Roman Robroek has a passion for photographing abandoned buildings. His stunning—sometimes shocking—pictures reflect his love of architecture, culture, and history. As you look at his time capsule photographs, you can’t help but wonder: What happened here? But his series on European churches in various states of decay evokes a particular curiosity. One photo of a 19th-century Gothic chapel—its floor covered in vegetation—captures both the grandeur of God and the temporal nature of our human attempts at glory.
Hosea 10 continues the indictment for Israel’s idolatry, but the tone shifts slightly from the first-person accusations of previous chapters. Here, Hosea describes the lustful nature of the people’s worship. They welcomed God’s provision, but only for their personal fulfillment, using His blessings to multiply their altars and idols (v. 1). By increasing their veneration of these pagan fertility gods, they hoped for even greater prosperity. Whatever they received only fueled the desire for more. They were never satiated as they lusted after all the wrong things.
The Lord’s simple solution to their misplaced, mercenary devotion was demolition and destruction (v. 2). He promised to tear down their altars and their sacred stones. They were foolish to rejoice in temporal things. The golden calf would soon be stolen (vv. 5, 6). The “high places” they built would be covered by thorns and thistles (v. 8). In addition to their idolatry being sinful, the Lord let them know, it was also perishable. It could not stand against nature, enemies, and most of all, the mighty hand of God. “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flower of the field; the grass withers, and the flower falls off” (1 Peter 1:24).
>> We can’t keep reading Hosea without coming back to that same question: What idols do we worship? In what ways do we sometimes use God’s gifts for selfish gain? Consider the idolatry you may be practicing and how you can make this right.
Lord, at times we worship other human beings—parents, pastors, leaders—and when they fail, shattering our illusions, we despise them. Forgive us for our idolatry, for detesting those who disappoint us.