Archive for May 8th, 2017

In my NIV translation, chapter 4 begins with the sub-title of the charge against Israel. There follows a damning list of sins: faithlessness, murder, stealing and adultery, to name but a few.  As we read this today, we have the benefit and blessing of reading and understanding after Jesus had been sent as our atoning sacrifice, that He alone could make and be sufficient to cover all our sins.

If we consider ‘unfaithfulness’, we can understand it as a failure to fulfil the obligations of a relationship.  In this context, it is used to refer to a failure of the people of God to meet the obligations imposed on them. The covenant between God and Israel emphasised the total faithfulness of God to his people and demanded a corresponding loyalty be shown by his people. The covenant between God and his people is like a marriage covenant, requiring mutual loyalty and commitment.

Constantly, through the Old Testament, we read how the people turned away from God, before realising the error of their ways and turning back. God is always faithful, and responds to their cries. Hosea has already suffered the pain of his wife’s adultery and prostitution: he, like God, chooses to remain faithful, forgiving her for her sin. Even in the New Testament we see examples of continuing unfaithfulness, for example, Peter’s failure to admit being a follower of Christ at Jesus’ trial. Unfaithfulness is grounded in human sin, which continues to affect individuals even after coming to faith. Scripture stresses the need for faithfulness on the part of God’s people, despite the temptations to infidelity.

In chapter 5, we read of God’s judgement against Israel and Hosea prophesies accurately how God will deal with Israel’s sins. He is to withdraw from both Israel and Judah (v6) and allow them to be trampled in judgement.

We can sometimes feel that the accounts and prophecies of the Old Testament are very distant and not relevant today. But think of the ways we display unfaithfulness to God in our lives.  Maybe it’s something like cursing the driver who fails to indicate before turning, causing you to have to brake unexpectedly.  It may be having or thinking about having an affair, whether you are married or just dating someone. All our actions have consequences, some we are aware of and others not so.  God knows everything; we cannot hide from His gaze nor should we want to.  He loves us, warts and all: let’s rejoice and be glad in that fact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Please help me, Lord, to be faithful to your covenant promises and so walk closely with you Lord Jesus. Amen.

May 2017
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