A Tale of Holy Love, Unfaithfulness, Justice, Mercy, and Grace
When the knowledge of God is rejected and there is no understanding, people turn to other things or people to gain wisdom and guidance. Often times that other thing is something silly, foolish, and crazy. This was true of ancient Israel. She rejected the true and living God for measly pieces of wood.
“My people inquire of a piece of wood, and their walking staff gives them oracles. For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have left their God to play the whore.”
Israel exchanged the wisdom and divine direction of God for oracles their walking staffs had to offer. They turned their noses at the thought of seeking God’s guidance and chose instead to ask pieces of wood. They rejected the true and living God for gods made out of wood and stone by their own hands.
How foolish! How silly! But before we get too frustrated and disgusted at ancient Israel, let us examine our own hearts and our own lives, for we also may be guilty of the same things.
In our culture, people tend to think that by rejecting God they can be free from religion. They believe that they don’t need to worship anything or anyone. But this premise is false. It’s a lie straight from Satan to try and deceive the masses. Everyone worships something.
Within each person, God has placed an innate awareness of a great power and force beyond mankind. That awareness was meant to draw and bring man to God, however, when people reject God, they use that awareness to worship other, foolish things. When they look around and see the mysteries of the universe, they don’t fall on their knees before the LORD but rather worship and serve the created rather than the Creator. Thus, religions such as ancestor worship, animism, superstition, and idol worship have been practiced for centuries by various cultures.
While we in 21st century America may not seek guidance from walking sticks or consult chunks of wood for words of wisdom, we have other vices. Fortune telling, palm reading, horoscopes, and fortune cookies are practices our culture looks on as innocent, fun experiments. But the truth is that they are right up there on the foolishness scale with Israel’s pursuit of talking walking staffs. God is the only source of true knowledge. And He is the One that we should turn to for guidance and direction.
So, the question for us is…where do we go when we need instruction? Who do we first seek when we need words of wisdom? The Bible and God? Or to other sources?
Israel turned to pieces of wood and walking staffs when they were in need. However, this didn’t turn out so well for them. Not only did this idolatrous action aggravate God’s holy justice, but it also caused God to withdraw His blessing. Israel never found satisfaction with what they sought and, though they thought they would find pleasure, they never attained it. They were truly a lost and foolish people.
Therefore, let us take heed the warning God gives us through Hosea. Let us be careful and always vigilant to never exchange our true and living God for any other substitute. Instead, let us run to Him first and foremost for guidance, direction, and wisdom.
“They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but not multiply, because they have forsaken the LORD to cherish whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding.”