Isn’t it fascinating to watch skilled prosecutors argue a case? They clearly articulate the charges brought against the suspect. Then they support those allegations with evidence, logic, and witness testimony. In today’s passage, Hosea called the Israelites into God’s courtroom because God Himself had a charge to bring against them. Hosea played the role of the attorney. The accusation was threefold: They had been unfaithful to God. They did not love Him properly. And they did not even acknowledge Him in the land.
Their “unfaithfulness” indicates a lack of commitment, an unreliability, and an indecision about the object of their affection. They were easily distracted by other priorities and lured by other gods. The word for “love” in verse 1 is hesed, a compassionate and covenantal devotion. Hesed describes a dedication to ongoing care that is most often seen in God. But here God accuses the Israelites of not showing hesed toward Him. To “acknowledge” God meant to know Him—not just objectively, but relationally. Because of their syncretism with Canaanite beliefs, the Israelites lacked clear teaching on the nature of the one true God. This knowledge of Him was essential for the faithfulness and the love to grow.
What evidence, then, did Hosea offer to support God’s claims? Primarily, he appealed to the acts of the Israelites themselves. Specifically, they had broken God’s law in the Ten Commandments. Not only had they prostituted themselves with other gods, but they had also lied, cursed, cheated, stolen, and committed adultery—without repentance (v. 2). What may have surprised Hosea’s readers is the pervasiveness of the consequences. Their sin resulted not only in personal pain but also national suffering. As God ordained in the covenant: Obedience brings blessing; unfaithfulness does not.
>> True knowledge of God is essential for us to grow in our love and faithfulness toward Him. How can you deepen your knowledge of Him?
God, nurture us in the knowledge of You. Brush away the shabby misconceptions we have of who You are, and give us childlike wonder as Your true nature unfolds to us. To know You is life!