Week 6, Thursday: No glory, no children
Israel sought the favor of pagan no-gods, and surrendered to the horrible practices and wicked ways those false deities prescribed. She forfeited both her glory and her children; therefore, her future is one of hopelessness, misery, and despair.
Read Hosea 9
Meditate on Hosea 9.10-17
1. Meditate on verse 10, especially the last clause: “They became an abomination like the thing they loved.” How could God tell what they loved? How can we tell today what people love?
2. Why is it inevitable that we become like that which we love? Israel loved the ways of pagan no-gods rather than the ways of God, marked out in His Law. By rejecting the Law and embracing idols, they showed the devotion of their hearts. Can we neglect the Law of God today and expect to love Him as He commands (Matthew 22.34-40)? What does someone look like who is not neglecting the Law of God (cf. Ps. 1; Ps. 119.9-11, 112)?
3. Israel had “sown” here children to the pagan no-god, Molech, by offering children as sacrifices on Molech’s altar. They did this to earn the favor of this heinous no-god – an act of convenience which, at the expense of temporary pain – the sacrifice of a child – was supposed to bring wellbeing on the nation. We don’t sacrifice children to Molech these days. But in what ways do people “sacrifice” their children on the “altars” of paganism, so that they are “swallowed” by pagan culture and ways? Why do they do this? What do they expect to gain from this?
4. When God “found” Israel (v. 10) she was a people fraught with the promise of plenty. What causes the glory of God to “fly away” (v. 11) from someone, or from a church?
5. Israel sacrificed her children, so God would give them children no more (vv. 11-14). They forfeited fruitfulness in the Lord, so He would make them forever unfruitful (vv. 15, 16). The “went away to Baal Peor” (v. 10), so God will “cast them away” forever. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind. Love wickedness, suffer its consequences. How might Hosea preach this message to churches today? What applications of these ideas would he call us to make?
The heart is the heart of the matter in the life of faith: We become what we love (Prov. 4.23). Israel had let her heart go out to paganism, rather than to God, Who had redeemed and brought her to Himself. Desire for pagan no-gods led to love of pagan ways, even at the sacrifice of moral decency and innocent children. You cannot glorify God and follow pagan ways, no matter how hard you try. God Himself will not permit it.
You have brought a vine out of Egypt;
You have cast out the nations, and planted it.
You prepared room for it,
And caused it to take deep root,
And it filled the land.
The hills were covered with its shadow,
And the mighty cedars with its boughs.
She sent out her boughs to the Sea,
And her branches to the River.
Why have You broken down her hedges,
So that all who pass by the way pluck her fruit?
The boar out of the woods uproots it,
And the wild beast of the field devours it.
Return, we beseech You, O God of hosts;
Look down from heaven and see,
And visit this vine
And the vineyard which Your right hand has planted,
And the branch that You made strong for Yourself.
It is burned with fire, it is cut down;
They perish at the rebuke of Your countenance.
Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand,
Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself.
Then we will not turn back from You;
Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.
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.