S (Scripture): Hosea 4: 12 My people take advice from a piece of wood,
and their divining rod gives them predictions.
A spirit of prostitution has led them astray;
they have left God to follow other gods.
O (Observation): In the book of Hosea, God encourages Hosea (a prophet for God) to go and marry a prostitute as an object lesson. Hosea obeys, but does not have sex. The point is not that Hosea should “sleep around,” but to make the point: engaging with a prostitute is akin to Israel being “married” to God, yet thinking that other gods hold sway, too.
God is upset with Israel, because so many of God’s people have turned to other gods to satisfy their needs. And those who do turn to God do so for all the wrong reasons (like simply to get what they want, or to get out of trouble without repenting).
A (Application): Good thing that kind of stuff doesn’t happen anymore : )
Yeah…following other gods…that’s a big one. In the Large Catechism, in his explanation of the First Commandment, Martin Luther writes that anything in which we trust is a god.
I love the Avenger movies. In the Avenger movie in which Loki is the main villain and considers himself a “god,” The Hulk beats up Lokey and as he walks away, The Hulk says, “Puny god.”
So, in what do we trust? Money? Power? Status? Salvation in Baptism? The Eucharist? Faith? The Avengers? (Sorry…had to throw that one in there : )
So many things to choose from…so confusing…because everything promises life and abundance. And that is the basis on which the makers of ads / commercials appeal to us: hope.
Get this brand-new lease… Buy this ring for your loved one… Get that new watch…
Will they provide everlasting hope? Nope. Not one bit. Yet we go for it, anyway. Where is God in the picture? Can you be faithful to God AND make big purchases? I think so…yet danger lies in the purchasing of goods for hope.
Think on Matthew 25…Jesus let folks know they fed / clothed / visited him (or didn’t). That makes a big impact on what you do with your money and time.
God is our hope. The Spirit causing us to believe is our hope. Jesus, the one who endured all things is our hope.
May we recognize this hope, and not pimp ourselves out to other gods. And when we do, may we be truly repentant. For God’s grace is always there…ready to be received.
P (Prayer): Lord, help me know how to avoid the dangers of slipping away to other gods and focus on how you call me to interact with these other gods in the world. Amen.