“Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away” (Hosea 4:1-3).
God had a controversy with the people of Israel. He had blessed them in so many ways, yet they remained unthankful and disobedient. Here are some of the promises He had made them: “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17) … “I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit” (Leviticus 26:4) … “I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid” (Leviticus 26:6). Along with the promises came the requirement to obey, but they chose to disobey the Lord. “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28). Our own nation has been richly blessed by God, but we too, just like ancient Israel, have turned our backs on Him. Instead of blessing we can only expect judgement.
Society was rotten to the core. The prophets, priests and politicians were defrauding the people. Those who ought to have spoken up compromised the truth so as not to offend anyone. We see exactly the same thing today. The government is run by corrupt politicians who make excuses for their wickedness. The media distorts the news so that the people believe lies. The spiritual leaders stand for everything other than Biblical Christianity.
The nation lacked mercy. The people had fallen so far from righteousness that they did not understand what morality, justice and mercy was all about. Where is mercy seen today? In general people are selfish and immoral. Violence is on almost every street in every city. A nation or an individual that will not show mercy cannot receive it. “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7) … “With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt show thyself upright; With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt show thyself forward” (Psalm 18:25-26). This is why Hosea named his daughter ‘Loruhamah’ meaning ‘no mercy.’ “And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away” (Hosea 1:6). This was God’s warning to Israel and a call to repentance.
The people had no knowledge of God. This statement is astonishing since the people owed their existence to the Lord, their laws were established on God’s word, they had seen the marvellous things He had done for them, and they were prosperous while other lands were in poverty. Yet, the people knew next to nothing about God. The children in our own land are growing up in a pagan environment. They know about Islam and Hinduism, but are taught little about Christ and the Bible. They are encouraged to meditate on lights, crystals and other occult devices, while prayer to the Living God is discouraged. Like Israel, Great Britain started out strong among the nations. Our small country has overcome many mighty oppressors. Why? Because we trusted in God. Look at what has happened since we stopped honouring Him and His word!
The unavoidable result
Judgement must follow, and even now we are coming into bondage to other nations. The end result of anyone turning away from God is judgement, but the Lord says in Psalm 9:17, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” We cannot deny that our people are depraved, for there is a breakdown of law and order on our streets, and neither the police nor the politician seem capable of protecting the innocent. We have been cursed in the field, in our beasts, fish and birds, in our health, and in our national wealth. All these elements are part of God’s judgement upon us, but much more is to come unless we repent.
Is it too late for us?
Only God has the answer to this. Our nation may have stepped over the line, so that the judgement of being totally engulfed by Europe on the political level, and swamped by false religion on the spiritual level, means that the nation can never recover. But it is never too late for God’s people. He is forever “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1), so we can say with David, “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof” (Psalm 46:2-3). We can as individuals, as a church and as families seek the Lord with all our heart. “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).
It is not too clever, if God has a controversy against us, to continue rejecting Him. Israel eventually went into bondage in Babylon for seventy years, but until this day has never recovered its blessings, privilege and land. In her we see the result of what happens to a nation that rejects the word of the Lord. “Our sins, as separate persons, as a family, as a neighbourhood, as a nation, cause the Lord to have a controversy with us; let us submit and humble ourselves before Him, that he may not go on to destroy” (Matthew Henry).