By Rev. Jeremiah Cheung
From Hosea Chapter 4:11-19
4:11b. . . old wine and new wine take away their understanding. 12 My people consult a wooden idol, and a diviner’s rod speaks to them. A spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God. 13 They sacrifice on the mountaintops and burn offerings on the hills, under oak, poplar and terebinth, where the shade is pleasant. Therefore your daughters turn to prostitution and your daughters-in-law to adultery. 14 “I will not punish your daughters when they turn to prostitution, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery, because the men themselves consort with harlots and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes— a people without understanding will come to ruin! 15 “Though you, Israel, commit adultery, do not let Judah become guilty. “Do not go to Gilgal; do not go up to Beth Aven. And do not swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives!’ 16 The Israelites are stubborn, like a stubborn heifer. How then can the Lord pasture them like lambs in a meadow? 17 Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone! 18 Even when their drinks are gone, they continue their prostitution; their rulers dearly love shameful ways. 19 A whirlwind will sweep them away, and their sacrifices will bring them shame.
Solomon, the wise king, reminds us in Proverbs 4:23 to guard our hearts above all else for everything we do flows from it. Guarding our hearts is essential. The prophet Hosea reminded the Israelites in 4:11-12 of how prostitution and wine took away the understanding of their hearts. These physical pleasures will steal away our hearts and what will happen to us? We will lose our way. Hosea 4:12 says, My people consult a wooden idol, and a diviner’s rod speaks to them. A spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God. They turned wood into idols and replaced the true God with false gods.
Such spiritual immorality worsens with each generation. It will not only affect you, but also your children. Verse 14: “… your daughters…turn to prostitution, … your daughters-in-law… commit adultery…” Sin is appalling in its contagiousness. It is a dreadful and infectious disease. It is worse than COVID-19.
The Book of Romans says just as sin entered the world through one man, all men became ensnared by sin. That is why the Lord says to the Israelites again and again, ‘do not, do not, do not’. In verse 15 “Though you, Israel, commit adultery, do not let Judah become guilty. “Do not go to Gilgal; do not go up to Beth Aven. And do not swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives!’” There are several ‘do nots’ here – do not go to Gilgal, do not go up to Beth Aven, do not swear “As surely as the Lord lives”. Do not take sin lightly for one misstep can cause eternal grief!
If we continue to live in sin and refuse to repent, God will “leave us alone”. Verses 16 to 17 say, The Israelites are stubborn, like a stubborn heifer. How then can the Lord pasture them like lambs in a meadow? 17 Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone! Since they are as stubborn as a heifer, the Lord says to leave them alone! If they want to be joined to idols, let them go! The first chapter of Romans says the same thing: the Lord God gave them over to the desires of their hearts.
We must guard our hearts for everything we do flows from it. If our hearts are not in the right place, we will slowly wander from the presence of the Lord, stray from His grace, and eventually, we will turn onto the path of destruction. Turn back quickly! Today is the day of salvation, now is the time of his favor!
保守你的心勝過保守一切 | 何西亞書
11 姦淫和酒, 並新酒, 奪去人的心。12 我的民求問木偶, 以為木杖能指示他們, 因為他們的淫心使他們失迷, 他們就行淫離棄神, 不守約束。13 在各山頂, 各高岡的橡樹、楊樹、栗樹之下, 獻祭燒香, 因為樹影美好, 所以你們的女兒淫亂, 你們的新婦行淫。14 你們的女兒淫亂, 你們的新婦行淫, 我卻不懲罰他們, 因為你們自己離群與娼妓同居, 與妓女一同獻祭, 這無知的民, 必致傾倒。15 以色列阿,你雖然行淫, 猶大卻不可犯罪, 不要往吉甲去, 不要上到伯亞文, 也不要指著永生的耶和華起誓。16 以色列倔強, 猶如倔強的母牛, 現在耶和華要放他們, 如同放羊羔在寬闊之地。17 以法蓮親近偶像, 任憑他罷。18他們所喝的已經發酸, 他們時常行淫, 他們的官長最愛羞恥的事。19風把他們裹在翅膀裡, 他們因所獻的祭必致蒙羞。
智慧的王所羅門在箴言4:23提醒我們要保守我們的心勝過保守一切, 因為一生的果效是從心裡發出的。我們的心真是很重要, 先知何西亞在4:11-12提醒以色列人, 姦淫和酒, 並新酒, 奪去人的心。這些肉體的享受會將我們的心奪去, 結果呢? 人就會失迷, 4:12 我的民求問木偶, 以為木杖能指示他們, 因為他們的淫心使他們失迷, 他們就行淫離棄神, 不守約束。以木偶代替偶像, 以假神代替真神。
而且這種屬靈淫亂的情況會越來越嚴重, 不單影響自己, 更會使兒女受影響, 4:14 你們的女兒淫亂, 你們的新婦行淫。罪的可怕是有感染力的, 罪是一種可怕的傳染病, 比現在的COVID-19更可怕, 羅馬書說罪對一個人入了世界, 結果全世界都陷在罪裡。所以神一次又一次向以色列人不要, 不要, 不要; 在第十五節「以色列阿, 你雖然行淫, 猶大卻不可犯罪, 不要往吉甲去, 不要上到伯亞文, 也不要指著永生的耶和華起誓。」這裡有三個不要, 不要往吉甲去, 不要上到伯亞文, 也不要指著永生的耶和華起誓, 不要輕看罪的可怕, 一失蹤足成千古恨啊!
在這個時候, 我們還繼續在罪裡不出來, 神就會「任憑」我們，4:16 以色列倔強, 猶如倔強的母牛, 現在耶和華要放他們, 如同放羊羔在寬闊之地。4:17 以法蓮親近偶像, 任憑他罷。神說他們倔強如同母牛, 神任憑他們罷, 他們要親近偶像, 由他們去吧! 在羅馬書第一章神也這樣說過, 神就任憑他們。
我們要保守我們的心, 因為一切都是出於心, 心如果不對, 會越來越離開神, 離開神的面, 離開神的恩典, 最後只有滅亡這條路了, 早早回頭吧, 現在是拯救的日子, 現在是恩典的日子啊!