6 July 2010

Hosea 8:4-13

"Israel has forgotten his Maker, and built palaces; and Judah has multiplied fortified cities; but I will send fire upon his cities, and it shall devour his strongholds." (v.14)


The Presidential Palace in Haiti was once one of the most magnificent buildings in Port-au-Prince, the country's capital. It stood noticeably apart from the decay and squalor of its neighbours. Now, however, in common with every other building nearby, it is a pile of rubble, twisted metal and broken stone and cement.

For many years, Haiti has suffered as much from the brokenness of its government and leaders as from natural disasters and earthquakes.

In today's reading, the God of justice calls for responsible leadership, otherwise when the people "sow the wind ... they shall reap the whirlwind". Of the more than 45 presidents of Haiti, only 9 have served a full term. Most have been overthrown by one means or another. In many cases, external powers have interfered to destabilise the legitimate government in order to replace it with one more sympathetic to them. How the words of God, spoken through Hosea, speak fearfully to describe this wrongful state of affairs: "They make kings, but not through me; they set up princes, but without my knowledge. With their silver and gold they make idols for their own destruction".

We must never forget that Hosea's harsh words come from the hurt of a betrayed husband and a faithful god who has been rejected by God's own people. However much we may be tempted to apply the prophet's words to broken societies in other parts of the world, we must never forget to acknowledge the brokenness and injustice in our own society.

To Ponder

Think of the people who have influenced your development. What have been their best qualities and their worst?

Who or what do you think are the voices in our society that speak as clearly as Hosea about the dangers of idolatry in modern-day life?

What are the idols of our society?

Bible notes author

The Revd Tom Quenet

Prior to his current role as superintendent in the Tynedale Circuit, Tom Quenet was partnership coordinator for the Americas and the Caribbean in the World Church Relationships Office of the Methodist Church in Britain. A deep knowledge of the Church in the region gave given Tom a passion for the insights into being a disciple of Jesus that the Spanish speaking world has to offer the world.