Hosea 10:2 (HCSB)
2 Their hearts are devious; now they must bear their guilt. The Lord will break down their altars and demolish their sacred pillars.
Again we continue to read about the sin of Israel, her apostasy and rejection of God, and the resulting punishment that is coming. In this passage we get more of a glimpse of the spiritual failure of Israel in the sense of a failure of worship.
The pericope begins with a comparison of Israel to a “lush vine”. This vine yields fruit, and apparently is quite plentiful judging by the second and third sentences in Hosea 10:1 – “fruit increased” and “land produced”. And that’s about where the good stuff ends.
What we then read is about how instead of Israel directing their worship and praise towards God in response to His provision, they increase the number of altars they had erected to false gods, and made them better and better. Their worship was misplaced. And not only that, they then proceeded to flat out verbally deny God! Hosea 10:3 shows the Israelites saying they no longer fear God, and that they have no use for Him. And, as a side note, do not miss one of the results of denying God described in Hosea 10:4 – deceit and dishonesty becomes rampant and lawsuits break out (take special note of our nation’s current state of lawsuits as the solution to everything!). Israel is a nation guided by itself, guided by its own sinful nature, and when your god is a broken sinful nation of broken sinful people, everything is a mess.
But God goes on to say that this all will not last. It will come to an end, but not because of the will of Israel, or any reformation on their own part. In fact, Israel will mourn over, and be shamed by, these things, so much so that they will desire to be crushed by the mountains. The picture does not seem to be of an Israel anxious to return to her King, but of one who clings to her false gods as they drag her down and down until she cannot go any further, and is then destroyed, ripped from her, and she is lost.
We should examine ourselves and our nation. The parallels seem numerous. It would seem that no longer is God our standard, the One we look to for guidance. Instead we have placed our trust and hope in man, in a legal and political system that stands on the merits of men. Our courts are clogged with no sign of the lawsuit frenzy slowing down. We build our altars, and we remodel them, while we continue to push God further and further out to the margins. When we welcome profanity into our homes and minds via television and radio, yet persecute those who might pray to, or even mention, God… things are backwards. We might do well to take a look at how similar we are becoming to the Israel Hosea documents.
Lord, thank You for Your mercy. We don’t deserve it, I don’t deserve it. Lord, I pray for our nation, I pray for my community, for my church, for myself, that we, I, would wake up and follow You. Smash my idols, destroy my false gods, and do the same for the rest of Your people. I pray for an awakening, and a shift away from a nation similar to that of Hosea’s Israel. Amen.