This scares me

Hosea 8

Hosea 8 makes me think of Matthew 7.

The prophet Hosea has lodged complaints against the people of God. They have turned away from God’s covenant. Through their political dealings and idol worship, they have shown their trust is not in the Lord.

Chances are, though, if we had a chance to ask them, they might tell us otherwise.

“Of course we love Adonai!” they would say. Maybe they’d invite us to attend their next religious gathering. That’s where they would offer all the best sacrifices. I’ve often imagined what ancient gatherings were like. I see crowds of people shouting and singing songs. People respond to the ceremonial aspects of their worship with anthems of praise. Most of us would not feel comfortable in such a setting–at least calling it worship. But it would be the people’s proof of their spiritual devotion.

Well, like we teach our children, actions speak louder than words.

Who the people are and what they do outside of their worship of God is what the Lord hears most. Hosea has already spoken for God saying, “I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings (Hosea 6:6). So, while they may profess a belief in God, what God truly desires is strange to them (Hosea 8:12).

Compare what God tells them to what Jesus says in Matthew 7. “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ (Matthew 7:22). The Lord’s plain response is, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23). Of course, that’s not a random quote. It comes as a part of the Lord’s lessons on the fruit we bear in our lives.

Now, for too long, preachers and other Christians used fear as a holy tactic. Some still do. Scaring people to faith isn’t a holy thing to do. But that verse always slows me down!

How do I know if I’m not giving lip service to God? How can I be sure I’m not fooling myself? As God’s people today, How can we be sure?

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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