Week 6, Monday: Know God? No God.
The people of Israel protested Hosea’s message of judgment, insisting that they “know” God. But Hosea declared that the god they “know” is no god at all. They have rejected the true God and His covenant and Law, and now they must bear the consequences of their self-made religion.
Read Hosea 8
Meditate on Hosea 8.1-6
1. Israel’s major problem is outlined in verses 4-6. What began with Jeroboam I as a matter of political expediency had become a way of life, with the people devoting themselves to all manner of pagan “no-gods” (v. 6). These pagan idols, made of silver and gold, were not the deities themselves, but symbols of them – icons representing some aspect of the good life they sought, whether abundant crops, fertile wombs, plenteous rain, protection from enemies, and so forth. How do non-Christians today envision the good life? What icons and symbols do they embrace as representing this? What forms does devotion to those icons take?
2. At the same time, the people insisted to Hosea that they “know God.” What do they seem to have meant by this? Is mere formality a problem in churches today? Explain. Can we truly know the Lord and be devoted to no-gods at the same time?
3. Transgressing God’s covenant is equated with rebelling against His Law (v. 1) and rejecting everything that is truly good (v. 3; cf. Matt. 5.17-19; Jms. 2.8-13). Is this still true today? Explain.
4. Politicians urged idols on Israel, then the idols (representing the good life) they embraced led them to appoint their politicians (v. 4). Does this have a familiar ring to it?
5. All this devotion to idols caused Israel to veer from God’s holy and righteous and good Law (Rom. 7.12). How did God respond to this course of action (vv. 1, 5, 6)? Does God still do this today (Heb. 12.3-11)?
Israel was making-up life as it went along, accumulating idols to ensure this, that, or some other aspect of the good life for themselves. In the process, while they held on to some awareness of God, and perhaps even some forms of devotion, they gave themselves to those which were no-gods, and came under the judgment of the Lord. Let the people of God today beware.
Will the LORD cast off forever?
And will He be favorable no more?
Has His mercy ceased forever?
Has His promise failed forevermore?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah
And I said, “This is my anguish;
But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
I will remember the works of the LORD;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
I will also meditate on all Your work,
And talk of Your deeds.
Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary;
Who is so great a God as our God?
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.