Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites,
because the Lord has a charge to bring
against you who live in the land:
“There is no faithfulness, no love,
no acknowledgment of God in the land. (4:1)
You may remember that earlier in this study I mentioned that prophetic writings have a tendency to repeat, and this is a case in point. In chapter 1 we had an overview of Hosea’s message to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Then in chapter 2 we saw God’s indictment of Israel in more detail, then in chapter 3 we went back to the story of Hosea’s marriage from chapter 1 and saw its conclusion in a way that paralleled the last parts of both chapters 1 and 2.
As chapter 4 begins, we’re back to God’s indictment of Israel.
This is quite a stark contrast from they way that chapter 3 ended, with its messianic theme of redemption, yet, as I say, it is typical of the prophets. In this case, if you use the link to read these verses, you’ll discover that they are pretty much self-explanatory; there aren’t any tricky theological or interpretational elements to them or any difficult images to figure out. Reduced to their simplest form, the people have turned away from God to idolatry. Once they did that, they can justify almost anything because they live lives of drunkenness, greed and sensuality, resulting in lust, violence and gross injustice as each strives to gain everything he or she can to indulge themselves.
They live in a sort of constant stupor, they are not sensible in the slightest, and simply refuse to see the truth in front of them. God has tried to bring them back to sensibility, but they simply do not desire to hear from Him, or to hear of anything that will break the spell they are under. Even the priests have given themselves over to debauchery and greed; their situation is hopeless.
What will God do about this? What is the Plan?
That will begin to unfold in chapter 5- see you next time!