The Grass is Always Greener


Hosea 2:6-8 (NKJV)

“Therefore, behold,

I will hedge up your way with thorns,
And wall her in,
So that she cannot find her paths.
She will chase her lovers,
But not overtake them;
Yes, she will seek them, but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go and return to my first husband,
For then it was better for me than now.’
For she did not know
That I gave her grain, new wine, and oil,
And multiplied her silver and gold—
Which they prepared for Baal.”

Like an unfaithful wife who will chase her lovers, but not overtake them, Israel’s unfaithfulness to the LORD will be frustrated. But what specifically is this referring to?

Israel is being a fair-weather friend. They worship the LORD as long as times are good. But let it not rain for a while and they’ll start hedging their bets by offering gifts to some silly Baal rain god. Let their national security become uncertain and they’ll form unholy alliances.

But these things don’t work; God makes sure of that. He frustrates these wrong-headed moves.

So then Israel will be like the wayward woman who says, “I will go and return to my first husband, for then it was better for me than now.” The grass looked greener on the other side, but it wasn’t.

Then comes the tricky bit. For she did not know that I gave her grain, new wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold—which they prepared for Baal. What’s that all about?

Israel blames the bad times on God, but they take the good times for granted. They don’t realize that all their blessings are from the LORD. So they offer the fruits of those blessings to Baal.

If God can get past that, His patience really is infinite.

“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

This piece of secular wisdom depicts our sinful nature with amazing fidelity. Notice the word “always.” This popular adage doesn’t just say that the grass is greener on the other side; it says that it’s always greener. Even secular wisdom recognizes that this attitude is universal—all the people, all the time.

And, of course, it’s wrong—obviously wrong. That’s the point. We’re being mocked. By believing the grass is always greener on the other side, we display the lunacy of sin.

We like to laugh at Israel’s blindingly stupid actions. Fair enough, but save a few chuckles for yourself. Our sinfulness is no less goofy than Israel’s.

We don’t just take our blessings for granted; we take the attitude that they’re not good enough.

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Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.