9/20/14 “Their Deeds Are Before My Face” (Daily Bible Reading: Hosea 7-10)

When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered, and the wickedness of Samaria. For they have committed fraud; a thief comes in; a band of robbers takes spoil outside. They do not consider in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness; now their own deeds have surrounded them; they are before My face” (Hosea 7:1-2).

Ever since Adam and Eve first sinned in the Garden of Eden, men and women have attempted to the hide or cover up their sins from God (cf. Genesis 3:8). However, can we hide our sins from God?

The prophet Hosea describes the futility of trying to do this. As the opening verses describe, as God looked as His people in love wanting to heal them, He could not because their blatant wickedness. They were so thoroughly corrupt that when God looked down on them wanting to help them, what He saw was their glaring iniquity which surrounded them. There was no way for Him to be able to overlook their transgressions because they stood out so clearly before His face (Hosea 7:1-2).

In His patience and longsuffering God had attempted to help His people see their sins and turn from them. He had given them His law and sent His prophets to instruct them on how to live, yet they rejected these: “I have written for him the great things of My law, but they were considered a strange thing” (Hosea 8:12). He had brought chastening upon them in order to help them realize the error of their ways and their need to turn back to God, but they refused to acknowledge their iniquity: “They did not cry out to Me with their heart when they wailed upon their beds. They assemble together for grain and new wine, they rebel against Me; though I disciplined and strengthened their arms, yet they devise evil against Me” (Hosea 7:14-15). What was left for God to do for these people He so loved and desired to heal (cf. Hosea 7:1)?

God would let them experience consequences of their sins. He would remove His blessings from them and allow them to taken captive by the other nations and suffer destruction: “Woe to them, for they have fled from Me! Destruction to them, because they have transgressed against Me! Though I redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against Me” (Hosea 7:13). Moreover He adds, “For the sacrifices of My offerings they sacrifice flesh and eat it, but the Lord does not accept them. Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins. they shall return to Egypt” (Hosea 8:13). Even the prophet Hosea himself sees no other course for the people to whom he is ministering: “My God will cast them away, because they did not obey Him; and they shall be wanderers among the nations” (Hosea 9:17). Facing the consequences of their own sins, Israel was bound to face destruction.

There are people all around us who are bound for destruction. Jesus warned, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). God has revealed “great things” in His Word telling us of how He loves us and has sent His Son to save men from their sins (John 3:16; Lk 19:10). However, many consider God’s message to them “a strange thing” (cf. Hosea 8:12) and reject God’s efforts to save them.

I realize I cannot hide my sins from God (cf. Romans 3:23; 6:23). But I also realize and rejoice that as a Christian my sins have been forgiven and God remembers them no more (cf. Hebrews 8:12)!

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways” (Psalm 139:1-3).