Summary: When we lose our Awe of God, our backsliding shows up in many ways.
No Awe of God
1. We have it good in our day. Consider this list of nurse duties in a hospital in 1887.
In addition to caring for your 50 patients, each nurse will follow these regulations:
1. Daily sweep & mop the floors of your ward, dust patient’s furniture & window sills. Wash the windows once a week…
4. The nurse’s notes are important in aiding the physician’s work. Make your pens carefully, you may whittle nibs to your individual taste.
5. Each nurse on day duty will report at 7:00 AM & leave at 8:00 PM., except on the Sabbath, on which day you will be off from noon to 2:00 PM.
6. Graduate nurses in good standing with the director of nurses will be given an evening off each week for courting purposes or two evenings a week if you go regularly to church.
7. Each nurse should lay aside from each payday a goodly sum of her earnings for her benefits during her declining years so that she will not become a burden. For example, if you make $30 a month, you should set aside $15.
8. Any nurse who smokes, uses liquor in any form, gets her hair done at a beauty shop or frequents dance halls will give the director of nurses good reason to suspect her worth, intentions & integrity.
9. The nurse who performs her labors & serves her patients & doctors faithfully & without fault for a period of 5 years will be given an increase by the hospital administration of 5¢ a day, providing there are no hospital debts that are outstanding. (Charles Swindol, "The Quest for Character" P 159) Sermon Central, edited down
2. Modern nurses are also dedicated professionals, although that dedication shows itself in more specialized, more reasonable ways.
3. What matters, when it comes to dedication, is the heart. And our actions evidence the attitudes of our hearts.
Main Idea: When we lose our Awe of God, our backsliding shows up in many ways.
I. Signs of Spiritual DETERIORATION (1:11-2:32)
These signs were indicators of a problem in the heart. Signs do not create a reality, they merely expose it (like signs on a highway…Chicago is not 160 miles away because the sign says so; it we changed the sign to 60, Chicago would still be 160 miles away).
A. The Almond: We forget that God SEES (1:11-12)
1. This is a pun
2. Shoqed means "watching" and shaqed means "almond."
B. The Boiling Pot: We do not take God’s WRATH into account (1:13-14)
1. Note it is God who summons the people from the north to attack (Babylonians)
2. Loved ones who does not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ are waiting for the boiling water of God’s wrath to spill out…
Before we entertain points C-F, we must set the background.
In chapter two through chapter 4, God tells Israel (of which Judah is a part) that he is divorcing them. God married Israel at Mt. Sinai and took Israel on a wonderful honeymoon, leading them out of Egypt and providing them with the promised land and great blessings. At first, she clung to the Lord.
But Northern Israel and later Judah were not satisfied with the LORD, and she began to court other gods. She committed spiritual adultery by bowing before images and worshiping the gods of the land. She became degenerate and promiscuous, eventually becoming a prostitute in her worship of beings other than God.
God writes both Israel and Judah a bill of divorce, it seems.
But then he predicts a time (particularly in chapter 31, the New Covenant chapter) when He will give the people of Israel a new heart and restore His relationship to them. In Hosea 3, this is pictured as a remarriage. Again, these are illustrations based upon human experience, not counsel for life. Marriage, divorce, and remarriage should not be based on allegories about God, and God is not bound to the dictates He has ordained for human society. God does not actually marry, divorce and remarry Israel.
C. The Broken Cistern: We seek our primary meaning APART from God (2:13)
If you lived in an arid climate, and you were thirsty, where would you go? To a sparkling brook of fresh running water, or to a container for stagnant rain water, a container that was dry because it was cracked?
Although surprising, most people go to the cracked container.
The children of Israel were so predisposed against Yahweh, they prefer the Baals, the Canaanite gods, the images, the broken cisterns.
Jesus expands on this same theme with the woman at the well in John 4:13-14
Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." Jesus is the source of this living water.