Day 5

Israel’s False Hopes

from the Hosea reading plan


Hosea 7:3-16, Hosea 8:1-14, Romans 9:22-24, Galatians 6:6-10

BY Bailey Gillespie

In my early twenties, I was prescribed an intense form of medication to try and manage skin issues. It was something of a last ditch effort. No matter how many topical products I tried, or how many times I went off dairy, my skin would just not clear up. I was over it. Super over it. I was self-conscious and weary of searching for just the right foundation color to help disguise this rebellious skin that was stealing my peace at night. 

After discovering this new medicine, I was ecstatic at the prospect of change. Finally! I thought. The solution I’ve been waiting for. Well, the short version of a long story is it didn’t help. My spirit was crushed because I’d put my hope in something that didn’t deliver, despite its professional claims. 

Israel also had some false hopes. Looking at Hosea 8, we see the Israelites’ desire for God to accept their religious practices and cries for help, even though they didn’t come from the heart. They offer sacrifices in hopes that God would accept them (v.13). They appoint leaders and build palaces in the hope of protection and victory (vv.4,14). They hope to please God even though they have rebelled against Him (v.1). But, instead, all of these outward acts lead to judgment and destruction because they are just that—acts. 

God is after something entirely different. He’s after our hearts. 

“My God, we know you!” they claim (v.2). But did they? What the people of Israel think is a mutually pleasing relationship appears to be only empty knowledge on their part. Without truly knowing God, they are left with empty actions and rituals instead of a genuine relationship.  

The second to last line in today’s reading is a devastating one. We are told that “Israel has forgotten his Maker” (v.14). It’s easy to read stories about people who go through the motions,  forget about God, and become frustrated. I want to shake my fist at these stanzas of poetry and say, “What were you thinking? How can you not see this coming?” But then I remember my own forgetfulness, rebellion, and propensity to place my hope in other things. Empty, outward things that will not deliver.  

It is impossible to flourish if we have forgotten our Maker. When we read the book of Hosea, let’s see their tragedy as an invitation. We aren’t left without guidance. As believers, we aren’t ignorant of where our hope lies, just as the Israelites weren’t if they would have only remembered. Scripture helps us understand the nature of our hope, which is always planted in the soil of God’s faithfulness and love. This is a true, assured kind of hope, one that we can count on. 

Post Comments (50)

50 thoughts on "Israel’s False Hopes"

  1. Victoria Fowlkes says:

    Thanks for sharing that really helped out that into perspective

  2. CeeGee says:

    ANGIE, ERB, and SARAHJOY, Thanks for your incredible contributions to today’s message!
    I am thankful for the commentary you posted yesterday, ERB, because it helped me to read/understand these verses so much more!
    My heart is sad, too, because of the direction our country is headed. SARAHJOY, I never knew that about the3 norths!!! That is a sermon right there!!! Please thank your husband for his service and willingly explaining that so you could share it here. That is going to stick with me for a long time!
    I am so thankful to have all of you to share and encourage through these hard reads! Through it all, God loves, changes hearts, invites, and redeems praise His Name!

  3. ERB says:

    SARAHJOY, so glad you received some insight from my research yesterday!! To God be ALL the Glory!!! …I also really appreciate you sharing the different types of North!!! What an AWESOME analogy!!!! Thank you dear sister!! Many Blessings be upon you!! ❤️

  4. hope says:

    Reading all of Romans 9 will greatly improve the understanding of the given verses today. I was struggling to understand romans 9:22-24 out of context. It helps to read the entire chapter.

  5. SarahJoy says:

    ERB – thank you for sharing all the insight you found on chapter 7 yesterday! I’d encourage everyone to go back and find it. So many ways Hosea compares Israel and its devastating choices to different things: the oven, the dove, the bow. They were missing the mark with God, going their own way and THEY DIDN’T KNOW IT.

    Ugh. So easy to continue down a road that seems easy when nothing redirects you. And it doesn’t take much to get off track, and without returning to the correct path we stray further and further. In land navigation (according to what my husband learned during his time in the Army) there are important things to remember: where you are headed, which north you are following and checking the compass often. There are three north’s: magnetic north, grid north (map north) and true north (off the North Star). These are not all the same. If you don’t know how to navigate between them or don’t check that you’re on track, you can get off course. The longer you go, the further off you will end up. But the thing he reminded me (when I asked him to tell me all this again) that was most important is KNOW WHERE YOU’RE HEADED.

    God, show me the direction to go, teach me the way and correct me when I head off the path. You are such a gracious God.

  6. M H says:

    Thanks for explaining that analogy, Elizabeth.

  7. Sissy Watson says:

    Wow I never looked deeper into the oven…so good

  8. ERB says:

    ANGIE, I absolutely LOVED your king story and the analogy that went with it, so much so that I copied it down in my journal!! Thank you so much for sharing it and for sharing your heart. You my sister are very sweet and dear. ❤️

    I also LOVED what Bailey said in today’s devotional “Israel had some false hopes. Looking at Hosea 8, we see the Israelites’ desire for God to accept their religious practices and cries for help, even though they didn’t come from the heart. They offer sacrifices in hopes that God would accept them. They appoint leaders and build palaces in the hope of protection and victory. They hope to please God even though they have rebelled against Him. But, instead, all of these outward acts lead to judgment and destruction because they are just that—acts. 
    God is after something entirely different. He’s after our hearts. What the people of Israel think is a mutually pleasing relationship appears to be only empty knowledge on their part. Without truly knowing God, they are left with empty actions and rituals instead of a genuine relationship. Empty, outward things will not deliver. It is impossible to flourish if we have forgotten our Maker.”

    SO many TRUTH nuggets today!!! I am so thankful for the TRUTH and for God calling us, up and out!!! Such a good, grace & love filled Father we have!! His pursuit of us, even in our unfaithfulness is a testimony in and of itself!!! So grateful!!!

    Many Blessings dear sisters!!! Xoxo

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