Week 35: A Deceitful Heart

Today’s Text: Hosea 8-14

Key Text: Hosea 10:1-2

Israel was a spreading vine; he brought forth fruit for himself.  As his fruit increased, he built more altars; as his land prospered, he adorned his sacred stones. Their heart is deceitful, and now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will demolish their altars and destroy their sacred stones.

Why would God destroy his people’s altars? Because they were built to idols – the false Gods to which they had turned in their prosperity.

The commentary in the LIFE APPLICATION BIBLE explains and asks some good questions:

“Israel prospered under Jeroboam II, gaining military and economic strength. But the more prosperous the nation became, the more love it lavished on idols. It seems as though the more God gives, the more we spend. We want bigger houses, better cars, and finer clothes. But the finest things the world offers line the pathway to destruction. As you prosper, consider where your money is going. Is it being used for God’s purposes, or are you consuming it all on yourself?”

(Tyndale (2012-02-17). Life Application Study Bible NIV (Kindle Locations 161466-161471). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Kindle Edition.)

We must all keep vigilant that, should we prosper, we don’t simply squander it on idols of our own making.

Even if we are not materially wealthy, idolatry of other sorts can still wreak havoc on our lives and the lives of those we love.

In the end, it’s a matter of the heart – whether it will remain faithful to God – or be consumed by someone or something else.

How about it? How’s your heart doing, spiritually speaking? To whom is it devoted? These are important questions – and only you can answer them for yourself.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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