Let’s PREPARE to MEET GOD on the APPOINTED DAY!
September 17 Bible Reading: Hosea Chapters 7-9
"Do not rejoice, O Israel, with joy like other peoples, for you have played the harlot against your God. You have made love for hire on every threshing floor. What will you do in the appointed day, and in the day of the feast of the Lord?" (Hosea 9:1, 5)
During the latter part of Jeroboam’s reign, the prophet Hosea served as God’s spokesman to the northern Kingdom of Israel. As seen from the above passage, he did not hesitate to sharply rebuke the people because they were apostate and totally corrupt in both their public and private lives. Through his own personal life and words, Hosea tried desperately, though unsuccessfully, to convince the Israelites that they must repent and return to Jehovah. In fact, he highlighted the social and moral sins of the people, focusing particularly on the matter of idolatry. He pointed out that, in God’s eyes, they were like an unfaithful wife. God had no choice but to pronounce judgment upon the Israelites!
When Hosea spoke these prophetical words, things perhaps were not so bad in Israel. Maybe there were plenty of fun and good times among the people. It was possible that the Israelites were celebrating a harvest festival (see Lev. 23:33–36), howbeit in heathen style, and was rejoicing over their prosperity. As Boice commented - “it was probably the case, though we do not know this for sure, that Hosea delivered the opening part of this oracle as a sermon on the occasion of a harvest festival…characterized by feasting, mirth, and dancing.”
However, Israel practiced idolatry on the threshing floor, a place where grain was processed. They worshiped idols here because they believed that it helped the harvest. The harvest festivals were probably accompanied by shameful fertility acts as well (4:13, 14). Because of their idolatry and uncleanness, God would curse their harvest, so that their threshing floor and their winepress would not feed them. They had little cause to rejoice as their harvest was like “the wages of a prostitute!”
Thus, God’s judgment would ensure that the Israelites would be expelled from their land of promise due to their shameless harlotry. Because of divine judgment on her covenant disobedience, Israel would not enjoy the fruit of the land (Deut. 28:18), nor celebrate the annual agricultural feasts (Deut. 16:1–17). The time of judgment was very near, and “they would be wanderers among the nations” (v. 17). The prophecies of Hosea were duly fulfilled in 722 BC when the Assyrians, led by Tiglath-Pileser III, invaded Israel and exiled the people. From that time, the northern kingdom ceased to exist!
As we apply this historical incident to our lives, let us be certain that we must always approach God in His way and according to His terms. The price for failure to do this will be captivity and humiliation before our enemies. God has appointed a day in every person’s life to meet Him in order to give an account of how he/she has used valuable resources (time, talent, treasures, etc.) while on this earth. Let us always be conscious of this fact as we move forward in our journey of life. Let us prepare to meet God on the appointed day!