African Field Hand

Hosea 4:7 “The more the priests increased, the more they sinned against Me; they exchanged their Glory for something disgraceful.”

Observation: Through the prophet Hosea, God condemns both the nation of Israel and their priests. They had rejected knowledge, so God had rejected them (Hosea 4:6) The priests, Hosea said, have fed “on the sins of my people and relish their wickedness … ” (v. 8) In their unfaithfulness to God, they have been led astray by a spirit of prostitution. (v. 12) Then comes the summary indictment: “They exchanged their Glory for something disgraceful.”

Application: Israel and her priests had a small beginning; they started out modest in size and wealth, but had grown tremendously over the generations. God’s love and blessing had brought them great wealth and power, but with increased blessing had come increased sin. As affluence and power increased, they had fallen away from God. With national prominence, military victory and increasing creature comforts had come self-reliance and disgusting indulgences.

Their glory flowed directly from God’s blessing. It was by His grace that they had grown in number, wealth and power. These were her glory, yet see how far Israel was about to fall.

I am never more vulnerable than in a season of great accomplishment. That financial pinnacle I’ve worked hard to gain, the important military accomplishment, the winning season after a long dry spell … these successes bring glory, yet the danger is this: it is from such heights that the severest fall is possible.

Danger lies in my tendency to revel in such glories, forgetting that they are simply the fruit of God’s sovereign grace in my life. I may have worked hard in pursuit of some important goal, but it is arrogance to presume success is my right; might not a poor laborer with a hoe in the African sun have labored far more? That African field hand may well find himself in a more right relationship with God than the wealthiest corporate titan. Then who is the impoverished one? Whose future should I prefer?

Ultimately, I run the risk of being counted among the priests addressed by Hosea, for if I dishonor God in the midst of His abundant blessing, then that very blessing becomes my shame. The writer of 1 Samuel 2:30 got it just right when he said, “Those who honor Me I will honor, but those who despise Me will be disdained.”

Prayer: Lord, You keep drawing me back to dependence upon You, where You challenge me to be content. Your grace has produced much undeserved glory in my life. Keep me ever mindful of glory’s Source.

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