Hosea 8:1-3 describes the sin of northern Israel and the nearness of invasion from the outside. It would happen because Israel broke their covenant with God and acted against His teachings (8:1). The people of northern Israel would say, “My God, we know You” (8:2), but in God’s eyes they had rejected goodness. Therefore God would not protect them from their enemies’ invasion (8:3).
Now there were several good kings in the southern kingdom of Judah, but there was no good king in the northern kingdom of Israel who walked with God. Instead, all the kings of Israel supported the golden calf worship at places such as Bethel and Dan (8:4). Also they made a similar calf image in the capital city Samaria (8:5). The two tablets of the Ten Commandments forbidding idol worship had been inscribed by God, but making the calf of Samaria was done by rebellious human artisans against what God had said (8:6).
They will sow the wind of disbelief, and will reap the tempest of destruction. The work with disbelief in God will end with the failure of crops and by devouring them up by foreign people (8:7).
Disobedient Israel became like a vessel without any good thing in it (8:8). Without God’s help, like a lonesome wild donkey, they tried on their own to secure their safety from Assyria (8:9). Even if they might secure alliance with stronger nations, the security of Israel would not continue long. Israel would suffer much from the heavy hand of Assyria and the annual tributes they had to pay (8:10).
Israel made many altars for God in various places, but this was a sin against God because only one altar for sacrificial offerings was allowed and that was in Jerusalem (8:11). God provided many written instructions to guide them, but for them God’s teachings were strange (8:12). They liked their sacrificial offerings because they loved to feast on the meat and eat all they wanted. God desired their repentance and obedience to His teachings rather than abundance of sacrifices (8:13). The kings of Israel forgot their Creator and built many palaces and temples for themselves. Judah forgot the protection of God, and multiplied many fortified cities (8:14).
Why did Israel and Judah fail to recognize God as their Creator and Sustainer? Do we remember God as our Creator, Savior, and Redeemer every day? Are our deeds contrary to the profession of our faith?
Yoshitaka Kobayashi, Ph.D.