God’s Controversy With His People 1
As we begin our study of Hosea 4 we find Hosea speaking in the gates of the city. This is the place where civil and religious meetings were held. There were probably some who were from the Southern kingdom present here as well.
The LORD is presented as having a “Controversy” with the people. The MIRRIAM/WEBSTER Dictionary defines “Controversy” as being “a clash of opposing views: DISPUTE”. It must of necessity be concluded that the one who opposes God is the one who is in error. The New International Version of the Bible uses the word “Charge”. The New American Standard uses the word “Case”. These latter two imply court actions. If then this is a court scene we see GOD as the offended party; and He is also the Judge, the Prosecutor; and since there is no defense mentioned He would also be their Defense. God has a legal case against Israel. It is a case He will win. A case where the guilty will in brokenness confess their guilt, turn from their evil, and seek His face, receiving His forgiveness.
In verse one through three God says all are guilty, then the priests and prophets are responsible for rejecting the Word of God, rather than teaching it, living it, and proclaiming it (vv. 4-6). They are all condemned for leaving God to follow the harlotry of Baal (vv. 7-10). The men are then told of their responsibility for the corrupting of their wives and daughters (vv. 13-14). Judah [the Southern kingdom] is then called on to heed the Word of Go, and not to forsake God and His ways following other gods (vv. 15-19).
“Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.” Hosea 4:1-3 (KJV)
The land is greatly polluted. Sexual perversion and immorality always pollute the land of any nation.
God still contends with evil. He is contending with evil even now across the United States of America, and in all nations of the world. Sin is just as destructive today as it was in Hosea’s day; maybe more open and with greater influence; but “where sin abounds grace does much more abound”.
“Truth” is faithfulness. Faithful to God, His Word, and His ways. To walk in them is to walk in truth. To walk in truth is to be faithful to His Word. To depart from truth is to cease being kind. “Mercy” is kindness. When God’s people forsake His way sexual immorality increases, murders increase, all crime and criminal activities increase, and education slips into amorality. Evil becomes good, and good becomes evil. Because of this there is no knowledge of God in the land. God is seen only as non-existent, unavailable, or contained in a box to be used at our own discretion and for our own pleasures. Because of evil god is made in our own image. He is viewed as tolerating evil, and never judging it; putting Him on equal basis with the gods of men’s hearts. His Holiness, Righteousness, mercy, and grace are forgotten. What need is there of mercy and/or grace if God tolerates all kinds of evil?
When people depart from God to serve the gods of their hearts “Everyone does that which is right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25), the land becomes “Bloody”. The commandments of God become useless, despised, and rejected; tossed aside as fables.
In verse two Hosea declares that at least five of the Ten Commandments had been severely broken.
There are also ecological consequences to sin.
The land cries out to God for mercy (Romans 8:22). The man of God’s creation willfully sinned against God. Sin causes the creation to groan. Unless God keeps His hand of mercy on the land, then the land judges us.
The environmental crises that are known today; the upheaval of weather patterns, in the USA, and around the world; are evidences of a gross spiritual problem. God’s people have forsaken Him to serve the idols of pleasure, entertainment, and the sirens of comfort. Many of the gods of our day are science, technology, money and finance. All idols of man’s own making; leading to our destruction.
The world may laugh at such a simplistic answer, but the Bible is clear on the matter, and it is right. Someone has said, “The heart of the human problem, is the problem of the human heart.” (Matthew 15:16-20). The heart of man can only be righted when man confesses his sin/departure from God, repents, and asks for, and receives God’s forgiveness.
It is not gun-control we need to stop murders, or condoms to stop STD’s and/or AIDS. It is self-control, and especially Holy Spirit initiated self-control. To make it real the world needs the grace, mercy, and love of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the forgiveness only His atoning death, burial and resurrection supplies.
-Tim A. Blankenship