THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
Eamon De Valera was an Irish statesman who served three times as prime minister of Ireland and subsequently as her president. After the Easter rebellion of 1916, De Valera was sentenced to penal servitude. While traveling to prison, he took out his pipe and was about to light it when he stopped suddenly and said, “I will not let them deprive me of this pleasure in jail!” He immediately threw away the pipe and from that day on he never smoked again. (Today in the Word, June 18, 1995)
Knowing that life is filled with choices , we must as Jacob of old, wait upon the Lord (Gen. 49:18). Jacob’s descendants likewise had to make choices, but they chose to go against God and His love:
1. Choosing dissipation rather than exaltation (vv. 1-3). Israel’s sin increased like an unchecked infection. At one time everyone listened to God and respected Him (v. 1). Then something happened and under Ahab they gave themselves to the worship of Baal and the result of this infectious increase in sin was complete dissipation of the nation.
2. Choosing destruction rather than salvation (vv. 4-8). Understanding the knowledge of God would have permitted Israel to make the right choices but she forgot that the Lord was her Savior and followed after destruction.
3. Choosing a human king rather than the King of kings (vv. 9-11). Prompted by a desire to be like other nations, Israel asked God for a human king, a request God in His righteous anger granted (Saul) but because of rebellion was soon removed. (I Sam. 15:22-23).
4. Choosing death rather than life (vv. 12-16). The Lord reminds Israel that restoration, not retribution is the goal of His sovereign plan. Like a ray of sunlight penetrating through a sky filled with storm clouds God offers afresh His promise to redeem Israel from the realm of death into which she was falling. Hosea warns that although Israel is flourishing Assyria will sweep down upon the land and cause it to become dry and barren (vv. 15-16).
An abundance of possessions made Israel feel self sufficient and as a result they turned their back on God. This feeling of self sufficiency can also bring me to destruction. I must choose to rely on God in both good times and in bad times.