"Their deeds will not allow them To return to their God. For a spirit of harlotry is within them, And they do not know the LORD. Moreover, the pride of Israel testifies against him, And Israel and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity; Judah also has stumbled with them. They will go with their flocks and herds To seek the LORD, but they will not find Him; He has withdrawn from them."
We often read the prophets and thank God for the reminder. The interesting thing about a reminder is that it serves very little purpose if it does in some way impact our behavior and choices. Israel was continually reminded by the prophets but all too often the words of the prophets did not result in change without a corresponding loss in their lives.
We have this view that God is willing to just stand by and watch us destroy the world around us. We accept the forgiveness of salvation without the corresponding change of heart resulting in a change of deeds. Hosea calls this the spirit of harlotry. Israel was married to their God and yet their “deeds did not allow them to return to their God.” They did not know their own God. And the frightening result was that God was no longer there for them.
"They will go with their flocks and herds To seek the LORD, but they will not find Him; He has withdrawn from them."
We are the bride of Christ. Are we faithful? I have learned in life that when God feels far away it is not because He has changed. I have played the harlot. I have depended on the false Gods of this world for my comfort. I have sought the false wisdom of this world for my answers. I have determined that I will take care of the short term needs of this life and let God take care of the eternal. And God feels far away.
These words do not give us three steps to spirituality. These words cause us to pause and ask ourselves if God is really “all I need” as we sing in our songs. These words cause us to reflect if our “deeds will not allow” us to return to God. And He feels far away.
The wonderful truth is that in the midst of these words of warning and reality that we read in Hosea, we find words of comfort and hope. God is there. God is still our God. God is still in control. God simply wants us to repent from playing the harlot and trust in Him and nothing else. He says in 6:6
"For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."
The simple question that I ask myself is, “What are my deeds that will not allow me to return to my God?”