Summary: An in depth look into Hosea and what he has to say about us fulfilling our part of the covenant.
How many of you here this morning have ever had a speeding ticket? How many of you had to go to court for that ticket? Well, I certainly remember my one and only ticket. I was 17 years old and a senior in high school. I was taking a college class at Old Dominican each morning and so every day that fall I drove down Sunbury Road. The more I drove the road, the more comfortable I got. It was nice and wide, four lanes, smooth pavement. The road was just begging me to drive a little faster each day. And so I started playing a little game. Each day I would time myself to see how long it would take me to either get to school, or get back home. And that specific day I was on my way home and was making excellent time. Or at least I was until I got to Hoover Reservoir. As I came up a little rise, there he was, sitting in a gravel parking lot on the right hand side of the road. I saw him, and he saw me. I hit the brakes and he clocked me. My heart rate instantly doubled as I closed the gap between the two of us. I passed the driveway and he pulled out quickly, but with no lights on. I instantly thought of a rumor all high school boys have heard which said, if I can make three turns, then he can’t pull me over because to follow me for that long is harassment. So I immediately pulled into the left turn lane where Walnut intersects Sunbury. He of course followed me, but without any lights or sirens. At this point I decided I would act as normal as possible and that morning I had noticed the price of gas was pretty good at the station on that corner. So after making a left onto walnut, I made a right into the gas station. So did he, and of course it wasn’t until I was pulled into the pump that he turned on his flashers. Now it is bad enough to get pulled over on the side of the road, let alone to have it done while you sit in the middle of 6 or 8 gas pumps for the whole world to see.
Anyway, he ticketed me for going 56 in a 45 mph zone. As a minor I was required to go to court. There was no option to send in a check for the fine. Not only did I have to go to court, but I had to go to court in the county in which I resided. That might not seem like a big deal, but I was ticketed in Franklin County, which doesn’t do anything other than fine a minor for their first offense. In Delaware County, where I lived, they automatically suspended your license on a minor’s first traffic violation. No if’s, and’s or buts about it. So, as my father accompanied me to court that morning, I had to present myself before the judge with several other minors and face the consequences. When it was my turn, the charge was read, which was simply that I was speeding, going 56 in a 45 zone. And it was my opportunity then to dispute that claim, or to accept what was coming to me. After accepting the charge, I needed to choose my punishment, a 4 week suspension with no privileges, or 6 weeks with privileges. I needed privileges to get to school, work, and church. So I had to plead my case as to why I needed each of those specific privileges.
A courtroom is a very intimidating place to be, especially when you know that you are guilty of the charge. The passage that we are going to look at today comes from the book of Hosea, which is a book of prophecy. Prophecy can be broken down into several categories or genres. That just means that we look at the style of the text and put it into a category to help us better understand it. The passage that we are going to look at today is classified as a legal dispute. The imagery is that of a court room where God is both judge and prosecutor. In the passage he lays out the argument and basis for his judgment.
Turn with me please to the book of Hosea. We are going to work from the 4th chapter today, reading verses 1-13. Ezequiel and I will both be reading from the New International Version. (Repeat Citation and Read passage aloud). Don’t close your bible because we will be referring back to it frequently.
My appreciation for the prophetic books in the bible has increased greatly in recent years because I have learned a great deal about them. At first glance, most passages are rather confusing. But if we spend some time digging, they have a lot to offer us, and that is what I want to do today.