Hear the word of the Lord, o children of Israel,

for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.

There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,

and no knowledge of God in the land.

Hosea 4: 1


Some of us might observe that little has changed in the approximately 2,750 years that have gone by since Hosea was moved by God to state this lament about the condition of his nation and its culture. Others, of course, would disagree heartily; saying that we are progressive and forward-looking. We are no longer bound to the rituals and the myths of ancient religious practice. Our culture has figured out the rightful place for God to occupy. We have discerned that His place is not in the public square, and it is certainly not in the center of our system of governance. Additionally, many have placed God in a secondary or even lesser position in our personal lives. We seek the wisdom of this world long before we give consideration to what our Lord has to say.


It must be apparent by this point that I think that this prophet is speaking about our world and to our hearts. He sets out words that are challenging. His accusations are condemning and personally convicting. All of us are participants in the development of this sadly Godless state of affairs. I am simply not aware of anyone who lives up to God’s standard of righteousness. We all land in this state of being the objects of God’s disappointment, anger, and disapproval. The Lord has a controversy with every person on earth, and there is nothing that we can do about it ourselves.


This situation can lead to hopelessness, or it can bring us to the place of acceptance of the absolute promise of redemption that God has given to humanity. If I see the truth in Hosea’s words as they apply to my world and more importantly to my life, it would seem that I am called to a simple course of action. God wants me to repent, to turn from the ways of thinking and acting that are in defiance of His will. He tells me to submit to His Word so that the Spirit of Christ can begin to change me from the center of my being to the smallest of my actions. Then, Christ calls upon me to follow Him so that there will be knowledge of God in the parts of the world that I touch.