Hosea…yikes. Talk about a guy who walks out his faith.
We don’t talk about him so much, probably because…well, it’s awkward.
Hosea’s life was an extended metaphor for Israel. By the command of God, Hosea took a prostitute for a wife and God used his life to compare Israel to an adulterous woman. Hosea named his kids things like No Mercy and Not My People.
I grew up as a pastor’s kid…I take back my complaints. Ain’t nothing compared to being an Old Testament prophet’s kid.
There’s a whole book about Hosea in the Bible. He’s considered a “minor prophet.” There are twelve minor prophets in the Bible, which just means that their books are shorter than the books of the four “major prophets” in the Old Testament.
In the first two chapters of Hosea’s book, he laid out the problem. Hosea revealed all of these terrible things that were about to happen to the children of Israel.
Through Hosea, God told them why these things would happen: because Israel refused to recognize that “it was I, [God], who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold.” (2:8)
The people of Israel wanted to thank their hard work, their politics, their allies, and their idols for their prosperity, instead of thanking the Lord.
God continued, “And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals when she burned offerings to them and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers and forgot me, declares the Lord.” (2:13)
I think you can hear the broken heart of the father here. “…and they forgot me.”
The danger of our Thanksgiving holiday is the temptation to secularize our gratitude.
I’m thankful for my country. But to whom am I thankful?
If I’m thankful to my country for my country, that is offensive to the Lord. It is the same offense of Israel in the time of Hosea.
If I am thankful to capitalism for my prosperity, I’ve missed something.
If I’m thankful to myself for my talents and capabilities, I rebuke my maker.
However, if I am thankful to God for my country, that is a pleasing offering.
If I am thankful to God for my prosperity, my talents and capabilities, that is a fragrant offering to God.
We can be thankful to each other, but let’s not forgot the source.
I am thankful to my wife, because God gave her to me.
I am thankful to my children, because God designed our family.
I am thankful to my apprentices, because God called them.
Our institutions and principles can so quickly become idols. The culture of Thanksgiving would like to capitalize on that. Country, politics, even family—even our church—what’s the source of these good things?
Hosea ended the book with the solution, the people are instructed to begin saying, “Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride on horses; and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’ to the work of our hands.” (14:3)
In other words, “We’re not going to say that the work we’ve done and the things that we’ve accomplished are our God. We’re done giving credit to the wrong places.”
Our hard work, allies, resourcefulness, politics—these are not our God.
This Thanksgiving, let’s turn our attention to the Source. Let’s give thanks not in some general, abstract fashion, but give thanks to the one from whom all blessings flow—give thanks to the Father of lights, from whom we receive every good and perfect gift. (James 1:17)
And what a powerful witness it is. When your family does that thing where you each say something you’re thankful for, the others will say, “I’m thankful for my job,” or “I’m thankful for my country.”
You change the game with just two little words: “to God.”
“I’m thankful to God for my job.”
“I’m thankful to God for my country.”
“I’m thankful to God for good food.”
Thanksgiving is a feast day. You’ll offer your food and your thanks to something, whether you like it or not. Don’t bow to the idol of secularism. Don’t remove God, the Source, from your Thanksgiving.
Instead, let your food and your gratitude be a pleasing offering to the Lord, recognizing Him as the Source of every good thing.
What are you thankful for this holiday season? Leave a comment below and let us know.
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