It is no wonder that the word “ignore” sits inside the word ignorance. We ignore God, who we say we know as Way Maker, Promise Keeper, Light in the darkness for what we want to do. As the music fades and we leave church, we go back to our “ignorance” of wanting it our way and will blast people around us with anger when they do not deliver. We are fickle. Our faith in God is fickle. Each hour what we want changes. What we believed in the past changes to suit what our present desires demand we acquire. You might even say our faith and our thinking is only half-baked, like a pancake not turned over.
When we ignore seeking God first, ignore time alone with Him to know Him, ignore His Holy Spirit’s teaching, guidance and leading and go our own way we become very ignorant of God. Our knowledge of God shrinks to merely knowing of Him but not knowing Him personally.
Yes, ignoring God leads to pure ignorance—only a fool would live that way, right Hosea?
Hosea 7, The Message
Despite All the Signs, Israel Ignores God
1-2 “Every time I gave Israel a fresh start,
wiped the slate clean and got them going again,
Ephraim soon filled the slate with new sins,
the treachery of Samaria written out in bold print.
Two-faced and double-tongued,
they steal you blind, pick you clean.
It never crosses their mind
that I keep account of their every crime.
They’re mud-spattered head to toe with the residue of sin.
I see who they are and what they’ve done.
8-10 “Ephraim mingles with the pagans, dissipating himself.
Ephraim is half-baked.
Strangers suck him dry
but he doesn’t even notice.
His hair has turned gray—
he doesn’t notice.
Bloated by arrogance, big as a house,
Israel’s a public disgrace.
Israel lumbers along oblivious to God,
despite all the signs, ignoring God.
3-7 “They entertain the king with their evil circus,
delight the princes with their acrobatic lies.
They’re a bunch of overheated adulterers,
like an oven that holds its heat
From the kneading of the dough
to the rising of the bread.
On the royal holiday the princes get drunk
on wine and the frenzy of the mocking mob.
They’re like wood stoves,
red-hot with lust.
Through the night their passion is banked;
in the morning it blazes up, flames hungrily licking.
Murderous and volcanic,
they incinerate their rulers.
Their kings fall one by one,
and no one pays any attention to me.
11-16 “Ephraim is bird-brained,
First chirping after Egypt,
then fluttering after Assyria.
I’ll throw my net over them. I’ll clip their wings.
I’ll teach them to mind me!
Doom! They’ve run away from home.
Now they’re really in trouble! They’ve defied me.
And I’m supposed to help them
while they feed me a line of lies?
Instead of crying out to me in heartfelt prayer,
they whoop it up in bed with their whores,
Gash themselves bloody in their sex-and-religion orgies,
but turn their backs on me.
I’m the one who gave them good minds and healthy bodies,
and how am I repaid? With evil scheming!
They turn, but not to me—
turn here, then there, like a weather vane.
Their rulers will be cut down, murdered—
just deserts for their mocking blasphemies.
And the final sentence?
Ridicule in the court of world opinion.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
God wants to heal our ignorance. God wanted to heal Israel. What prevented Him from helping His distressed people? They wanted Him to act on their terms and not according to the condition of His holy covenant. They thought they could get away with their many sins, but God saw them all and remembered them.
I’m reminded of the dedication of the temple built for God. Solomon’s prayer received this response from God:
“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Another prophet answers the question of what God requires of us; “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 And how do we walk humbly? Walking humbly is laying down what we want for what God wants. When we finally realize that what God wants is the best for us, we will more readily let go. As we let go, we also begin to realize the depth of love God has for us. Amazing!
Yes, we are fickle. But God is not. We can depend on God. God loved us first and loves us for eternity. His love never changes and why should it? His love is perfect in every way. His love drives away our fears. His love teaches us to love others. His love is endless, expansive, unconditional, relentless and in our way of thinking, reckless!
God loves ALL and is in all who love Him back. “For God SO loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) It is God’s desire that NO ONE perish or be left out of His family. The Gospels are full of the details of all that God wants to do in us and has for us as He loves us.
The prophets told the Good News centuries before Jesus came. Then Jesus came to fulfill what God said through His prophets. The Good News is simply this:
- God loves you. God loves me. God loves all who He has created. All.
- God wants us to love Him back.
- God wants us to love each other like He loves us—without conditions.
Let us stop ignoring God! Come to God. Believe that what God says is really real! His promises are true, His way is always right and He provides the Light to get to where we need to be—with Him always.
As we review all Hosea’s images of how Israel ignored God and sinned against Him with their foolish ignorance, we might take inventory of our own devotion to the Lord.
How lasting is it?
How deep is it?
How strong is it?
How serious is it?
How dependable is it?
May we all pause to reflect on our foolishness. May we repent of our ignoring you which leads to ignorance of your wisdom in living life. I humbly bow before you, asking what YOU want today. I’m yours. I’m looking expectantly for you for the rest of this day. You are always at work—but sometimes I ignore the signs of you at work in me. Forgive me. Thank you for your faithfulness when I am fickle in my faith. Thank you for saving me and making me whole.
In Jesus Name, Amen