Hos 8:4-7, 11-13; Ps 115:3-10; Mt 9:32-38
Idols are precious to their makers. They are fashioned out of the most precious metals to express the devotion of their makers and everyone that trusts in them. Israel, the ancient and faithful People of God and the New Israel, trusts in the LORD who made heaven and earth. The LORD is in heaven and whatever he wills, he does. In faith, we know that whatever God wills he does for our good. Unlike false religions and idols the LORD our God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, has a mouth and speaks to us of his love and reveals to us the truth of who he is for us and with us. The LORD has eyes that see into the depths of the human heart, and there he affirms the best motives of the heart. The LORD has ears to listen to our most silent pleas, those we fear to cry out lest we be rejected and misunderstood. The LORD has a nose and indeed, he smells the stench of our sin and the pleasing aroma of our burning incense. The LORD has hands that reach out to touch us with tender and healing love. The LORD has feet, and he is swift to rescue us in every danger. We who are made in his image and likeness are transformed by his saving love to use all we have and all we are for his glory, and this is the true dignity of our human nature. Hosea warns the unfaithful Israel that as she slowly sows the wind, she will one day unexpectedly reap the whirlwind. The Good Shepherd summons us to pray for those who reap the harvest of God’s Word that they may not reap God’s Wrath. We who have received the Holy Spirit, the Breath of the LORD, are sent to harvest, and we have no fear of wrath.
They shall return to Egypt, that place of slavery, because their hearts are already back in the land of oppression. The faithful husband, Hosea, speaks for his LORD the Faithful Spouse of the harlot Israel. Indeed, in her capital, Samaria, this northern kingdom has established kings without the approval of the LORD. These monarchs have, year after year, used the silver and gold of the land to make idols for themselves, to their own destruction. What else can an idol do but lead the people to self-destruct? This is why the LORD is a jealous God who seeks after his Israel. Idols are the work of an artisan, no god at all. When we do not worship God, the One True God, we kill our souls. We become what we worship: deaf, dumb, blind, lame, cruel, heartless, senseless, and evil. We sacrifice our own sons and daughters to placate the idols of the nations. We offer our wives and daughters over to temple prostitution to assure the cycles of nature. Such is the disaster of idolatry! Such are those who sow the wind and reap the whirlwind! We cannot turn ourselves over to the gods of the nations in which we live and not suffer the consequences of our behavior and our belief. The LORD is not pleased to see us destroying ourselves and he will remember our guilt and punish our sins. Indeed, we shall return to Egypt, to the land of oppression and slavery.
The LORD sows with abandon the seeds of his Kingdom, and the LORD himself will send out laborers to gather in his harvest. The LORD does not sow wind or reap the whirlwind. He sows good seed and reaps the good harvest, a hundredfold! It is his heart that is moved with pity. His divine heart that is moved with the compassion of the Father and the mighty breath of the Holy Spirit. The Savior, Christ our God, still moves around, among all the towns and villages, and he continues to teach the wisdom of the Father and he still proclaims the good news of the Kingdom. The Holy Spirit is upon him and he cures every disease, and even casts out every demon. The presence of one so holy and so powerful is the only true joy of all who suffer and a threat to all who oppress others. The demoniac is brought to the Lord Jesus. He cannot speak, a mute and malevolent spirit has claimed him and made him like himself. Without hesitation the Lord casts out this demon and the mute speaks. His enemies accuse the Lord Jesus of driving out demons by the prince of demons. This accusation is not even given the dignity of a response by the Lord in Saint Matthew’s gospel. It is merely mentioned in passing, as if it is to be expected. The crowds are filled with amazement and the Pharisees are filled with accusations. So, what’s new? As a Wiseman once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Indeed, the hard of heart keep rejecting the Lord’s compassion, and those who suffer find healing and comfort from the Lord whose heart is moved.