In Hosea 8, we read that Ephraim had “multiplied altars for sin” (v. 11). They built altars, but they certainly were not worshiping God as He desired. The altars were “altars of sinning.” Oh how the things that could be useful for good can be used for evil just the same. What a great reminder to tread with caution. Thankfully, God has given us His Word so we know what is desired of us.
This verse translates in the NLT as, “Even though I gave them all My laws, they act as if those laws don’t apply to them.” The ESV translates this as a “strange thing.” Like it’s strange to apply the laws to them, like it’s foreign to them. Sadly, the people of this time period were far from God. They were led away. They were sinful, idolatrous people. It did not matter how many laws there are—they would be seen as foreign nonetheless.
For many people today, God’s Law is a strange thing. People are so far from understanding the Truth, they look at what God commands and see it as strange, difficult, demanding, and even unnecessary. People do not understand the reason for the Law. God blesses us with the Law. The Law is actually all about GRACE. It is through the Law that we realize we are sinners (Romans 3:20, 7:7). As a result, the Law leads us to Jesus Christ so that we may be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24). Without the Law, we would not recognize our need for Jesus. We would not accept the grace of God. We would not be able to have the relationship for which we were created. To outsiders, the Law is a strange thing. To believers, the Law is a constant reminder that we fall short (Romans 3:23) and that we need a Savior. Knowing that He fulfilled the Law and that through Him we have life and life in abundance is a blessing! Today, remember the not-so-strange thing. More importantly, thank the Lord for His unending grace.
“Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands, they would be regarded as a strange thing.” – Hosea 8:12 [ESV]
Whenever there is something that needs to be done, I always try my best to be prepared. When planning for a trip, I make a list of all the needs for packing. For my finances, I have my budget organized in Excel, outlined meticulously after having some amazing training from Dave Ramsey. Even when I take my dog Max for a walk, I have things I do to prepare. I like being prepared.
In 2 Chronicles we read of groups of people who did not prepare themselves properly for the Passover meal. As a result they did not partake of the meal. Hezekiah prayed for forgiveness for these people who pretty much missed the boat.
Today, I challenge you with your preparedness with God. Do you prepare yourself in the morning by reading God’s Word and by praying? Do you prepare yourself for worship? Do you prepare yourself before Communion? Remember the Parable of the Ten Virgins, with the five women who had no oil for their lamps. Are you prepared for Jesus’ return? Are you prepared to share your faith? Remember what Peter said, to always be prepared to share the reason for your hope. Are you prepared?
“There were a lot of people, especially those from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, who did not eat the Passover meal because they had not prepared themselves adequately. Hezekiah prayed for these as follows: ‘May God who is all good, pardon and forgive everyone who sincerely desires God, the God of our ancestors. Even—especially!—these who do not meet the literal conditions stated for access to The Temple.’”
-2 Chronicles 30:18-19 [MSG]