Commentary: Is Hosea’s warning relevant to us today?

  |  Source: Denison Forum

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Oreo has released limited-edition rainbow cookies in support of the LGBTQ+ community. They are not sold in stores; to receive a pack, you need to share a photo of “you and your friends at last year’s Pride parade, your chosen family, or how you show allyship for others.”

In other news, crowds in Los Angeles gathered in defiance of COVID-19 guidelines after the Lakers won the NBA title Sunday. Looting broke out, and bottles and fireworks were thrown at police. The police department arrested 76 people for “confrontational, violent, and destructive behavior.” Eight officers were injured, and more than 30 buildings were damaged.

Meanwhile, protesters in Portland knocked down statues of Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln in a declaration of “rage” toward Columbus Day. And a second wave of coronavirus infections has struck Europe, with record high daily infections in several countries amid a widespread case of “COVID-fatigue.”

Here’s another sign that’s a sign of the times: The Satanic Temple wants to put up billboards that show people how to obtain abortions more easily.

Their “religious abortion ritual” is supposed to be a “sacramental act that confirms the right of bodily autonomy.” According to the Satanic Temple, if people perform this ritual, they can claim a religious exemption from mandatory waiting periods, counseling, ultrasounds and other measures required by some states before an abortion can be performed.

However, billboards promoting their ritual have been declined by Lamar Advertising. In response, the Satanic Temple has sued the company. In their lawsuit, they state Lamar rejected the content of the billboards as “misleading and offensive.” The Satanic Temple alleges this rejection was based on religious discrimination.

It would be hard to make this up.

“Thank God for Abortion” necklaces

For many years, evangelical Christians have been asking how America can avoid God’s judgment.

Legalized abortion has killed more than 62 million babies in the United States. So far this year, more than 675,000 preborn children have died by abortion, three times the number of Americans who have died from COVID-19. Abortion is the leading cause of death in the United States, surpassing heart disease and cancer.

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Nonetheless, pro-abortion activists are selling “Thank God for Abortion” necklaces and even abortion-themed ice cream.

Sexual “liberation” moves us further each day from biblical sexual morality. The rising popularity of euthanasia further victimizes some of our most vulnerable people. The epidemic of secularism has led to the wholesale rejection of God’s word and threatens religious liberty in our nation.

Against this backdrop, I am reading the book of Hosea these days and have been deeply impressed by its call to repentance and holiness.

“They shall reap the whirlwind”

In his permissive judgment, our Lord allows us to experience the consequences of our sinful choices. Comparing our society to the sins listed in Romans 1:18–32, it seems clear to me we are at least experiencing God’s permissive judgment of our culture’s immorality.

However, if we do not repent, we experience God’s proactive judgment by which he acts directly to expose our sins and draw us to repentance. Hosea shows us some ways divine judgment escalates. Since his warnings are in God’s word, they are relevant for all time, not just his time (cf. Romans 15:4). Let’s evaluate our cultural moment by what the prophet reveals.

God judges our economy. When we choose the idolatry of materialism, trusting the provision more than the Provider, God responds: “I will take back my grain in its time, and my wine in its season, and I will take away my wool and my flax” (Hosea 2:9).

He judges external religion. When we practice a religion about God but forsake intimate relationship with him, he responds: “I will put an end to all her mirth, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her appointed feasts” (Hosea 2:11).

His judgment can be slow and unseen. The Lord warned: “Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment, because he was determined to go after filth. But I am like a moth to Ephraim, and like dry rot to the house of Judah” (Hosea 5:11–12).

“Moth” and “dry rot” both work in unseen but devastating ways.

Hosea 7:9 repeats God’s warning: “Strangers devour his strength, and he knows it not.”

His judgment escalates. God warns if his people do not repent, “I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear and go away; I will carry off, and no one shall rescue” (Hosea 5:14).

He repeated his warning: “Israel has forgotten his Maker and built palaces, and Judah has multiplied fortified cities; so I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour her strongholds” (Hosea 8:14).

In short, employing one of the most memorable phrases anywhere in Scripture, the Lord warns, “They sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7).

The question of the hour

When Hosea uttered these prophecies, the prosperous and externally religious nation of Israel could not have imagined such warnings would come to pass. However, the nation’s rejection of his call to personal repentance led to their destruction by Assyria in 722 B.C.

To be clear: My purpose today is not to predict our future. Rather, it is to ask whether our nation is experiencing God’s passive judgment and therefore whether we should heed Hosea’s warnings of proactive judgment. And it is to call us to personal repentance and godliness in order that we might be the change our nation needs to embrace.

In Christ the Eternal Son, A.W. Tozer defined “accepting Christ” as having “an attachment to the person of Christ that is revolutionary, complete, and exclusive.” He explained this “attachment” is “revolutionary in that it reverses the life and transforms it completely. It is an attachment to the person of Christ. It is complete in that it leaves no part of the life unaffected. It exempts no area of the life of the total man.”

How attached to Jesus are you today?

Jim Denison is the co-founder and chief vision officer of Denison Forum. He pastored churches in Texas and Georgia and now speaks and writes to empower believers to navigate cultural issues from a biblical perspective.

Oreo rainbow cookies and looting in L.A.: Is Hosea’s warning relevant to us today? was first published in The Daily Article by the Denison Forum. Daily Articles are republished in the Baptist Standard under agreement with Denison Forum and are not intended to represent the Standard’s views.

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