The Lord spoke a word of indictment against the northern portion of Israel: “They deal falsely.” The ethics and devotion of God’s people were seriously lacking. The Lord called them “thieves” and “adulterers.” Their hearts were full of evil “intrigue” and “anger.” All this wrongdoing was committed with a passion that was as “hot as an oven.” They sought their own prosperity, but they ended up with stress and foolishness. “They do not return to the Lord their God.”
Where did they look for security in their sinful frenzy? Like a bird that was “without sense,” they were one day “calling to Egypt” for aid and the next moment “going to Assyria.” The Lord promised that He would catch this straying “dove” in His own “net.”
Israel could have turned to God at any time, but they were very unwilling. “I would redeem them, but they speak lies against Me.” Hosea 7 ends with multitudes of God’s people in “derision” in a foreign land.
The northern tribes stand as a very sad picture of the unrepentant among the covenant community in every era. Faithless behavior is unbecoming for those who have been marked with God’s sign of ownership. Sadly, the circumcised in the Old Testament and the baptized in the New Testament often act as those who only know the ways of the world.
Despite the waywardness of so many who once called upon the Name of the Lord, the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30 are an invitation to all who will hear His voice: “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Great Savior, what will we do if You remember our evil forever? Surely You have accomplished our redemption through the work of Your Son Jesus. Everything about Him is holy and good. He never wandered from You or looked to the world for His hope. He did not rebel against You or lie to You. He always received Your Word with consecrated obedience. Your Son’s perfect righteousness has been credited to our account. What a gift to the ungodly!