Israel is a luxuriant vine
that yields its fruit.
The more his fruit increased,
the more altars he built;
as his country improved,
he improved his pillars.
Their heart is false;
now they must bear their guilt.
The Lord will break down their altars
and destroy their pillars. Hosea 10:1-2 ESV
We bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. . . Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness. Acts 14:15b, 17 ESV
Rat and Mole had a friend, Toad, who was very rich. Toad had all the money he could ever want, and he was always spending his money on whatever was popular or exciting at that time. First he was interested in boating, then he gave up his boat for a horse-drawn caravan. A passing motorcar scared his horse, and his caravan ended up in the ditch. This made Toad give up on his caravan and move on to his next big thing, a motorcar of his own. Toad was a very reckless driver, and he crashed seven cars, but nothing could stop him from his foolish behavior. He didn’t seem to care at all about his friends who tried to help him. Even when Rat and Mole tried to keep him locked up in his house, he escaped and stole a car, and was caught by the police and sent to jail.
God spoke through the prophet Hosea about Israel. He had given them many blessings and they were very rich, but they spent their riches foolishly. They kept looking for the newest and most exciting things to spend their wealth on, and they did the most foolish thing of all. They used their wealth to build pillars and altars for false gods and goddesses. The Lord was very angry with them for taking the gifts he had given them and using them to worship and honor other gods instead of him. He warned them that he would soon punish them by breaking down their altars and destroying their pillars.
The prophet Hosea talked about the false hearts the people of Israel had. We all have false hearts. God has given us many blessings, but we don’t always remember him or thank him for the good things he gives us. Sometimes we use these blessings in ways that don’t honor him. We care more about the gifts than we do about the heavenly Father who gives us these gifts. But God sent us the best gift of all. He sent us Jesus to die for our sins and to bring us back to him. God forgives us our sins because of Jesus and sends us his Holy Spirit to give us new hearts that love and serve God.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all your good gifts. Help us to always use your gifts to honor you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Grahame, Kenneth The Wind in the Willows London: Methuen, 1908.