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]
Today’s passage gets me to consider how God restores. We serve a God of restoration. Consider this—after two days He revives and then on the third day raises up. Does this remind you of anything? Earlier in the passage, it speaks about returning to the Lord. We read that God has torn and struck down. This is something that is done to prune, to grow, to stretch God’s people and produce what is meant—what is better. We read that in doing so we are healed and bound up.
The passage continues to say that we are raised up so that “we may live before Him.” I love this. Earlier Hosea speaks about being led astray, not having a knowledge of God, being far from God. Now this passage says that we will live before Him. We go from being far from Him, away from Him altogether, to being right before Him—in His presence! How awesome is that?!?
Understand friends, that our God restores. He takes that which is broken and He binds. He takes that which is dirty and cleanses. There will be breaking. There will be pruning. But there is also deliverance. There is also restoration. There is healing. Let us press on. Let us press on to know the Lord. His Word helps us to recognize Him more, to understand Him more. His Spirit reveals and reminds. Press on.
“Come, let us return to the Lord; for He has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” – Hosea 6:1-3 [ESV]
In Hosea, we read a lot about the sinfulness of God’s people. Judgment was given. In Hosea 5:15, we read that the people needed to acknowledge their guilt. After they acknowledge their guilt, then they must seek God’s face. You cannot seek God, you cannot move in His direction, until you acknowledge you have sinned against Him. You first repent, which means change your mind. You recognize that you don’t want to sin. Read that again. It doesn’t mean you won’t sin. You don’t want to sin. You wish you wouldn’t sin.
The verse says that in the distress of the people, the people would “earnestly seek.” This is a powerful thing. The word choice “earnestly seek,” means seeking early in the morning, seeking diligently, even seeking painstakingly. We are to earnestly seek God—to seek Him diligently. This is a search that should start early. This is a search that you need to be all in for doing. This is also a rewarding search. Remember, God’s Word says if you search for Him with all your heart, you will find Him (Deuteronomy 4:29, Jeremiah 29:13).
Today, you have a choice. You can acknowledge that you have a great need for Jesus and you can seek Him wholeheartedly. You can recognize that you fall short just like everyone (Romans 3:23). Or you can make the choice to continue forward with life without acknowledging anything. I pray you earnestly seek Him. It will be a blessing!
“I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me.” – Hosea 5:15 [ESV]
After we read about the sinfulness of God’s people in the beginning of the fourth chapter of Hosea, there is this one verse that follows which talks about accusations. The verse says, “let no one contend, and let none accuse.” Then we read the reason why. The contention has a place—it is towards the priest.
Wow! This is harsh to chew upon. The finger is pointed at the leadership. The priest who was put in charge of God’s Word, who was to lead the people to God and His Truth, was on the receiving end. That was where the contention was placed. But why? Because the people were led astray. The people were so far from God that they had no knowledge of Him. What was the priest doing? Why was the Law absent? Why was God not known?
Leadership is hard. Each day I recognize the opportunity I have been given, but more importantly the responsibility. I have a tree of people in my office at work to look at to remember this responsibility. At my home office, I have a card I was given by the church congregation. I read over the names often. I remember this great responsibility. Lead to Truth. Lead with grace. Lead with love at the center. Whether you lead in an area of ministry, lead your children at home, lead at your workplace—no matter where you lead, it’s always the same. Lead to Truth. Lead with grace. Lead with love at the center.
“Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse, for with you is my contention, O priest.” – Hosea 4:4 [ESV]
Whenever it rains, I don’t feel so great. My body aches from the dampness. The dogs cannot go for their walks if it is raining too hard, which means I don’t get my normal exercise, and more importantly, my special alone time with God where there are no interruptions. The weather report notes that the rain is going to continue for the next few days. Part of me dreads possibly not getting out there for our usual walks, but yet I know that the rain is a blessing to us and it is certainly needed so I’m trying to be grateful.
In Hosea, we read that God “will come to us like the rain.” I always love when I can read something that paints a visual picture for me. But what is this verse saying? Rain isn’t always falling. Does it mean God will come and then go and eventually come again? No. This passage is talking about the faithfulness of God. In Deuteronomy 11, read about the blessings and the curses. It was plainly laid out for people to understand. If you obey – if you love the Lord and serve Him with all your heart and soul—then He will bless you with rain. There were two big rains acknowledge—the spring rain and the autumn rain. This was needed for the people to have a good return.
When we read in Hosea that the Lord comes to us like the rain, it is saying that we can trust that the Lord is faithful. Just as the rain comes in spring and autumn as promised, so will the Lord come and restore. The promises of the Lord are true. Next time it rains, be reminded that God is faithful. He will come like the rain to us. Ask Him to come and rain down on you.
“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.” – Hosea 6:3 [NASB]
“And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil.” – Deuteronomy 11:13-14 [ESV]
“Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.” – Job 10:8-12 [NIV]
“You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me.” – Job 30:21
“You have become cruel” (NLT) – basically saying God changed toward him.
1) God does not change
Malachi 3:6a says, “I am the LORD, and I do not change.” (NIV)
Job realized that God was gracious, kind, and his Creator
But thinks God changed because of his situation.
2) God does not think like us
“’My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the LORD. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.’” – Isaiah 55:8 [NLT]
“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” – Psalm 139:16 [NASB]
3) We cannot understand everything
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11 [NLT]
“I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim.” – Ecclesiastes 8:17 [NLT]
“God’s riches, wisdom, and knowledge are so deep that it is impossible to explain his decisions or to understand his ways.” – Romans 11:33 [GW]
“Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.” – Ecclesiastes 11:5 [NLT]
4) Ask – Show me Your ways
Moses said to God, “If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.” – Exodus 33:13 [NLT]
“Now show me Your glory” (v. 18)
I want to KNOW YOU
I want to SEE YOU
I want to BE IN YOUR PRESENCE
Psalm 103:7, the Psalmist writes,
“He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.” [NASB]
God’s ways must be MADE KNOWN.
- He MADE KNOWN them to Moses
- Ways – Intimate Relationship
- Know God (Hosea 6:6)
- To the Israelites He taught them by His actions, but his words were concealed. The relationship wasn’t the deep relationship like that He had with Moses.
- Works – Observation – What God does
- Parting Red Sea / Water from Rock / Walls of Jericho
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
– Jeremiah 29:13 [NASB]
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” – James 4:8a [NLT]
“I long to look on the face of the One that I love
Long to stay in Your presence, it’s where I belong”
(Jesus Culture “Show Me Your Glory”)