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What God spoke to Israel through the prophet Hosea was both a provocative and provoking message. He likened them to a prostitute who left her first love and ran to other lovers. They did this by worshipping idols, either blatantly or in their hearts. And the message was clear: STOP CHEATING ON GOD!
This isn’t what God wanted for them at all. What did He want? He spelled it out quite simply with 4 “I Want” statements, and yet they still didn’t turn to Him.
Related: The 4 Things God Wants From You
But simply put? God wanted to love them and to have them love Him in return.
God begs Israel to say away from idols (Hosea 14:8) and instead turn to Him, the One who answers their prayers and cares for them.
Hosea was shouting it from the rooftops: “Hey! People! Stop cheating on God!”
Do you need the reminder to stop cheating on God?
Stop looking at the things of this world that can never satisfy you. Stop pouring your heart and soul into relationships, trying to fill a void, when only God can do that.
And those experiences you keep chasing? The thrills and wanderlust you satisfy to settle that restlessness inside of you? It’s another form of idolatry if you are using it to appease the longing of your heart that can only be filled by God.
If you wonder if you actually struggle with idolatry, check out this 4 Question Checklist to Identify the Idols in Your Life. And then there is a 3-step process to eliminate those idols once you’ve identified them.
How do you stop cheating on God?
Hosea 14:9 concludes the book with the simple system to stop cheating on God:
1. Understand what God is saying
If you read something in the Bible and it doesn’t make sense, don’t be afraid to dig in and study it more.
Also, pray and ask God to open your eyes and heart to His truths. He will.
2. Listen carefully to His teachings with discernment
This takes understanding to an even deeper level. You need to listen, understand, and discern.
That means to see the nuances, to learn how to apply, to get not just the main point but the whole point.
It also means that when you listen to others teach the Word, you need to discern if they are truly teaching from a Biblical place. There are so many misinformed and false teachers out there today!
3. Walk in the paths of the Lord that are true and right
One way to do this is to start each day in the Word. Personally, I love starting each day with a chapter of Proverbs and ending each day with a Psalm. Then during my intentional quiet time I read something else and dig in.
Sound like too much time in the Word? There are seasons where that might be hard. Try picking up a simple devotional or tune into a blog that offers a daily one. Personally, my favorite devotional is My Utmost For His Highest.
And then pray. Ask God to help you walk out what you are learning. Ask Him to help you bear the fruits of the Spirit in your life. Do what is true and right, not to earn your salvation but out of love for the One who answers your prayers and cares for you.
Related: 5 Ways You Can Make God Happy