Examples from Israel’s past
The history of Israel’s key leaders and people of the past reveal the opportunity to know God and grow in following Him. The example of obedience results in God’s blessings while the examples of rejection result in a spiritual decline and society.
The Baal Effect
Idolatry was a continual infection for Israel. It was one that could only be dealt with clear boundaries. The journey to unfaithfulness was a slow growth that often began with an effort to make allowances for other spiritual perspectives. God’s perspective would be the one that Israel needed to trust and follow.
Why are we drawn toward idolatry?
Mixed dependence makes more practical sense than an exclusive committed dependence.
It appeals to our natural desires for pleasure and control.
It is generally more popular.
Difficult Consequences for the Future
The blessings of God became stories to be forgotten rather than a day to day reality. Israel would set itself as an enemy of God and reap the consequences of living against God. Around 722 BC, Assyria would conquer Israel and scatter the people in new settlements.
The Present Reality
God points to the unfit leadership of Israel. At the end, 4 kings were assassinated, one died of natural causes and one was overtaken by Assyria. God recalls Israel’s history of rejecting God as the true King. A natural king would not solve the issue of unfaithfulness. The stubborn attitude of the people was relentless.
Judgment will Come
The words of Hosea are severe and reflect an urgent call to repentant action. But instead of being motivated by judgment, they would look at things and assume incorrectly that judgment was just a fictional concept. Instead of salvation, discipline and judgment would be the effective means of dealing with unrepentance and rebellion.
Paul and Hosea
Hosea’s words about death’s sting and victory are used to remind Israel of their coming judgment. Paul would take these same words and show how they would speak prophetically of what Christ would accomplish on the cross. The resurrection of Jesus overcame the judgment and death that are inevitable for sinners. Our present reality is this, in Christ God has taken care of our greatest issue – separation and sin. From that starting point, we are to allow that truth begin to be our viewpoint for the rest of the things that we will face until we are in the presence of God. If God has settled the most complicated issue for us, can we trust him for the rest of life?