By Nathan Jones
We continue on with our fifth installment of our faith study of the biblical Minor Prophets book of Hosea. This time we'll marvel at the remarkably uncanny parallels in personality and behavior between Gomer and Israel when it comes to selfish behavior.
Israel—A Profile in Selfishness
The parallels of Gomer to Israel in personality and behavior are remarkably uncanny, as in truth they were meant to be, for Gomer was a living symbol of Israel. Marvel at the comparisons!
Vanity. The more God blessed Israel the more the Israelites began to think of themselves as too good for everyone else, even for God. They stopped thinking of God as their provider and instead pridefully patted themselves on the back for their good fortunes. Just like a Kardashian with a titanium MasterCard, Israel's focus was solely on themselves and what new things they could buy. As God dejectedly bemoans, "Me she forgot" (Hosea 2:13; 5:5; 7:10; 13:1).
Greed. It wasn't enough for the Israelites that God had given them their own lush land, rich agricultural bounty, military protection, good health, and most importantly a special place in His heart. No! Never having enough to satiate their cravings, Israel had the gall to ask their evil enemy neighbors for more of those things. And, just like the United States asking China for yet another loan to buy more dollar store junk, Israel pretended the bill would never come due (Hosea 2:5,12; 10:1).
Drunkedness. Israel partied like the world was coming to an end. Though there's nothing wrong with celebrations, for God Himself had given His people seven special feasts, when driven by greedy self-centeredness, excesses inevitably occur. The people didn't just drink, they were inflamed with wine. They drank not just at night, but morning and afternoon, and so were often were found staggering past the Betty Ford Centers all throughout the day (Hosea 4:5,11; 2:11; 7:5,14).
Shamelessness. The lack of inhibition and stupidity that drunkenness invariably results in caused the people to behave shamefully. The people, even their own supposedly holy men—the priests—debased themselves with public nudity and engaged in every form of lewdness. If evil was food, Israel couldn't stuff themselves enough with it. Just like the undomesticated horses of Assateague Island in Maryland which sport mangled, unkempt manes and roam free across roads to challenge passing cars and urinate on spectators, Hosea compared the Israelites to wild donkeys (Hosea 2:5,9-10; 4:7-9; 6:9; 8:11).
Lustfulness. The people's passions burned without any marital or social constraint whatsoever. The old taboos of fornication, adultery, homosexuality, pedophilia and bestiality were torn down and replaced by San Francisco-style gay pride parades.
Israel went after her lovers, and when she couldn't find any consenting parties, she hired lovers. The people made love on every threshing floor, and nowhere was privacy sought out.
The rampant sexual promiscuity resulted in begotten pagan children who rarely knew who their fathers were.
So defiled were the people, and so unable to quench their sexual lusts, they devolved into kissing calves, both beast and graven image. The people had degenerated into nothing more than wild, rutting animals (Hosea 2:7,13; 5:3,7; 8:9; 9:1; 13:2).
In the sixth part of this series on faith in the book of Hosea, we'll marvel at the remarkably uncanny parallels in personality and behavior between Gomer and Israel when it comes to faithlessness.