“My people ask counsel from their wooden idols, and their staff informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, and they have played the harlot against their God.” – Hosea 4:12
2 Chronicles tells us that when Jeroboam set up his own religious system in Israel, the true priests fled to Judah. So, he set up his own priests that would proclaim what he wanted instead of truth. This did away with the covenant that God and the people made with each other at Mount Sinai. The people had said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8). The covenant promise was that He would bless the land if there was obedience and punish it if there was disobedience (Lev. 26; Deut. 27-28).
Jeroboam’s plan got rid of God’s law and put into place man’s law. A law that would not encourage holiness and reverence to a Maker but a religion that would look more like what the people wanted. And when that happens, people can live and do whatever they feel is right without the worry of any accountability to a just God. They could then be the “chosen” people and sin at the same time. And the priests were leading the way in this apostasy. The promise was broken and because God is just, he would fulfill His end of the promise.
Of the United States, Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying, “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” When we take away the cross of Jesus Christ, we take away the fact we are sinners and He died to save us. When that fact is out of the picture, we become much like Jeroboam and institute our own beliefs. “After all,” we tell ourselves, “God is love, how could He ever judge me for living this way? The world tells me it’s right, so it must be okay with God, right?”
God is just and righteous. He will fulfill all of His promises whether you believe them or not. The people and priests were being judged for lack of knowledge of His Word. Yes, Jesus shows grace through faith, but He expects obedience.