Spiritual Drift: Hosea 7:1-16
Woe to them, for they have strayed from me! Destruction to them, for they have rebelled against me! I would redeem them, but they speak lies against me. (Hosea 7:13)
Throughout the book of Hosea, God has pronounced his judgment on his people for their spiritual adultery and he has also demonstrated his steadfast love and abundant mercy by pursuing them before they even apologize. This passage shows us how they got there in the first place. It wasn’t sudden; it was due to gradual drifting, which is something to which we can all be susceptible.
- Neglect Preaching (vv. 1-2)
The first step in drifting from God is to neglect the preaching of the Word in the context of corporate worship. As we have seen already, God reveals sin to us in order to bring us to repentance. Whether through not bringing ourselves before the preached word in order for this to happen or by not humbly listening and applying it to our lives, we can all be susceptible to the drift that occurs when we neglect the means of grace God has given us through preaching.
- Yield to Lust (vv. 3-7)
When you are not regularly being washed by God’s word in your conscience, you are susceptible to all kinds of false motives. When you are not being regularly inoculated against the sins of the flesh, you are weak in your ability to resist. And when an organization, family or nation neglects the regular and faithful preaching of God’s word it will become susceptible to the most self-serving motives and basest of temptations to illicit sex.
- Frantically Search (vv. 11-13)
Finally, Hosea warns that when the word is not renewing your mind so you can approve what God’s will is, you will begin frantically searching for direction from every false source. If we are not hearing God’s Word, its truth will be replaced by another. We cannot live neutral. We are always moving in a direction. The difference, then, is whether we are living in the direction God made us for or another one.
No matter how long or how far we have drifted from God, there is only one thing to do: confess our sins and receive his grace. Jesus not only stands ready to extend mercy to you when you confess, he pursued you at the ultimate personal cost to bring you back from your drifting. Return to him and he will restore you.
- How can you avoid spiritual drift by committing yourself to hearing God’s Word preached in worship? Are there any steps you need to take to be present more often? Are there any ways you can help yourself be more engaged and spiritually prepared when you do come?
- Can you think of times in your own life or the lives of others where you could draw a connection between unfaithfulness to sit under the preaching of God’s Word and decreased ability to fight temptation and consequent drifting away from the Lord?
- Can you think of a time when you felt unsure and one when you felt secure and solid in your convictions? What made the difference?
- If you have been drifting, what is one step you can take today to return to the Lord?