“Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal, I hated them there. Because of their sinful deeds, I will drive them out of my house. I will no longer love them; all their leaders are rebellious. (Hosea 9:15 NIV)
Hosea has spent the first part of his prophecy explaining how the relationship with God and Israel got to this point. This verse does not make me doubt God’s loving nature. It is God’s loving nature expressed in His covenant with Israel that has been so deeply broken that motivates this response from God. What this verse makes me realize is how much God loved Israel and how hurt He was when Israel continually and consistently acted like He didn’t exist.
God’s response is clear. He says, “I will no longer love them”. God’s feeling toward Israel has changed. More important is that God’s provision and protection, His love, will be withdrawn. Israel is vulnerable, and all God must do is remove Himself from the picture and Israel will ultimately be destroyed.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. (Romans 1:24 NIV)
Paul tells us that this wasn’t just true for the Israelites. We are equally vulnerable and when we consistently tell God that we don’t need Him He lets us have our way. While we realize that the end of this lifestyle is eternal death we sometimes are frustrated in the here and now. When we turn our focus to our time on this earth we can be easily deceived by the appearance of success or pleasure that we see in those who have no use for God. We can quickly be filled with discontent and our desire for God is diminished while our coveting of sex, money, and power grows.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-2 NIV)
I think Paul offers the solution. I must look at all my life from an eternal perspective. This doesn’t mean that all I think about is heaven. It does mean I consider every decision from the perspective that I will live forever with God. How I live today is important and it is especially important in the ways that it impacts how I and others will spend eternity.
For my grandchildren:
Don’t ever take God for granted. Life without God is not good.