Israel’s False Hopes

Open Your Bible

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

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. 

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50 thoughts on "Israel’s False Hopes"

  1. Dorothy Saller says:

    God’s hope and love have gotten me through many things in my over 60 years of life. This hope and love have lead me to a faith that is strong and beliefs that don’t waiver. My God, my Christ, my Holy Spirit have and always will be with me through the good and the bad.
    My siblings and I were brought up Christians, one has totally strayed away from God and Christ, one has had wavering faith and the believes but I’m not certain where he is due to issues at his church. I have my faith and my hope and my love for the Lord and as my father told my oldest brother when my older son died, “her faith runs deep”.
    REJOICE that the Lord has given us the HOPE for ETERNAL LIFE because He sent His One and Only Son to die for our sins!!
    To any of my sisters who do volunteer work bless you, because on volunteers at the church where Finley’s (the little girl I care for) family go to I get a night off. They are having a special night out for parents of special needs children.
    Have a blessed and wonderful weekend sisters of Christ.

  2. Foster Mama says:

    Thank you for that highlight ALESHIA CROOM! I do “grow weary of doing good” and often feel I have the rest of my long life to perfect my path (knowing FULL WELL tomorrow is not guaranteed).

    One verse that REALLY struck me was Hosea 7:9…the only way not to notice “streaks of grey” is to not look in the mirror, not examine myself, not seek wise counsel to (essentially) help me with the things I cannot see (essentially the back of my head)…{stick with me here, Sisters}…What if I am just spending my life pulling whatever “hair I can reach” over my shoulder to my eyes, check it, deal with the little I CAN see and satisfied?!

    ANGIE,BECKY KORTMAN, SARAHJOY / CEEGEE (Am I fooled that I am following the “correct” north? Wow!), MELISSA, ERB (I
    thought a LOT yesterday about the unflipped pancake) thanks for your INVALUABLE to me posts.

    Lord, give me a heart to want to know You intimately, and seek to please You in the way the YOU “approve”/ordain (Hosea 8:4)…help me avoid any type of FOMO, knowing You are All in all! Let this prayer of mine penetrate my own being and not be surface. Indeed as my sister MARI V wrote, may I NEVER forget You, my Maker!! May I never forget that all my oil, jewels, grain, (skills, opportunities, resources, insights, breath, assurance…) is from YOU, and not my “lovers”!!!

    Thank You for Your precious hand upon me. I know I can be annoying but, please NEVER stop pursuing me!!

    (Blessed day Sisters ❤️)

  3. Mari V says:

    *hope.
    

  4. Mari V says:

    May I never forget my Maker! He is EVERYTHING to me! I have walked a hard road but has never been alone. My Jesus has walked every step with me. My prayer is that my life experiences would be helpful to another woman Who may need some he

  5. Chelsea Little says:

    Whew thank you all for your reflections! They truly help me better grasp the readings. God is just so good!❤️

  6. Lexi B says:

    CeeGee, I loved the True North vs Magnetic North explanation. So much of this applies with our walk with God. Thank you for this!

  7. Chris Swan says:

    Again— such beautiful insights. Thanks ladies for sharing. Faith is a gift from God, having that faith includes trust— and trusting God takes faith!

  8. CeeGee says:

    SARAHJOY, you prompted me to do a little read about How to Use a Compass on WikiHow. Like your husband said, 1 degree off has disastrous results! “Understand the difference between “true” North and “magnetic” North. While it might seem confusing that there are two kinds of “North,” it’s a basic distinction that you can learn quickly, and it’s an essential piece of information to learn to use a compass properly.[3]
    True North or Map North refers to the point at which all longitudinal lines meet on the map, at the North Pole. All maps are laid out the same, with True North at the top of the map. Unfortunately, because of slight variations in the magnetic field, your compass won’t point to True North, it’ll point to Magnetic North.
    Magnetic North refers to the tilt of the magnetic field, about eleven degrees from the tilt of the Earth’s axis, making the difference between True North and Magnetic North different by as many as 20 degrees in some places. Depending where you are on the surface of the Earth, you’ll have to account for the Magnetic shift to get an accurate reading.
    While the difference may seem incidental, traveling just one degree off for the distance of a mile will have you about 100 feet (30.5 m) off track. Think of how off you’ll be after ten or twenty miles. It’s important to compensate by taking the declination into account.” There is so much there to apply to our walk with God! Happy weekend ladies!