The Prophet Hosea on Mercy and Truth
For over two hundred years after the death of Solomon, those ten tribes in the northern part of Palestine never worshiped God. If you want to see just how longsuffering God is, consider that during this time they had nineteen kings and not a single one of them was righteous. It was not that they had no way to know God, for He sent prophet after prophet to call them back. They refused to hear.
They chose to not know Him. God’s messenger, Hosea, described them and their destiny in this way: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you from being a priest to Me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children” (Hos. 4:6). The end was at hand. It was the end of that nation. Their children would never enjoy the favor of God again.
How did all of this happen? Look at the verses in the first part of Hosea chapter four. In the very first verse, Hosea describes the path traveled by Israel in its journey away from God. “There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land.” Where there is no desire for truth, there is no room for true mercy and compassion. Think of how often truth and mercy are connected with the Lord. Remove these from any nation, and there is no hope for that nation. They have left these holy values and ignorance of God prevails.
What happens in a society where there is no mercy, truth and knowledge? Look at the words found in verse two. There is swearing and lying. We tend to think of swearing as using profanity, but in this context, the emphasis is swearing to tell the truth and not doing it.
What else happens? There is killing, stealing and adultery. Killing is also described in the last part of this verse as bloodshed upon bloodshed. The blood of the oppressed flows so freely that it touches the flow of blood from other killings. There is theft of property and even the taking of another man’s wife. Adultery in any nation will ultimately lead to the moral decay of that nation.
The most revealing phrase in this path away from God is, “They break all restraint.” The entry of sin may begin with a “little sin,” but it does not end there. The Bible describes it as adding sin to sin. The door through which little sins enter soon opens to the entry of many others. There finally is no restraint in our lives. “They break all restraint.” We think it cannot happen, but it is inevitable!
Read these verses again. How far is America from being like Israel—no mercy, truth or knowledge? How close are we from being a nation which has broken all restraint?