We are naturally inclined toward the positive and encouraging matters we read in God’s word. It has been encouraging today to read of the faith and commitment of Ezra in leading many of God’s people back from captivity to Jerusalem. We also read of Paul’s arrival in Rome and how “he lived there two whole years … and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.”
This is how the Acts of the Apostles ends and we have no certain information as to what happened after that. We see, however, the essential thrust of Paul’s teaching – “proclaiming the kingdom of God” and lament that such a message is largely absent among Christians today.
In Hosea 5 today we read many things that are equally appropriate to today’s situation. The chapter starts, “Rejoice not, O Israel! Exult not like the peoples”. The prophet challenges the people, “What will you do on the day of the appointed festival?” (verse 5). We are approaching the season of Christmas but we note that God’s son was certainly not born on Christmas Day. That is not particularly a day to remember (the early church didn’t) but we are told to remember Christ’s death and resurrection every week.
Hosea tells them, “the days of punishment have come” (verse 7). Hosea as the true prophet is the “watchman of Ephraim (the northern kingdom) with my God” (verse 8).
What is a watchman? One who sees the situation from God’s perspective, and warns when there is a need, as God guides him. Hosea is aware “they have deeply corrupted themselves” and God “will remember their iniquity, he will punish their sins” (verse 9). God then says, through Hosea, “Woe to them when I depart from them” (verse 12). They will wake up too late, just like our world will – maybe very soon!
In his final verse Hosea writes, “My God will reject them because they have not listened to him”. Today, what would a true prophet say? Would anyone listen? More important, what you would say?