Have you ever been present in a courtroom when a bailiff says, “All rise,” just before the judge enters the room? Everyone in attendance stands to attention, out of respect—for the judge and for the law. Today’s passage begins with a similar proclamation. “Hear, you priests! Pay attention, you Israelites! Listen, O royal house!” The spiritual, social, and political leaders were all being put on trial, and God’s judgment was about to be delivered. “Hear ye! Hear ye!”
The case brought against these leaders was threefold. First, they had laid traps for the people at Mizpah and Tabor (NIV, “slaughter”). These sacred locations had become centers for apostasy. The hunting imagery of snares and nets suggests an inten- tional enticement for the purpose of entanglement had taken place. In other words, these leaders knew well what they were doing. They could not plead ignorance. And God determined to discipline all of them (v. 2).
Second, they had encouraged the people in their spiritual promiscuity until their hearts became completely captivated by the spirit of prostitution. These leaders’ affections were being lavished on idols, so that they did not even acknowledge the Lord. The extent of their infidelity rendered reconciliation with Him seemingly impossible (v. 4).
Third, they were pursuing this path of prostitution with pride (v. 5). They were unashamedly unfaithful. And, as a result, God withdrew His presence from the people (v. 6). Just as God judged the leaders at the time of Hosea, He will judge those who lead today, spiritually, socially, and politically. Consider those holding leadership positions in today’s world. Are they pointing people toward God or away from Him?
>> Pride is at the root of so many other sins. Pride won’t admit need or acknowledge wrong. Pride refuses to repent. Pride hardens the heart and prevents change. And pride— unchecked—leads to destruction (Prov. 16:18).
It’s easy for us to point out people who venerate evil as good. We ask today that You would reveal to us ways we sometimes use to lean toward what You have declared unclean. Convict us, humble us, and lead us to repentance.