Held Down (Hosea 5:4)

“Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. A spirit of prostitution is in their heart; they do not acknowledge the Lord.” (Hosea 5:4)

Sin is a terrible thing. It is rebellion against God and His statutes, it disrupts His original design for creation causing pain, anguish, and turmoil, and its penalty is death- not only physical, but spiritual.

In chapter 5 of Hosea’s account, God declares his judgment against Israel for their egregious sins. Their intentional repetition of sin makes repentance impossible, thus blocking their return to the Lord.

Is there sin in your life that you are aware of, but refuse to let go of? Is there something that God hates and detests in your life, but you’d rather continue reaping its shallow and momentary gratification than truly repenting and turning the other way?

If so, then verse 4 is a warning to us all- that repeated, intentional, blatant sin comes from a spirit of prostitution within us. It’s a spirit of adultery in which we cheat on our relationship with God, and run for comfort and satisfaction from the temptations and idols in our lives, rather than running to Him.

For those of us who have this spirit in our hearts, the Bible says that it obstructs our ability to acknowledge the Lord. Bottom line is that if we harbor unrepentant sin in our lives, God becomes further and further from reality to us, and it breaks our fellowship and communion with Him.

But once we confess our sins, repent, and ask for forgiveness from God, we are restored to perfect fellowship with Him! “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

By faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7)! Thank God that in His love, grace, and mercy for us, He has made a way to return to Him, despite our failures!

But we can’t cheapen the grace by which our freedom was purchased. Even for those whose sins have been paid for on the cross of Calvary by the blood of Jesus, we must be aware that our sins will still have damaging effects in both our physical and spiritual lives. As adulterous as Israel was, God still redeemed them, but their sins never came without cost. We must be ready to suffer the consequences of the sin we sow.

If there is sin in your life that is hurting your walk with God and undoubtedly causing ill-effects in your personal life (whether you realize it or not), then confess and repent today! God is so absolutely gracious that He offers full forgiveness of our past, present, and future sins through Jesus Christ. Don’t believe the lies of Satan– other than outright denying Jesus Himself, there is no sin in your life that is so big that you can’t be washed clean by the blood of Christ!

Let’s not drag our feet as the people of Israel and Judah did. Their sin in return dragged them through judgment, punishment, and separation from God that finally drove them back to Him out of their anguish and misery.

Folks, that’s not the pattern we want to follow. We don’t always have to hit rock bottom to get back to the top. God has an abundant life in store for you! Don’t trade that for a life held down by sin.

[From January 26, 2019]

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