the people have done, and what would that have involved?
4. Pride was apparently a factor in Israel’s demise (v. 10). How does pride keep someone from seeking the Lord?
5. Look at the last phrase in verse 12: “According to what their congregation has heard” (NKJV). To what does this refer? What lesson is there in this for those entrusted with the ministry of God’s Word today?
Jesus said that no one can serve two masters – much less, dozens of masters, as Israel was attempting to do. Sooner or later our sins will catch up to us, and all the compromises we make with the unbelieving world around us will devour our strength (v. 9). How can we know – as Israel apparently did not – when we are becoming compromised in our walk with the Lord?
But He made His own people go forth like sheep,
And guided them in the wilderness like a flock;
And He led them on safely, so that they did not fear;
But the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
And He brought them to His holy border,
This mountain which His right hand had acquired.
He also drove out the nations before them,
Allotted them an inheritance by survey,
And made the tribes of Israel dwell in their tents.
Yet they tested and provoked the Most High God,
And did not keep His testimonies,
But turned back and acted unfaithfully like their fathers;
They were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
For they provoked Him to anger with their high places,
And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images.
When God heard this, He was furious,
And greatly abhorred Israel,
So that He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh,
The tent He had placed among men,
And delivered His strength into captivity,
And His glory into the enemy’s hand.
T. M. Moore
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A primary theme of the book of Hosea is Israel’s failure to keep covenant with the Lord. God’s covenant is a central theme and provides the organizing motif for all of Scripture. Learn more about God’s covenant by ordering a copy of T. M.’s book, I Will Be Your God, from our online store (click here).
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.