Who is wise? Let them realize these things.
Who is discerning? Let them understand.
The ways of the Lord are right;
the righteous walk in them,
but the rebellious stumble in them.
This final verse really seems to sum up the entire message of Hosea’s prophecy and I don’t believe that I am exaggerating when I say that it is every bit as relevant today as it was so many centuries ago when Hosea first penned them.
I can almost imagine what the people of Hosea’s day might have said in response:
He just wants to control me. He just wants to have power over me. He just wants my money…
And so, the ways of the Lord caused them to stumble and fall. It wasn’t because the Lord wanted anyone to stumble, but because those who heard it refused to take it to heart.
Nothing has changed since then, has it?
We hear these kinds of comments quite a lot these days, even from Christians. That church wants to control me. That church wants power over me. That church just wants my money.
I suppose it would depend on what church happens to be that church, and I must admit that there are bad apples in most any group of fallible humans, but isn’t it about time we all grew up? Look at those statements again:
They (that church) just want− my control, my power, my money.
Here’s a question for all of us to consider: In Hosea’s story, when does Israel come to repentance?
Have you considered it…? OK, here’s the answer: Not until after they had been humbled.
Israel’s downfall came from pride and arrogance, and quite honestly that’s the genesis of our downfalls as well. Look again:
my control, my power, my money
How did I get to be so important that everyone wants to control me, to have power over me and to take my money? Here’s how Paul put it in Romans 12:3…
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
To follow the righteous ways of God is to be set free from arrogance and pride which lead to idolatry and total chaos in our lives, so that we can not only live in freedom from fear and anger, but to enrich our relationships with both Man and God.