Pleasing the King with Evil
Hosea 7:3 (ESV) – By their evil they make the king glad, and the princes by their treachery.
Decent people can do atrocious things when their aim is to please someone above God. One of the examples that comes to mind is the people that surrounded Adolf Hitler in his regime of terror in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. The men who surrounded Hitler were not any more wicked in the beginning than any other person walking the street. They grew up in families, had religious beliefs, served their country in World War I, and many other noble things. There wasn’t anything from childhood or early adulthood that would pinpoint them as people who would conduct some of the most horrific things in human history under the leadership of Hitler. The one consistent thing was that fear of God never rose above obedience to a man. And that leads to all sorts of evil.
We see this clearly in our text today. We read in Hosea 7:3, “By their evil they make the king glad, and the princes by their treachery.” Israel has rebelled against God. They do not follow or obey His commands. Instead, as we read in the passage, they aim to please the king and princes. Their bullseye is on the king’s approval, not God’s approval. They orient their lives on pleasing the people in power above them rather than the One above those in power.
This tendency within us is universal. People pleasing isn’t reserved only for people in power. We do it whenever we want the approval of a group of people. In our society today, many evil things are done and approved of in order to win the favor of the world. But God is reviled by the wickedness. Even Christians give approval to things the Bible states clearly violate the commands of God. How can we do this? We’ve made the pleasure and approval of others are focus instead of God.
What about you? Do you sense people pleasing tendencies in your own heart? Have you excused sin and evil because of your desire to make others happy? These things must be guarded against by all Christians.
There will always be people waiting to applaud rebellion against God. If we make that approval our focus and desire, it leads to wickedness that God abhors. May He give us a desire to honor Him above all others.
May our lives be marked by a submission to Him and His Word above all else.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why do people want the approval of others so badly?
- What are examples of ways we see evil in our world today for the sake of approval by people?
- How does this passage or devotional challenge you personally in your own obedience?
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