Hosea 8:7 (HCSB)
7 Indeed, they sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. There is no standing grain; what sprouts fails to yield flour. Even if they did, foreigners would swallow it up.
Well, the bad news continues for Israel in this pericope. Through this passage, God outlines Israel’s futile attempts to replace Him, and, in essence, make themselves gods, or at least fashion gods from their own hands, and the result is not good.
The passage starts out with a proclamation of Israel’s covenant breaking. They break God’s law. And it is interesting that they “cry out” to God, saying, “My God, we know You!” Yet the very next verse says “Israel has rejected what is good.” We can know God and reject Him, we can know what is good but choose evil. It’s not enough to just know about God, to know who He is on a superficial level, we must know God intimately, as a perfect Father.
And the list goes on:
- Israel props up leaders without God’s approval.
- Israel makes idols for themselves.
- They pursue political favor from pagan nations, being “swallowed up” by them.
- They erect altars to worship their idols and false gods.
- Israel and Judah have abandoned God in favor of their own strength through “palaces” and “fortified cities”.
And again, the punishment is coming, the just rewards of the sin of God’s people is explicit throughout the passage. All the things that Israel attempts to do on its own will be destroyed by God, the One who should have been their source and object of worship to begin with. They will be pursued by an enemy, their idols will lead to their own destruction, their political alliances will be to their detriment, their population will decrease, their sacrifices will not be recognized, and their cities will be consumed.
The first part of Hosea 8:7, “Indeed, they sow the wind and reap the whirlwind,” reminds me of a line in the movie Young Guns uttered by Billy the Kid: “Reap the whirlwind, Brady.” The corrupt sheriff was reaping what he had sown. And that’s what Israel is facing: reaping the discord, depravity, and the sin they have sown. The nation of Israel is a macrocosm of what we as individuals might do on a personal level. Perhaps we face punishment of our own as we rebel and push away from God. Either way, as a nation or as an individual, our reaction is hopefully to repent and come before God humbly and asking for His forgiveness, rather than to continue in our sin, further distancing ourselves from His grace and mercy.
Lord, thank You for correction. We don’t always punish and correct in a loving way, in a way that brings about restoration and growth, but You do. You know how to perfectly punish us so that we can gain from it, and grow closer to You. I pray that we do just that, that we embrace our punishment, as difficult as it is, and know that You do it because of Your love for us. Amen.