Hosea 5:8-9:17; 2 Kings 16:10-18, 15:30-31, 7:1-2; 2 Chronicles 28:22-25
God doesn’t mess around with disobedience. And He doesn’t stay where He is not honored. Hosea 5:15 says:
Then I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me.
That pretty much sums up the history of man. And the history of me.
The Jews entertained worship of pretend gods. Idolatry was often tolerated, and sometimes became the nation’s religion. They knew better. They knew God (or should have). Their ancestors had walked with God. They knew God blesses obedience, and punishes disobedience. Certainly they had heard the stories.
Sometimes the Jews chose disobedience anyway. That disobedience was always met with disaster of one kind or another. But I think the most devastating consequence for disobedience was when God removed Himself from their presence, when He left them to their own devices.
Famines were bad. Plagues were awful. War was brutal. But life without God has to be the worse.
What we see in almost every book of the Bible is people sinning, people going their own way, and God disciplining their disobedience. Sometimes that discipline involved God turning His back on them; but He always did that with one purpose: for them to seek Him in their misery, in order to bring them back to Himself.
The Bible also reveals a loving, faithful God who forgives His children every time they (we) repent.
Galatians 5:7-8 comes to mind:
Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
I’ve found all of that true in my own life. I know what it’s like to be totally void of His Presence when I’ve held on to sin, when I reap the fruit of sin. I could put on a Christian front, but my fellowship with God was severed. That, my friend, is the definition of lonely.
I also now what it’s like to fall on my knees and beg God for forgiveness, to feel His Presence one again when I am washed by the blood of Jesus. I know what it’s like to reap the fruit of the Spirit.
So, how does your garden grow? What are you reaping? You will reap what you sow.