Has There Been a Change?
Many have discussed the above question and yet the answer does not prevail and I doubt that a satisfactory answer will ever be given. It is our intent in this lesson to discuss tile book of Hosea, and in so doing view the life that he lived and the conditions at that time. After you read this brief article ask yourself the question, "Has There Been a Change?"
This prophet of God was very outstanding in that no matter what happened he still was able to show a great love for his people and their souls. Gomer, his wife, might have had some good points when they married, but for some reason she turned against the forces of right to be a servant of wickedness. Since Gomer did turn against God, this seems to have had much to do with the style of Hosea's writing. It is filled throughout with overtones of sadness because of the departure of Israel from the only true and living God. This is to be viewed with no amazement, for certainly the greatest grief that any man can suffer will be when he sees his child, wife, or loved one depart from God.
Samaria and Jerusalem had been conducting themselves in a very wicked fashion and as a result the nation had begun to crumble. This should serve notice to us of the following: when a nation begins to corrupt itself and the leaders fill themselves with immorality, certain destruction will surely follow. When honesty is only a by-word, disintegration cannot be far away. Samaria and Jerusalem had drifted thoughtlessly into ease, extravagance and oppression. Amos came to preach the burning message of God to them and he was openly rejected. He warned them of the seriousness of the situation but he was accused of being an alarmist that would always look upon the dark side of life.
In 1963 the same problem exists -- immorality, dishonesty, extravagance, indifference and ease. Evidently we think if we hide our eyes to this problem long enough, then perhaps it will go away of its own accord. Such is not the case. Satan will not run off and leave people alone as long as he sees an opportunity to destroy. Error and sin will be cast down when they are met head on with the word of God. One is not an alarmist when he tells of the dangers of sin and the result thereof. Sin will grow so long as we let it grow. Such was the case in the days of Samaria and Jerusalem. Jeroboam's son, Zechariah, was murdered and a murderer was permitted to sit upon the throne. From this point on no ruler was ever safe.
Social conditions in Hosea's day were of extreme corruption. No person could place any confidence in any other person. Rulers could be bought for a price, organized vice existed, marriage vows were forgotten, there was no sanctity in the home, and the standard of morality and faithfulness was lost. Often has it been said, "As the home goes, so goes the country." Hosea spoke often of this being a reality. Would this still be true in 1963?
Briefly this shows the condition of the country in which Hosea lived. Isaiah, Micah, and Hosea had all tried to correct the gloomy picture but to no avail. Consider if you will the position that Hosea occupied--God had sent him to preach to a people who did not want nor would they accept the word of God. They did not give heed to tile pleadings of God through His prophet, and as a result the two hundred-year-old kingdom of Israel came to an end. It certainly would take a great man to try this enormous task of correcting this apostate people, yet Hosea accepted his work with zeal and thus his love for God and the people from whom he worked continued to grow.
Hosea tells of Israel's downfall and what caused it. Let their fall serve as an admonition to us. May all who attempt to proclaim God's word be more like Hosea. He was a strong man for God, yet he had a deep love for the cause in which he worked. Let all who make up the kingdom of God consider the problems that Hosea faced.
One of the first great problems was that of a lack of knowledge. This is seen in the fact that they had no desire for the knowledge that they did not have (Hosea 4:6-11). It can safely be said, that this is the basis for all religious error past or present. Very few today are students of the-Bible as they should be. This includes preachers, elders, teachers and all members of the body of Christ. To be a good student of the Bible does not require that one have a degree in Greek and Hebrew, though these will serve as a great asset to the understanding of God's word. One can become a good Bible student by just studying the Bible, the word of God. Thus all of us who can read and discern have no excuse for not knowing what God would have His people do. Of course we know it takes time, but with the passing of years we should be able to learn at least a part of God's great book. However, before one is to be able to gain this knowledge he must first desire to know. Without a desire for knowledge one will never possess it to any great degree.
Second, false pride contributed much to the downfall of Israel (Hosea 5:5.) Thinking of self more highly than one ought to think is always disastrous. This can be a failing of all humanity: an unwillingness to admit error because of pride. Too many are afraid to say, "Yes, I am wrong."
Third, instability helped them on a downward journey (Hosea 6:4). One of the reasons that one man is successful in business and another is not can often be seen in the fact that one is eager and sticks with his task, while the other is indifferent and finishes nothing. The same is true in the practice of Christianity. If we are willing to let God be our guide while we faithfully discharge our duty, then success will be ours; if we are not willing to let Him be our guide or we do not do our duty, then failure will be our lot.
Space does not permit us to go into the many reasons for the failure of Israel. We do wish, however, to call a few more to your attention so that you may read them in your spare time: Worldiness (Hosea 7: 8), Corruption (Hosea 9:9), Backsliding (Hosea 11:7), and Idolatry (Hosea 13:2). Certainly there are many other things that could have contributed to the trouble in Israel, but let us make sure that we do not let these which have been mentioned become sources for our failure and doom.
Hosea was a good man and faced every task with God at his side. His love and appreciation for the Lord grew day by day. His example is one for us to consider. It carries meaning, warmth and devotion -- these are the things we must look for and
Try to attain in our own lives. No, my friend, times have not changed, for the same problems that destroyed these people will most certainly destroy us. May we always face the facts and respect the Truth of Almighty God.
Truth Magazine VII: 9, pp. 17-18