Set the trumpet to your lips!

One like a vulture is over the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed my covenant and rebelled against my law.

Hosea 8: 1

 

Vultures are one of earth’s common denominators. They are found in almost every area of the planet. Their role as cleaners is well known, and they are amazingly good at the task that God designed them to perform. Yet, they are not animals that most people associate with good images or with playful fun. Their presence means that death is either present or very near. Their behavior of circling above their intended meal seems to mock the very dignity of life, and it defies our idea of control over our bodies in this world and in the next. Simply, most people just don’t like vultures and do not want them to be around us. This appears to have been true in Hosea’s time too. When he wants to provide a very disturbing image of what is looming ahead for his God-defying nation, Hosea speaks about the appearance over the land of a destructive force that is likened to one of these detestable birds.

 

God speaks through the prophet in order to provide His people with the opportunity to save themselves. They can listen to God’s rebuke and warning or they can continue to live in defiance of His righteousness. The nation has the choice to repent of its sinful adoption of idol worship or it can trust in those same mute idols to save it when it is time to face God’s just and holy wrath. There is no question that God is warning them that this terrible day of reckoning is very near. The vulture doesn’t start mapping out its victim and planning its approach until the odor of impending death is in the air. Although the nation is badly compromised and weakened by the disease of selfish pride and arrogant independence, it is not yet dead. There is still time to regain strength and to return to the health of God’s just and righteous path.

 

So, Hosea provides them with one, singular piece of instruction. They are to sound the trumpet. In those days this was a national call to all of the people to gather together. The trumpet was sounded to proclaim that there was a compelling need for them to seek out the Lord and to gather in worship before Him. Just as the vulture’s role has not changed over the years, so also has God’s desire to save us from our self-destructive ways remained constant. If you cannot hear the wings of the great carrion eating bird overhead, then perhaps you have your ears too filled with the hollow sounds of our own deceptive rhetoric. Salvation will not be found in the halls of politics. It is not provided through conquest and might of arms. The words of God’s truth will be placed into the law of our nations only as God, Himself, becomes our only sovereign ruler. In our days of great distress we need to lift the trumpet to our lips and sound the call. Followers of Christ need to set aside personal agenda and differences in order to join together in humble submission and repentance before God. In His truth we will find our way, and through His grace and unending love we will be saved.

 

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