Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Stumbling in Broad Daylight

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel!  The Lord has brought charges against you, saying:  “There is no faithfulness, no kindness, no knowledge of God in your land.  You make vows and break them; you kill and steal and commit adultery.  There is violence everywhere—one murder after another. 
That is why your land is in mourning, and everyone is wasting away.  Even the wild animals, the birds of the sky, and the fish of the sea are disappearing.   “Don’t point your finger at someone else and try to pass the blame!  My complaint, you priests, is with you.
So you will stumble in broad daylight, and your false prophets will fall with you in the night.  And I will destroy Israel, your mother.  My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me.   Hosea 4:1-6a (NLT)
It’s hard to think about something that hits close to home; it’s harder to write about it.  And it’s the pits to preach about it! 

And this is one of those texts.

Hosea announces God’s case against Israel for worshiping falsely – being a spiritual harlot; they don’t live faithfully or kindly.  Among the charges are lying, stealing, adultery, and a general unfaithfulness to being God’s people.

That’s bad enough; but then Hosea blames it on the preachers who should be pointing the way to God – showing every human being who God is and how to serve him. 

Instead, the preachers are heaping the guilt of sin on people so the offerings keep coming in.  The people don’t know God, and the priests (preachers) are keeping them in darkness because it’s good for business.

Reads like today’s headlines, doesn’t it?

Hosea completes God’s indictment against his people by characterizing the whole nation as “drunk”.  They stumble in broad daylight, and the false prophets will sink with them into the dark-hole-morass of character-disintegration, and it’s all first-degree sin – no one else to blame for the punishment!  And God himself would pull the trigger.

Wow!  Just, WOW!

So…what do you do when you stand before a judge and the charges are piled-up like a stack of LEGOS, teetering back and forth; everything is at stake and the building of your life’s history is about to crumble like the Twin Towers? 

And Almighty God is the judge?

Well, if you’re smart you throw yourself open to a guilty plea, appeal to the mercy of the court and await the judge’s call.  But history teaches us God’s people weren’t like that too often. More than not they stoned the messengers – God’s prophets – and then suffered the judgment; not so smart!

These Days

We have the same track record unfolding in 21st century America.  And we’re prone to responding just as dimly as Israel did so often in her history. 

I believe we have a short-sighted perspective on the dangerous path our country is following.  America has only been a nation for 238 years.  Israel’s history has been unfolding for more than 3,000 years.  We should learn the lesson of Scriptural holiness.

I also believe that nothing short of a sweeping flood of revival in American culture will keep us from suffering the same kind of stumbling in broad daylight Hosea predicted.

It was not pretty in Israel, and it will not be pretty in America.

For You, Today

Pray for America, our leaders and its government to turn to righteousness.
Pray for the spiritual leaders of our churches; like the priests in Hosea’s day, today there’s a generation at stake who are blind, stumbling in the darkness of broad daylight.  And too many preachers are simply humming lullabies in pulpits, when we should be sounding the alarm.  
God forgive us.

We need God’s revival in the land…and it begins in our hearts…each of us.

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