Day 5

God’s Case Against Israel

from the Hosea reading plan

Hosea 4:1-19, Proverbs 19:2, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6

I have a terrible habit when reading books. It’s so bad and embarrassing that I hesitate to even confess it. But I’m going to risk it.

When I read books, I sometimes move quickly through difficult passages. So, if a character is about to do something they are not supposed to do, and I know that what they are about to do is going to get them in serious trouble, I have this intense desire to skip over the section or skim the chapter. I want to move on to the resolution or the redemptive movement as soon as possible.

My aversion to the dark moments in books (and movies and TV shows) probably requires a trip to the therapist. Fiction or non-fiction, it doesn’t matter. I want to skip ‘em all and get to the light as soon as possible. But, of course, you miss a great deal of beauty when you skip over those parts of the story.

It would be really easy to get distracted when reading chapter four of Hosea. Or to skip over the chapter altogether. After all, the author uses the word “whore,” or a variant of it, about a dozen times. It can either distract you or cause you to move along quickly without hearing the full weight of what God is saying to Israel.

These are God’s people. And yet, the picture of their falling away from the worship and character expected of them is so dark and twisted, it’s hard to read. We all love the redemptive story of Hosea, but man, chapter four is dark.

But really, without chapter four, there is no great redemptive love. If we skip over all the ugliness of the story, we miss out on all the beauty of God’s pursuit of His people. Top to bottom, God’s people were mired in sin that seems almost unimaginable. Even the priests were in on the action. They seem to have rejected God altogether and were acting just like pagans.

Think about it. If they had only been mildly rebellious, this story of God’s redemptive pursuit of them would have been less than it is. What if they just had an issue with greed and that was it? What if they were sexually chaste and went to church like they were supposed to and were otherwise nice people? Would they still need to be saved from their sin? Sure. But through the story of Hosea, God wanted the glory of His grace to be clear. He wanted it to be something we would stand up and gawk at.

So maybe we should slow down when reading chapter four. Maybe we should read it slow enough to catch all the shadows of our need for redemption. Maybe we need to read it carefully enough to see the beauty of God’s redemptive pursuit through Jesus’ blood on the cross. Those are the sins He died to save us from. Read them slowly and then quickly, and remember that they no longer separate us from God.

Written By Matthew B. Redmond


Post Comments (5)

5 thoughts on "God’s Case Against Israel"

  1. Cody says:

    It’s hard to read chapter 4 and not feel as though God is dealing with me personally instead of Ancient, wayward Israel. So much of what God is broken-hearted about in the nation of Israel is the same exact wayward nature I know is in me. Reading God’s rant about Israel reminds me of how desperately I need Jesus.

    God, thank you for your son, Jesus. He’s the only hope for my life.

  2. Matt Rouse says:

    “I am a great sinner and Jesus is a great savior.” -John Newton. We truly are blinded by sin. Even in the midst of it we don’t think it’s very bad. Before Jesus it was who we were. It defined us! Now Jesus has wiped the slate clean and calls us to put on the body armor of His Righteousness. There is nothing we could say or do that would cause him to stop living us. He isn’t threatened by our sin or by our doubts. He is all powerful and able to remove those things far from us! Thank you Jesus!

  3. Rob says:

    Gods grace is more glorious when we see the ugliness of our sin.

  4. Nathan Selby says:

    Everything that Israel was being called out for, I am guilty of. Which doesn’t make me feel all to well. But to know that God still pursues us, even when we are at our worst, is astonishing. He love ms is that much. This makes me want to honor God more, and change my actions, buts it’s so hard sometimes not to give in. I feel like I am blinded by God’s knowledge sometimes. I ask you God, please show me your knowledge, help me follow and understand your ways more.

  5. Kevin says:

    Day 5: I really like how in the beginning of this passage it talks about all the things that are going on, drawing us away from God. And what’s the first one there? Swearing. Not to take away from the others, but we have talked about this quite a bit and how we need to watch our mouths as it is one of the most visible reflections of where our heart is. I know the last several weeks I have been in a valley in this part of my life and needs Christ’s redemption everyday.

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