Hosea: Israel’s Addiction to Prostitution

Read: Hosea 4:1-6:3

I really believe the people of Israel know they are out of step with God, deeply in sin, to the point that they cannot see their way out. My heart breaks for the common family working in the fields, those trying to be faithful to God while their leaders chase fantasies. Hosea’s direction is clear:

“But let no one bring a charge,
let no one accuse another,
for your people are like those
who bring charges against a priest.
You stumble day and night,
and the prophets stumble with you.
So I will destroy your mother—
my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
Hosea 4:3-6

Hosea continues to sharpen the verdict: “they exchanged their glorious God for something disgraceful” (Hosea 4:7). Watch out church! At least that which we call church these days. The ancient words of Hosea ring clear, but do they speak into the 21st century? Do they point to our institutionalized religion?

Perhaps this is Hosea’s apologetic for God’s direction to marry Gomer:

“They will eat but not have enough;
they will engage in prostitution but not flourish,
because they have deserted the Lord
to give themselves to prostitution;
old wine and new wine
take away their understanding.
Hosea 4:10-11

He has first-hand knowledge of the emptiness felt by prostitution. In today’s culture we might substitute the word pornography, that which seems to be rampant in our society, in our extravagance. Other vices as well, I’m sure, the result is the same, they “take away their understanding.”

A spirit of prostitution is in their heart;
they do not acknowledge the Lord.
Hosea 5:4

God will not allow such behavior to go unpunished:

For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
like a great lion to Judah.
I will tear them to pieces and go away;
I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them.
Then I will return to my lair
until they have borne their guilt
and seek my face—
in their misery
they will earnestly seek me.”
Hosea 5:14-15

Once again the message doesn’t end there, though we surely deserve it! How many times will you offer these words?

“Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”
Hosea 6:1-3

Please read these words and take comfort: As surely as the sun rises, he will appear. God is not nearly done yet, his love is far greater than the laws of this promiscuous country that just celebrated it’s 241st anniversary. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be pain in the process.

This assurance gives us hope. If Israel can be so brazen as to turn to idols and explicitly walk away from God, surely there is hope for us. Lord, reveal that which we have put on our shelves as household idols, show us how we have embraced prostitution in our lives. Shake us from our slumber and into your marvelous light! Your example to Hosea was hundreds of years before Jesus walked on earth and took away any excuses we might have. Even today, Lord, move us deep within.

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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

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