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. Nicole Stiles says:

    It’s so frustrating that God offers us something so simple and we make it complicated by trying to do it our own way. I’m thankful for these stories that remind me that my striving is pointless, all I need to is cling to the Lord.

  2. Ruth Long says:

    This is a heavy read. So often, I forget that God has made me for a purpose, a good one. I forget he is real, and prepared for me to come to him, even in anger, spilling out my rage and anxiety and sadness with him. I am sobered by it. The heaviest poetic line for me was, “they returned, but not upward.”

  3. Miri am says:

    The word of the Lord is alive and powerful, sharper than a two edged sword cutting between soul and spirit, exposing our innermost thoughts and desires. Boy do I feel convicted today! Firstly, I am weary and today reminded me to keep going tonserve the Lord. Secondly, I am a wailer. Legit lies on bed wailing and today has really made me realise that I am not crying from my heart to God but just wailing. Thirdly, how many “little kings” have I installed in place of my one true King?! Lord, be the only King of my heart because you have all I ever needed or will ever need ❤

  4. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I do t want to forget my maker, the way the Israelites did. The sad truth is, I so often forget my maker and all that he has done for me. I know the important thing is, coming back to him when we forget him and fail.

  5. Mandy Ferrugia says:

    This study is teaching me so much about the Father’s heart. God doesn’t want empty sacrifice or offerings just for the sake of going through the motions. He wants our hearts, fully surrendered and on fire for Him. Hosea 7:13-14 really stuck out to me – God desperately wants to redeem us and have a genuine relationship with each of us, but we have to fully want one as well. He’s not going to force us to choose Him, we have to make that choice. But oh how desperately He loves us…reading His laments breaks my heart and allows me to see even more clearly how much He loves us and desires fellowship with His children. I pray that I remember every day to seek Him, choose Him, and cry out to Him from the depths of my heart. Amen! xx

  6. Nads says:

    Fabulous posts the last few days!

    Oh MARI ❤️ V… Praying!!! I’m holding your hand.

    VICTORIA E… Thinking about your peanut today. Even now, I pray he will be a man of faith, who never forget his Maker! :D

    Praying for all our kids and youth especially today!!

  7. Mari V says:

    I’m at the doctors. Splint removed. Waiting for x-ray. I started crying. Lots of staples. Praying that it’s healing properly. I miss work.

  8. Victoria E says:

    I agree with hope, reading all of Romans 9 (it is not too long!) really helped with understanding the larger message than just the two verses presented here. Thank you all for all your amazing comments and insight as usual!

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