God had blessed and prospered Israel, giving them houses they had not built and vineyards they had not planted. He had raised up godly men to speak as prophets and given the people clear words of direction. For years the people had proven God faithful, listening to His counsel and never turning to the flesh. Whenever God spoke to them, they obeyed, and they were miraculously delivered from powerful enemies.
But an apostasy had come over Israel and the Lord accused them of being guilty of wickedness. The prophet Hosea describes the terrible harvest reaped by those who reject God’s lordship and turn to the arm of flesh. When Hosea wrote his prophetic message, he addressed a people whom the Lord had carried in His arms for years.
“They are deeply corrupted . . . [and] all their princes are rebellious” (Hosea 9:9 and 15). What awful sin had God’s people committed? Drunkenness? Sexual perversion? Covetousness? Adultery? Murder? No, God said their wickedness was in turning away from His counsel, ignoring His word and obeying man.
“God will cast them away, because they did not obey Him” (verse 17). In God’s eyes, the greatest wickedness a believer can commit is to no longer depend on Him!
In essence, the Lord was telling Israel, “You no longer trust in Me. I’m no longer your guide and you are turning to the wisdom of man. You are running back to Egypt for help, back to the place from which I delivered you, rejecting My word and turning from Me.”
A great Puritan prophet once wrote: “Pure power is never anxious for cooperating. It just demands.” In other words, God doesn’t say to you, “You do your part and I’ll do mine. Just check in with Me occasionally.” No, absolutely not! God is pure, raw power and He demands that we follow Him, first and foremost, in all that we do. Anything short of this maligns His kingship over our lives.