They made kings, but not through me.
They set up princes, but I knew it not.
With their silver and gold they made idols
for their own destruction.
I have spurned your calf, O Samaria.
My anger burns against them.
How long will they be incapable of innocence?
For it is from Israel;
a craftsman made it;
it is not God.
The calf of Samaria
shall be broken to pieces. Hosea 8:4-6 ESV
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Romans 1:21-23 ESV
Martin Frobisher was an English explorer who sailed to what is now Canada to look for the Northwest Passage. On his first voyage he explored a bay which is now named Frobisher Bay, and he also found some black stones which he took back to England. He thought he had discovered gold and that he would end up being very rich. He went back to Canada on a second voyage and brought back 200 tons of the stones. When he had returned from this second voyage, instead of gold, he found out that the stones he had brought back were only made of iron pyrite, which is sometimes called “fool’s gold.” It wasn’t worth anything at all. In fact, all the stones he brought back were just used to pave roads in England!
God’s people Israel had turned away from God for things that were just as worthless as fool’s gold. God had given them their own king outside of David’s line, but their kings were wicked, and the people kept picking different kings without looking for God’s will. Sometimes a new king would defeat the old king in battle and take over the kingdom. Worse than that, they had traded the true God for false gods and goddesses. They had set up golden calves to worship instead of the Lord, and that was the beginning of their worshiping many other false gods. The Lord spoke to them through the prophet Hosea about how angry he was about their foolish choices. He said that their golden calf in the capital city of Samaria would be cut into pieces.
We all change the true God and the things of God for things we want for ourselves. We put our trust in money or our own intelligence or strength or in powerful people who we think will help us. But there is no one and nothing that we can trust completely except God. He warns us not to look away from him when we need help. This is especially true when it comes to becoming God’s children. We were separated from God because of our sins, and there’s nothing we could have done to save ourselves. But God came to us in Jesus to die for us and bring us back to him. Jesus is the only way to God, and if we look for God away from Jesus we will end up with things even more worthless than fool’s gold.
Dear Jesus, thank you for being our Savior. Please help us always to trust you only. Amen.