God Condemns Israel’s Idolatry

I once talked with General Charles M. Duke, a former astronaut who went on the Apollo 16 mission to the moon. I asked, “Once you were there, weren’t you free to make your own decisions and carry out your own experiments. He smiled and said “Sure, if I didn’t want … More


“Whoredom and wine and new wine” (v. 11) are the sins that commonly accompany idolatry. These sins dull the sensitivity and understanding so that the people no longer wish to even retain God in their thoughts. Instead of consulting the God who made the trees and the wood, they now consult the wooden idols that can be fashioned from them (v. 13). Their worship of the Canaanite gods, Baal and Asherah included rituals accompanied by vile practices. Male worshipers had sex with female temple prostitutes and young women wishing to bear children had sex with male priests (v. 13).

Judah was warned to avoid the sins of her sister Israel (v. 15). To associate with Israel’s false, hypocritical worship would be contaminating. In the midst of this idolatrous, immoral worship the Israelites even had the audacity to include the Lord’s name in oaths. God spared the Southern Kingdom one hundred thirty-five years longer than the Northern Kingdom, even though eventually they went the way of Israel also. Israel’s problem was not a lack of knowledge but in understanding the importance of the knowledge that they already had and willfully rejecting it in favor of their idolatrous practices. In other words, Israel’s problem was not knowledge but obedience. Because of her strong attachment to idolatry, Israel was to be left to herself and allowed to go to her doom. The wind that would sweep her away probably referred to the Assyrian invasion that would destroy the nation 20 years later (v. 19).


A desire to be free from all restrictions could move me completely out of God’s will. Israel had cut themselves off from God’s word. If I allow the circumstances of life to cut me off from His Word I run the risk of being headed for judgement also. It is better to obey God than to make a lot of sacrifices in His name.

Hosea 4:11-19 (English Standard Version)

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