The northern kingdom of Israel in the eighth century is at a crossroads. The tribes are flourishing economically but floundering spiritually. God warns them through the prophet Hosea to turn from idolatry and moral corruption before judgment befalls them.
God’s complaint is personal. He charges Israel with committing spiritual adultery, among other offenses:
“Israel will cry to Me, ‘My God, we know You!’ Israel has rejected the good; the enemy will pursue him. They set up kings, but not by Me; they made princes, but I did not acknowledge them. From their silver and gold they made idols for themselves – that they might be cut off.” – Hosea 8:2-4
Is the modern church any different? How many pastors and parishioners cry “We know You!” while observing Christ’s birth and resurrection on pagan festivals? Why the lack of reverence in our halls of worship? Do we really know Him? In late December a church near Seattle staged “Ugly Christmas Sweater Sunday.” A man (pastor?) wearing an ugly red sweater and Santa hat is pulled on to the stage by parishioners dressed as reindeer. Laughter fills the sanctuary.