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Lenten Devotion 3 February 28, 2020

Hosea 4: 6-11
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
because you have rejected knowledge,
I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.
7 The more they increased,
the more they sinned against me;
they changed their glory into shame.
8 They feed on the sin of my people;
they are greedy for their iniquity.
9 And it shall be like people, like priest;
I will punish them for their ways,
and repay them for their deeds.
10 They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
they shall play the whore, but not multiply;
because they have forsaken the LORD
to devote themselves to 11whoredom.
Hosea is critical of God’s priests and God’s people. Why? Because they no longer recognize God as their provider. Israel has increased in population, geography, and wealth. All these things have happened because Israel is God’s chosen people and has provided for Israel’s needs and prosperity. How has Israel responded? They have betrayed God by worshiping pagan fertility gods. The women are temple prostitutes and the men use them in the pagan rituals. God is forgotten and unknown. Because of that, God will not provide for Israel any longer. The prosperity will cease. They will not be satisfied with anything they have and will no longer grow in numbers. All because they forgot who and whose they were.
But there is also one thing that is easy to miss here. God seems to be primarily scolding the priests. But remember, Israel was to be a holy nation. Israel was to be a priestly nation that demonstrated to other nations the power of YHWH. It’s failure to fulfill this call is like the failure of its priests to teach the people about God.
Do we look like Israel? Do we attribute our success and prosperity to other “gods”? Do we participate in worship of those gods? Hosea describes some symptoms. Lack of knowledge (or interest in) God. Inability to be satisfied with what we have. Seeking satisfaction from things that produce no lasting benefit. Glorifying ourselves rather than God.
What do our “gods” look like? It’s worth thinking about.

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