November 24, 2014
But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always. (Hosea 12:6)
Part 1 . . .
Hosea 12 takes a different turn from that of Hosea 11. Whereas Chapter Eleven places special emphasis on God’s love for Israel, Chapter Twelve focuses on Israel’s sin of lying and her practice of deceiving. In short, the Israelites ignored the truth and wisdom of God and heeded the lies and deceit of man.
The date of Hosea’s words are estimated to be about 726 B.C. This is roughly four years before the nation’s final downfall. Although the prophet Hosea recognized how little time was left before the LORD unleashed His wrath upon Israel, the nation itself was blinded by its own mendacity. By having lied for so long, the Israelites actually succumbed to their own deception. To rephrase that, the deceiver had deceived himself!
In order to emphasize Israel’s use of deception, Hosea alluded to the patriarch Jacob on four occasions, as noted in Hosea 12:2, 3, 4, and 12. Recall that the name Jacob means deceiver. From the time of his birth until the years of his manhood, he was a deceiver, as was the nation of Israel, up to and including the time of Hosea’s ministry. Even though the LORD sent His prophets to speak the truth, Israel refused to accept that truth, choosing instead to deny the truth in exchange for the lies that she herself had developed. Thinking she was safe and secure in her own riches, Israel was caught in a battle of words—the truth of God versus the lies of men.
In some respects, the delusion Israel faced, then, is not unlike what America is facing, now. Few would deny that we are a rich nation, one God has blessed for many years. However, we have simultaneously been deluded by our thinking, believing that our riches provide our security, not God. Instead of acknowledging that God enables us to accumulate riches and power, we have allowed ourselves to be victimized by the lie that purports it is by our strength and wisdom that we have become wealthy and powerful.
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