I want to give you four tragic results that befall those who dethrone the Lord.
1. "Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself" (Hosea 10:1).
Everyone in Israel was looking out for himself and the result was total emptiness. Hosea was speaking to believers, showing them a picture of what happens to all who dethrone the Lord in their lives. Such people become selfish and miserable and their every pursuit ends in emptiness.
2. "Their heart is divided . . . he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images" (verse 2).
Our nation's heart is divided. Americans pay lip service to God and religion, but they do not worship the Lord in truth. That has led directly to the breakdown of all our hallowed institutions. When you lose faith in God and place your trust in something else, that thing becomes an idol. This is happening in our nation today. Our society no longer trusts God, turning instead to the government, the President, the educational system, Social Security—all to try to find some kind of stability. God is saying, "If you won't trust Me, I'll make all your trusted institutions fail."
3. "Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity . . . because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men" (verse 13).
Hosea is saying, "You stopped trusting in the Lord and now you're going to reap a harvest of iniquity!" Humankind today is sophisticated, educated, knowledgeable. We have dethroned God—rejecting the Bible and prayer—and enthroned science, psychology and education. Yet, I ask you: What has been the harvest? What has all our sophisticated learning brought us?
4. "We have no king, because we feared not the Lord" (verse 3).
Hosea was a prophet over Israel, but when Israel's backsliding began, he was powerless to stop the loss of faith. His words carried no authority. Whenever he spoke, the people merely shook their heads and said, "We have no leadership, no direction. We're drifting."
That is just what is happening in America right now and the same thing is happening in the church today. Many Christians mock their pastors, ridiculing their authority. Why? Because these men's words carry no power. People are saying, "We no longer have any leadership in our church. We're lost, confused." That is the payday for dethroning the Lord!