Rejecting the Good
"Set the trumpet to your mouth! He shall come like an eagle
against the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed My
covenant and rebelled against My law. Israel will cry to Me, 'My God, we know
You!' Israel has rejected the good; the enemy will pursue him." -Hosea 8:1-3
Hosea lived in the tragic final days of the northern kingdom of Israel, during which six kings (following Jeroboam II) reigned within 25 years. Four of those kings were murdered by their successors while in office; one king, Hoshea, was captured in battle. Only one king: Menahem, was succeeded on the throne by his son. These kings floated away "like a twig on the surface of the waters" (Hosea 10:7). Bloodshed followed bloodshed, and threats from the Assyrian enemies grew more and more violent.
But if the political and physical condition of the northern kingdom was in poor condition, the spiritual condition of God's people was far worse! Hosea saw, as the word of the Lord had declared, that Israel's basic problem was their failure to acknowledge God.
God's relation to Israel was that of love. The intimacy of the covenant relationship between God and Israel; illustrated in the first part of this book by the husband-wife relationship, is later amplified by the father-child relationship. Yet with all the love that God had displayed to His people, they grew disloyal and wound up committing spiritual adultery.
As Hosea had said, "Israel had "rejected the good" (v.3). In this text, the Hebrew word for "good" has reference to the influence of God in the lives of His people. It has reference to the idea of God's will over them; the idea that God would be directing and guiding them.
Israel had cast off this goodness because they refused to have a true knowledge of God in their mind any more. Earlier in this book, as Hosea was speaking concerning why it is that the people of God were going to be destroyed, he wrote, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children" (Hosea 4:6).
How does Hosea's world compare to our world? Unfortunately, the people of today continue to "cast off the good." Just like Israel, many will reject the influence of God; they don't want to know God.
In the Roman letter, the apostle Paul often speaks about His obligation to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And there is a very important reason why Paul has this obligation. It is because the Gospel of Christ is the only power that can save anyone. It is the only way that anyone can now come to know God – that is, through the good news of His son. The Scriptures make it abundantly clear: there is not any way to save a man, except by teaching him the truth. Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Make you free from what? If you study the context of that passage, Jesus is saying that His truth will set you free from serving sin. His truth provides the way to save your soul!
We hear Paul saying in Romans 1:17, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes." Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel," Why? What was the reason why he was not ashamed of it? As he declared, because "it is God's power to save everyone who believes it." It is the power of God to save, because, in the gospel, God's way is made known for making men just, holy, and righteous. The intent and purpose – the very purpose of it being revealed – is in order to produce saving faith in the heart of the individual! In John 20:31, John said, "These things are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, you might have life through his name."
Do people begin to sow the wind today by rejecting the knowledge of God? Do they cast off the good by rejecting His word; what He has revealed about Himself and Man? ABSOLUTELY! People continually reject the true knowledge of God!
The questions you must ask yourself are: "Do I cast off the good? Am I rejecting God's influence? Am I ashamed of the gospel of
If you have not obeyed His gospel, and if you are not abiding in His word, then you have "rejected the good." You are "sowing the wind," and if you do not turn to God in obedience to His will, you will "reap the whirlwind." (Hosea 8:7)
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." -Galatians 6:7-8
By John Hagenbuch
From Expository Files 10.7; July 2003