2 KINGS 16, TITUS 2, HOSEA 9, PSALM 126-128

Hosea 9
"But they came to Baal-peor and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame, and became detestable like the thing they loved." Hosea 9:10

In Hosea 9, the LORD explains that His rejection of Israel is because of their refusal to accept Him as LORD. In His indictment against the people, God mentions three cities which prove Israel's turning away from Him.

Chronologically, the first betrayal He mentions is in Peor. In Numbers 25:1-9, long before the people entered the Promised Land, they began to whore with the daughters of Moab and worship their god Baal. God's description of this event is Israel "yoked themselves to Baal of Peor." Notice in Hosea 9:1, God condemns Israel for forsaking Him by playing the whore. God's anger against Israel was turned away when Phinehas killed the Israelite man and the Midianite woman with one thrust of his spear in Numbers 25:10

The second place the LORD mentions is Gilgal in verse 15. Gilgal (Joshua 4:19) is the first place the Israelites camped after crossing the Jordan River. God declares "every evil of theirs is in Gilgal." The seed of their destruction was in place when they entered the Promised Land.

Cause and effect, means and ends,
seed and fruit cannot be severed;
for the effect already blooms in the cause,
and the end pre-exists in the means,
the fruit in the seed. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lastly, the LORD says Israel is as corrupt as they were at Gibeah in verse 9. Gibeah was the town where the tribe of Benjamin reenacted the events of Sodom (Judges 19:22-30).

Psalm 115:4-8 says, "Their idols are...the work of human hands. They have mouths but do not speak...eyes, but do not see...ears, but do not hear...noses, but do not smell...hands, but do not feel...feet, but do not walk...Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them." We become like the people or things we worship. Ahaz is a great example from today's reading. He idolized Tiglath-pileser so much that Ahaz removed Solomon's altar from the temple for one built to replicate the altar in Damascus. He worshiped the king of Assyria and his god and became like them. How else could he have burned his son as an offering? How could Israel fall so far from God that He would say, "The days of punishment have come; the days of recompense have come; Israel shall know it?"

Psalm 128 provides the answer "Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD." Compare the blessed man of Psalm 128 to Israel depicted in Hosea 9. The NLT translates verse 2 as "Now your harvests will be too small to feed you. There will be no grapes making new wine." But the man who fears God will eat the fruit of his labor. Verse 11-12 says, "Your children will not be born or grow in the womb or even be conceived. Even if you do have children who grow up, I will take them from you." The consequences of their rejection of God is so severe Hosea prays, "Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts." But the man who fears God has a wife like a fruitful vine and children like olive shoots.

LORD Almighty, who declares it a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, teach us the lesson of Israel's failure to worship You alone. May Your people return and understand a correct fearfulness of You. In the early church, a great fear came upon the people by the manner in which You judged Ananias and Sapphira. Forgive us for minimizing the necessity of fearing You. We know You are loving, but You also command our fear. You are as worthy of our fear as You are of our praise, worship, and love.