Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 6- Married to Idolatry

December 6, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Hosea 4:1-5:15; 2 John 1-13;
Psalm 125:1-5; Proverbs 29:9-11

Superstition, idolatry, and hypocrisy have ample wages, but truth goes a-begging. ~Martin Luther

Hosea 4:1-5:15

Yesterday we saw that God commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute. The marriage resulted in one child that was legitimately Hosea's child and two children that were not necessarily his. The humiliation and shame that Hosea must have felt is a vivid image of God's relationship with the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  Like Hosea, God was married to a harlot who loved other men.  God also experienced the pain of having his wife produce illegitimate children.  This is in a spiritual sense, of course.

The Lawsuit:

God files His lawsuit against this idolatrous people. His list of complaints are long and specific.  Here they are:
  • There is no faithfulness, kindness, no knowledge of God in your land. Vs. 1
  • They curse, lie, kill, steal and commit adultery. Vs. 2
  • There is violence everywhere. Vs. 2
  • Their sin has affected the land and the animals. Vs. 3
  • The priests have prevented the people from knowing their God. Vs. 6
  • They have exchanged the glory of God for the disgrace of idols. Vs. 7
  • The priests are happy when people sin, because then they will bring food to the priest for a sin offering. Vs. 8
  • Alcohol and prostitution have robbed the people of their brains. vs. 11
  • They consult a piece of wood to tell them what to do and what the future will bring. Vs. 12
  • They sacrifice to idols under the trees. Vs. 13
  • Their daughters have turned to prostitution and their daughter-in-laws are adulterers. Vs. 13
  • Israel is married to idolatry. Vs. 17
  • Men finish their drinking bouts and go find a prostitute. Vs. 18
  • Their love of shame is greater than their love of honor. Vs. 19
Chapter 5 -Conclusion:

God says in verse 2 that He will settle with all of them for what they have done. He predicts that Israel will stumble under the load of her guilt. When Israel's day of judgment comes, she will be a heap of rubble. She will be crushed and broken by God's judgment. Ultimately, she will be carried off into captivity with no one to rescue her.

As I read God's complaints against Israel, I was struck with how His words could apply to our nation today.  We are also married to the idolatry of pleasure, drunkenness, immorality, entertainment, materialism, and the love of shame, rather than love of honor.

God's covenant relationship with the nation of Israel included the Israelites being able to stay in the Promised Land on the condition that they worship God alone and obey His Laws. This lawsuit is God's proclamation that Israel has broken the covenant of obeying the Law.

The Israelites are an object lesson to all of humanity. Jesus Christ is the bridegroom and His Church is the bride.  Are we as His bride being faithful to our husband? We must reflect upon what we have chosen in our lives.  Have we married ourselves to the false idols of wealth and pleasure?  Or are we married to Christ and committed to His ways?  Are we loyal to our first love? Do we accept that God is just and sin will be judged if it is not forgiven through the blood of Christ?

Lesson: Sin results in judgment from a Just God. God is just. God punishes sin. Jesus Christ came to earth to solve the problem of sin. His death atones for our sins. Obedient living that reflects our love of Jesus should be the result of our marriage to Christ. Chasing after things, materialism, pleasure, and self-gratification represents wandering away from our first love.

2 John 1-13

In John's second letter, he is writing a letter to either a lady named Electa in a church and her children or he is writing to The Church, which is elect and chosen by God.  Either way, John's focus is the truth. John is an old man at this time and refers to himself as the elder.

Once again, the Church is told by John to commit to loving the members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Remember that John is the apostle of love. John points out that this is not a new commandment. He defines love as doing what God has commanded us, and He has commanded the Church to love one another.  We see from the Old Testament reading today that the nation of Israel faltered in not loving God. They also did not obey God's commandments, which reflected their lack of love for God.  John warns the Church to love God by being obedient and loving other Christians.

This teaching is subtly different from what many in the modern church teach.  In our day, the focus is often on us loving the unbeliever, rather than the believer.  This has led to the Church focusing a great amount of time, energy, and resources on the unbelieving world.  A study of the New Testament epistles shows that the focus in the early church was to present the gospel to the unbelieving world and then focus resources, time, and energy on those people who accept the gospel of Christ and become part of God's family.  The blessings of being a member of God's family include the love, fellowship, and help of the body of Christ.  I believe we have lost this focus in the modern church.

John goes so far as to encourage the Church to not fellowship with false teachers. They are not to be invited into the Christian's home or be encouraged in any way. Graciousness is to be extended to those who love Christ, not to those who are working against His Kingdom. 

From John's perspective, to be part of God's family is to be in a spiritual clan. There is love, loyalty, and benefits to being part of this clan. God is the Father and we fellowship together with Him. Our reward is to live forever in the presence of His Love.

Are you part of God's family?  Do you love the other family members?

Psalm 125:1-5

Notice how in vs. 4 the psalmists asks God to do good to those who are good, whose hearts are in tune with you, but to banish those who are evil.  This follows John's thinking.

Proverbs 29:9-11

This proverb speaks of a wise person taking a fool to court.  This reminds me of God taking the nation of Israel to court. Does He need to take you and me to court?  I hope not.

What are you learning?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton


  1. I love what you said here because I thought this same thing when I was reading today as well. It struck me immediately that this could apply to our nation today:

    As I read God's complaints against Israel I was struck with how His words could apply to our nation, today. We, also, are married to the idolatry of pleasure, drunkenness, immorality, entertainment, materialism and love of shame, rather than love of honor.

    On another note, since we are coming towards the end of this year of study, I was thinking how very much I will miss this every day. If you decide to have any sort of additional Bible Study, I would be most interested in being a part of it also. Thanks again for all you share.

  2. Great minds think alike, my friend. At this time, I do not have plans to start another bible study right away, but that doesn't mean that I will not do something in the future.

    I will keep this blog up for anyone who happens to be reading through the One Year Bible and would like to reference my thoughts and writings. I am considering providing study questions for this blog.

    Why don't you friend me (Kathy Fullerton) on Facebook? If I start another blog or do an internet bible study, I will announce it on FB.

    I will miss talking to you as we read, Ellen. It has been great to share this journey.

  3. I'm so very glad that you will be leaving this blog up because I am certain that I will be referencing it at times. I did send a friend request and look forward to staying in touch and to any additional studies you may share in the future. This one has helped to change my life and has also helped make this a truly rewarding year. Thank you again, so very much.

  4. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! He is good and sometimes even uses the poor and humble like me. My how mysterious are His ways. So glad we formed our friendship!