Hosea / chapter 4 (read the chapter)
Oh, another indictment of Israel. One thing’s for sure—they knew why God was angry with them! He told them every five seconds. But in the middle of this latest indictment, a very interesting verse caught my eye, and I think it caught my eye because it seems to be the antithesis of one of my most favorite verses in the Bible.
In explaining how God’s people were destroying themselves through the lack of knowledge, Hosea said, “You stumble day and night, and the prophets stumble with you.” (vs 5) That’s pretty sad—people stumbling through the day. I mean, we can imagine stumbling when it’s dark outside, when you can’t see where you’re going. But when somebody keeps stumbling in broad daylight, you know something is wrong!
This is what happens when a nation rejects the knowledge of God—soon, they are no longer able to walk straight, to discern direction, or to even see. They continually stumble, even during the day. In effect, without God, the day becomes like night. Perpetual night.
The antithesis of this is found in Psalm 139, and it is (right now) one of the coolest things I know about God: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (Ps 139:7-12)
With God, there is no such thing as night. He is light—all the time. And in this psalm, David acknowledged that no matter where he went—even if he thought he was descending into the deepest, darkest night—God would still be able to see him and find him, because to God, there is no such thing as darkness.
The more we reject God, the more we stumble, because without God, there is no such thing as daylight. Without Him to shed His light on the path of our lives, we are stuck in perpetual darkness, perpetual night, with no hope of finding a way out. God is the only way out.
From this indictment of Israel, God made it clear that when His light is rejected, the first things to go are truth and mercy. Those who think they can understand truth or those who think they can practice mercy outside of a relationship with God are only fooling themselves. In time, the night will descend and the stumbling will begin, because only God is light.
Without Him, there is no day.