Hosea 12:10 (HCSB)
10 I spoke through the prophets and granted many visions; I gave parables through the prophets.
Three verses is all that comprise this short pericope in the HCSB. In a few of the other translations I looked at, these verses are grouped with others, some much longer passages. But, despite the continued similarity of God pointing out and revealing Israel’s failure to worship and follow Him, I think this short little passage highlights something that I may have been failing to focus on previously.
Until now it has been clear that Israel has drifted from God, not by anything God has done, but solely due to Israel’s sin. But at the same time, this focus has sort of over-shadowed what steps God had been taking to counter Israel’s sin. And this short passage, I think, hints at just that.
God reminds Israel in Hosea 12:9 that He has been their God “ever since the land of Egypt.” And the truth is, He was their God even before that, but things were brought to another level when God brought His people out of slavery.
But Hosea 12:10 is the verse that jumped out at me. God is basically telling Israel that He has always been there, speaking to them, wooing them, calling them, instructing them. And it wasn’t just occasional things, so infrequent that nobody would notice. There were multiple prophets. There were “many visions”. And God gave parables, stories that relayed important points and messages, to the people through his prophets. God is basically saying, “I’ve been trying all along, I’ve been giving you every opportunity.” Yet Israel fails, they sin against God.
Finally, in Hosea 12:11, we see how they are still making sacrifices. But those sacrifices are fruitless, they are not recognized by God. The sacrifices are tainted, because Israel is “full of evil”. But those altars, even if they were originally built to worship and honor God, are nothing more than “heaps of rocks” because their significance is lost when God is not the focus.
So again, we today should stop and look at Israel. Are we turning our backs on the messages from God? Could it be that He has not gone anywhere, but that we are drowning Him out? Just as Israel drifted away, we risk the same consequences if we drift away, replacing true worship of God with false worship, as we fill ourselves with evil.
Lord, thank You for being intolerant of evil! Although that means I might be subject to correction and punishment for my sin, it also means that I have a perfect and righteous Father who loves me enough to pay the price I cannot. I pray that we would turn to You always, and keep our worship pure, and our eyes on You at all times. Amen.