march14 fruitful and faithless

Fruitful and Faithless

Hosea 10:1 (ESV) – Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit. The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built; as his country improved, he improved his pillars.

Do you know anyone who has everything, but is ungrateful? Perhaps worse is the person who has everything but squanders it in foolish living. These examples make us shake our heads. Our inclination is to believe that someone blessed with abundance should live a certain way. In other words, those blessed by God with much should live lives that accurately reflect that blessing. It is an injustice when they don’t. It is foolish when squandered.

Our passage today shows how Israel lived in this continuous cycle. They were God’s chosen people, blessed beyond measure. Yet they worshipped idols and abandoned the LORD. We read in Hosea 10:1, “Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit. The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built; as his country improved, he improved his pillars.” 

Notice Israel is described as a luxuriant vine. Israel is often compared to a vine in Scripture. The description is “luxuriant.” This indicates how prosperous and blessed they were. God provided incredible things for them. Their land was plush and fruitful. The LORD gave them victory over stronger armies, multiplied them, and richly provided. However, the more Israel’s fruit increased, the more altars to idols he built. 

Israel’s guilt was failure to worship the LORD God alone. They had other “gods” besides Him. This prosperous people forsook the One who prospered them and looked to those that aren’t even real. They bowed before statues of wood and stone instead of the Maker of the wood and stone. As the LORD prospered them, they used their prosperity to further offend Him.

It is easy to shake our heads at Israel and ignore our own tendencies towards the same habits. How abundantly has God blessed our families, yet we are slow to trust Him? We place idols in front of Him. We pursue treasures lesser than Him. The human heart has no depths it cannot sink to. This passage should challenge us to examine our own hearts. We should evaluate our own loves and worship. Do we give to God what He alone is owed? Do we have rival idols on the throne of our hearts? 

Call upon Him today. Look to the mercies of God for forgiveness of our sins. Smash your idols and confess their impotency before the Lord. He forgives those who ask. Repent of taking your blessings for granted and give praise to the One True God.

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Reflection & Journal:
- What are some of the ways God prospered Israel?
- Why is it so easy for us to ignore God’s blessings and place things above Him in our hearts?
- How did today’s devotional challenge you? What action do you need to take?

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