She does not recognizeHosea 2:8-13
that it is I who gave her the grain,
the new wine, and the fresh oil.
I lavished silver and gold on her,
which they used for Baal.
Therefore, I will take back my grain in its time
and my new wine in its season;
I will take away my wool and linen,
which were to cover her nakedness.
Now I will expose her shame
in the sight of her lovers,
and no one will rescue her from my power.
I will put an end to all her celebrations:
her feasts, New Moons, and Sabbaths—
all her festivals.
I will devastate her vines and fig trees.
She thinks that these are her wages
that her lovers have given her.
I will turn them into a thicket,
and the wild animals will eat them.
And I will punish her for the days of the Baals,
to which she burned incense.
She put on her rings and her jewelry
and followed her lovers,
but she forgot me.
The parallels between Gomer’s adultery and Israel’s adultery become more apparent in Hosea 2. Just as Gomer continues to pursue other men as she is married to Hosea, Israel continues to pursue other gods, particularly the fertility god, Baal. They hope that they will receive an agricultural blessing from Baal by appeasing him. What they fail to recognize is that Yahweh has been providing all these things to them already. So, Yahweh decides to remove His blessing at protection on the crops of Israel in hopes of them coming to their senses and returning to Him. The goal of God’s punishment is often the restoration of a lost relationship.
We are not unlike the Israelites in this passage. We seek after blessings and favors from others while we forget that God is the ultimate source of our blessings. At times, then, God will remove His blessings, not because He is petty but because He desires that we return to a relationship with Him. Material blessings are not bad in and of themselves. Still, if we allow our pursuit of material provision to get in the way of our relationship with God, God will eventually let us go our own way until we experience the self-destructive tendencies of unbridled materialism and greed. He hopes then that we will return to our senses and come back to a relationship with Him.
- Have you allowed the pursuit of material blessings to get in the way of your relationship with God?