Hosea chapter 7 tells of a society gone wrong. When the Lord came to “heal Israel,” He found them in “iniquity and evil deeds,” “dealing falsely” (v 1). Their rulers didn’t try to stop this, but were “glad” in “wickedness and lies” (v. 3). Their sins seems familiar to our own day: “false dealing and theft” (v. 1), “lies” (v. 3), “adulteries” (v. 4), “anger” (v. 6), “pride” (v. 10), “turning against God” (v. 14) and “insolent tongues” (v. 16). And they did all this without social media!
The unique thing about Hosea 7 is not the peoples’ sins nor judgments that they bring, for these are all too common. Rather its the attention grabbing imagery that Hosea uses to describe their situation as he tries to renew them to repentance.
Hosea starts with imagery from a bakery. The people are “heated up like a baker’s oven” (v. 4), “sick with the heat of wine” (v. 5), “hearts like an oven…smoldering…burning like a flame” (v. 6) and he repeats, “hot like an oven” (v. 7). Amongst all this heat, they “have become a cake not turned” (v. 8). Picture a pancake that got cooked on only one side—part burned, part raw. and all useless.
Then the prophet turns to birds. Israel is “like a silly dove without sense, calling out” to false saviors. (v. 11). So God “will spread His net over them and bring them down” (v. 12) because “they have rebelled and spoken lies against” God (v. 13).
This path was disastrous for Israel, but they wouldn’t humble themselves before God and turn from it. So the people are reduced to “wailing on their bed” as they “turn away from God” (vs. 14). And finally, “they turn, but not upward” (vs. 16).
Let us see the need to be a bit cooler in our passions, more sensible and useful, and taking effective action to seek God, not flee from Him.