“And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.”
(Hosea 2:8 ESV)
Although it’s hard to believe, Thanksgiving is almost upon us. And even though Thanksgiving is almost lost to us today, even though it’s looked upon as nothing more than the beginning of the Christmas season, it is a very important holiday. It’s very important because of the truth of which it reminds us.
Thanksgiving is a day of thanks. And being thankful implies that someone has helped us, that someone has blessed us, in some say. So, this thanksgiving is directed toward someone. It’s directed toward someone who is the source of our blessing.
Most of us understand, in our society, that as we celebrate Thanksgiving, we are offering our thanks to God. We're acknowledging that he is the source of our blessing. We're acknowledging that we would have nothing apart from him.
As simple as this truth may seem, it’s very important. It’s very important because, if we fail to understand this, we will not continue to trust in the Lord. If we fail to understand this, we will place our trust in someone or something else that we view as the source of our blessing.
Our Wednesday night Bible study at Prince of Peace recently began our look at Hosea. Hosea was sent to tell the people of Israel that they’d been faithless to God. They had been an adulterous people. And, for this reason, God’s punishment was coming upon them.
They were chasing after other gods, believing that these deities were the source of their blessing. They credited these false gods with the provisions they enjoyed. They failed to understand, as we see in the above verse, that it was the Lord who had provided these blessings.
Even though the practice of idolatry seems archaic to us, in many ways, we have the same tendency. We have all of these wonderful blessings that have been lavished upon us by God. However, we chase after other gods, giving them the credit for the blessings we enjoy.
It could be a false religion or a false god. It could be nature, or the earth itself. It could be science or technology. It could even be ourselves, and our sense of hard work. But, whatever the case may be, we see this person or thing as the source of our blessing. And, for this reason, we pursue it and trust in it rather than God.
God planned to remove this delusion from the Israelites by withdrawing his hand of blessing. He would no longer grant to them his provision. And, in this way, they would come to see that these false gods had done nothing for them. They would come to see that these false gods could do nothing for them.
Although it seems harsh, this punishment was meant to accomplish something good. It was meant to draw them back to God himself. As they once again recognized the Lord as the source of their blessings, they would worship him and trust in him alone.
My prayer is that we would never come to this point. My prayer is that God would never have to withdraw his hand of blessing from us. My prayer is that we would continue to acknowledge him as the source of our blessing, that we would continue to trust in him, and that we’d give him the glory for the marvelous grace he bestows upon us.
However, as we see the ways in which we’re guilty of this sin, we must seek the Lord’s forgiveness. We must confess to him our sin, asking for his mercy, trusting in the atonement provided by Jesus. We must look to him not only for provision of our worldly needs, but also for his provision of forgiveness and mercy, which is promised to all who trust in him.