Chapter 13 in the book of Hosea is a classic example of an Old Testament rant from God. He rails against Israel because they’ve forgotten about Him despite all He has done for them. He lists their sins and voices His intense anger. He took care of them; He provided for them; He loved them.
And they repaid Him by worshiping idols.
How does this happen? How can people walk so closely with the Lord, experiencing His provision and witnessing His miracles, and then just turn against Him or set Him on the back burner?
In verse 6 God gives insight into the situation: “When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.”
What a simple, subtle progression from hungry – seeking the Lord – to forgetful – unconcerned with the Lord.
First, God feeds us. We have to cooperate on this and be seeking spiritual food from Him.
If we don’t desire the food, He can’t feed us.
It’s like trying to feed a baby food he doesn’t want. You’d think an adult could overpower a 20 lb infant and muscle food in, but it’s just not true. They clamp their jaws shut, steel their wills, and it becomes physically impossible to get those strained peas in their mouths. Just like a baby, unless we are willing to open our mouths, God can’t feed us. (I cringe every time I write that phrase, “God can’t”, but in this case I think it is true).
So we start with a cooperative spirit, eager and willing to receive from the Lord. And He feeds us.
He feeds us so well we become satisfied. Naturally. Nothing wrong with that.
It’s our response to feeling satisfied that is crucial.
We should praise the Lord with a thankful, humble heart. And we should keep our face toward Him, continuing to seek Him with an eager spirit. Then we’d be in good shape.
But most of us don’t respond to feeling satisfied that way.
You know what we do after a big meal? We fall asleep.
And that happens to us spiritually as well. We get enough from the Lord that we feel like we will never need to eat again. We close our Bibles, we stop praying, and we relax. We feel blessed, and indeed we are. We begin to think how pleased the Lord is with us. We’ve been seeking Him, and He has responded with blessing. How wonderful we must be in His eyes for Him to extend His favor to us!
In the midst of our blessing, we change our diet. We stop seeking the Lord’s food, and we begin to nourish ourselves with sweet pride. Our bellies extend. We feel full, not of the Lord, but of ourselves.
Once our focus shifts from the Lord to ourselves, we slowly, but surely, forget the Lord.
We forget that we ever needed or wanted His nourishment to begin with. We become satisfied with ourselves and our pride, forgetting that we are not to credit for any favor we’ve enjoyed.
In times of spiritual satisfaction, we must guard against deceptive pride, lest we lose sight of the Source of our satisfaction.