The Book of the Twelve (Minor Prophets) 07: Hosea (5) Leadership Failures
Leadership Failures and God’s Faithfulness (Hosea 5-6)
Hosea 5:1: “Hear this, O priests! Give heed, O house of Israel! Listen, O house of the king! For the judgment applies to you, For you have been a snare at Mizpah, And a net spread out on Tabor.”
The Failure of Priests and Kings (5:1-4) - Hosea indicts the leadership of Israel, both priests and kings. These corrupt leaders have “trapped” the people. It is as though the people, following these wicked leaders are like animals that have been caught in nets or in traps and all “have gone deep in depravity” (5:2). The principle here is plain: As with the priests and kings, so with the people. They provide the open door into debauchery. The failure of our leaders today, whether spiritual or civic, likewise traps people and brings them low. “5:4 Their deeds will not allow them to return to their God.” We already know that it is very hard to overcome the result of wicked leadership. Can American Christians to ween themselves from government schooling, government handouts, or the state enforced toleration of immorality (such as the homosexual agenda and egalitarianism)?
The Failure of the People (5:4b-5:11) - The nature of this depravity is that “you have played the harlot” (5:3). That is, they have engaged in idolatrous worship, which actually included sexual immorality of the fertility cult variety. Harlotry is falling to the position of being willing to exchange one’s most sacred value for wages. Many prostitutes had no other way to live, but Israel was not destitute. Israel was like a beautiful princess who despised her crown jewels in order to abandon her father’s house and exchange her sacred and precious, birthright in order to be “used.” A culture of harlotry means instead of trusting their true Husband, they sought their needs elsewhere. Judgment surely comes for idolaters who have “moved: the ancient boundary (5:10). As is clear in chapter 4, the root of this is not heeding the Law of God, but following “man’s command” (5:11). The result is real judgment which took place when Assyria conquered Israel (722 B.C.).
The Faithfulness of the Lord (5:15 - 6:3) - Despite idolatry and harlotry, at the end of chapter 5 and into chapter 6, we see that the mercy of God is still active, even in the face of such covenant-breaking. There will be a time when the people, “acknowledge their guilt and seek My face.” Affliction produces a clearer vision of our relationship with God: “In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me” (5:15). God promises that He will revive Israel and this happens in Christ: “He will raise us up on the third day that we may live before Him” (6:2). Jesus is True Israel and the resurrection of Jesus is the resurrection of Israel. Now we must connect to the One God has raised by faith.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more