A Sad Statement
One of the saddest statements in the Bible is found in Hosea 8:12, "Were I to write for him (Ephraim) my laws by the ten thousands, they would be regarded as a strange thing."
God's frustration with His people could not be plainer. His care for them had been constant and overwhelming; yet in their foolishness, they turned to idols made by craftsmen rather than to the unmade Creator. They had forgotten all His marvelous works on their part-His covenant with Abraham, the deliverance from Egypt, the gift of Canaan, and much, much more. They had forgotten the basic commandment, "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good?" (Deuteronomy 10:12-13). As a result of this, "As for my sacrificial offerings, they sacrifice meat and eat it, but the LORD does not accept them. Now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt" (8:13).
Part of this problem went back to Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children." Because the priesthood had failed to meaningfully educate the people about their God, the people had no meaningful understanding of Him. But, the problem did not fully rest on the shoulders of the priests. Paul's statement in Acts 17:27, "Yet he is actually not far from each one of us..." is a universally true one. Even with the failure of the priesthood, had the people wanted to learn of Yahweh and listen to Him, they would have.
It was not that they did not know about Yahweh; they still offered sacrifices, but their sacrifices were rote motions they went through-they lacked meaning or feeling. What do we learn from this? Some people simply refuse to listen to God. It is not a matter of understanding, but of desire. Most people in the world-and many of those who call themselves followers of God-never take the time to read the words He has given to us. Some say, "If God would only show me a little more or tell me something else, then I would believe." The fact is if someone wants to believe in God, know Him and obey Him, God has revealed all that is necessary. Nothing else is needed. Either you are interested in what He has revealed or you are not. Certainly it takes discipline to read or pray, but those truly interested in Him will adopt those disciplines. They will seek to appreciate what He has revealed and act on them-before it is too late.
We need to take the time and ask ourselves if we really listen to God in our daily lives. If we do, it will be reflected in the sincerity of our religious devotion to Him.