Hosea 5: Consequences
A Favorite from November 8, 2009.
“Hosea was one of the first prophets whose message was put into writing. Nevertheless Hosea’s message, like those of Israel’s other ‘writing prophets,’ cannot be understood in isolation from the law and the books of Joshua and Judges, books to which Hosea often alluded”. Zondervan 1428)
Addressing the priests and leaders directly in this chapter, Hosea speaks to the forces which shaped who and what Israel was, and how and why she acted. Hosea calls us today to look at not only the root causes of our actions but the consequences as well. Our own consequences as well as those for others.
A snare, a net, a trap set for the innocent. Arrogance in believing that the voice of God does not arrive through the innocent. Harlotry in maintaining a personal comfort level at the expense of the disadvantaged. Unfaithfulness to the Lord. Giving birth to illegitimate children and causes.
Using the name of the tribe of Ephraim as an equivalent for the whole of Israel, Hosea warns the people that when they turn for help to the leader they have chosen in place of God, he is not able to cure you, not able to heal your sores. This warning from Hosea is stark and even frightening: It is I who rend the prey and depart, I carry it away and no one can save it from me. I will go back to my place until they pay for their guilt and seek my presence. Hosea is clear: If we choose to look out for own skins at the expense of those placed in our care, we will not again be wholly in God’s presence until we repent in a full and sincere conversion. We can easily measure this conversion by the softness of our hearts, by our willingness to risk self in order to save others.
Looking at these Old Testament images and oracles we can fast forward to today. We can examine our own lives for the times when we have collaborated with evil, when we have kept silence when lies are told, when we have been sycophants to present leaders rather than Disciples of Christ.
It will be the Lion of Judah – the Messiah – who will roar out of the south to gather in the lost sheep. It will be this savior who will seek out those disadvantaged who were trampled and left for dead by those who looked after their own ease. It is Christ today who attends to those whom we ought to have sheltered and aided. It is Christ today to whom each of us must give a full accounting of who and what we are. And it is Christ who will help us to see that the consequences we receive . . . are those that we ourselves have chosen.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE (NIV). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. 1428. Print.