“for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land…Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment, because he was determined to follow human precepts…I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me…Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 4:1b, 5:11, 5:15, 6:3
Hosea was a prophet who lived and prophesied just before the destruction of Israel in 722 BC. He preached to the northern kingdom. Throughout the book you will see that he refers to Israel and Ephraim. Ephraim was the largest tribe in Israel and sometimes the whole nation was referred to as Ephraim. In the spirit of Romans 15:4 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (read them first please they are important) let’s analyze the above noted verses from Hosea and seek to understand the truth that they still convey today in our country.
No knowledge of God in the land – When I read this I can’t help but wonder whose fault this is? Isn’t it the fault of those who professed belief in God? In their personal pursuit of God they had forgotten a crucial element within that relationship dynamic – they didn’t seek to love and honor God by putting Him first in their actions and share Him with others.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.” Matt 5:14-16
In America today we are becoming less and less knowledgeable about God. Our people are seeking after truth, wholeness, peace, joy, and contentment in life but are being led astray by all types of sorcery, mysticism, and idols. Isn’t this an indictment of the Church and those that make up the Church? More pointedly isn’t this an indictment of me?
Read Psalm 19. What has God given us so that we can know and share Him with others?
Ephraim is oppressed, crushed – Sin leads to judgment and pride is sin, therefore pride leads to judgment and destruction. “Why is pride so sinful? Pride is giving ourselves the credit for something that God has accomplished. Pride is taking the glory that belongs to God alone and keeping it for ourselves. Pride is essentially self-worship. Anything we accomplish in this world would not have been possible were it not for God enabling and sustaining us. ‘What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?’ (1 Corinthians 4:7). That is why we give God the glory—He alone deserves it” (GotQuestions).
In this case we see that the people were “determined” to go after human precepts and wisdom – so they could exalt themselves over God. As we look around America today it is stunning to see how we are “determined” to go after human wisdom and precepts – which in the ESV version of the Bible is referred to as “filth”. We are doing this in government, in our schools, work, and most shockingly and appallingly in our churches – as we slowly replace the truth of God with integrationist ideas on marriage, sexuality, gender roles, leadership, etc.
Pick one topic that is a hot button issue in our society today that you are passionate about. Can you defend God’s position on that topic in a gentle and loving manner through the use of Scripture?
Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face – God is so continuously merciful to us it is nothing short of incomprehensible. What great hope there was for Ephraim, and what great hope there is for America, and for you and me. Conviction of sin will lead us to correction and the first step toward correction is confessing and repenting of our sin to God.
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:5-10
Confess and repent of the sin in which God is convicting you of this moment.
He will come to us as the showers – If we humble ourselves before God and recognize that we have no standing with him, but for the shed blood of Jesus Christ, He will hear us and help us and heal us and glorify Himself in us for the good of those around us.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones” (Proverbs 3:6-8).
God promises that there is great reward in knowing Him and growing in Him, and seeking more and more of His wisdom on a daily basis (Psalm 19: 7-11). Let’s make sure that we are making every effort to grow in the knowledge of God and finding others whom we can share Him with; for the good of our nation and for His glory.
Read Luke 24:13-25 paying particular attention to v.26 & v32. What did Jesus share to help these men understand? What should we be using to better understand God ourselves and to share Him with others?
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© 2016 Michael Martin