“And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him. - Hosea 11:7 (KJV, emphasis mine)
In the mid-1980’s I would purpose to prioritize listening to the Gospel Hour with evangelist and Pastor Oliver B. Greene. Not only was he an excellent expository teacher, he never minced his words. He pulled no punches in order to knock out carnality. I remember that he would often close his program with a prayer that always asked God to save the lost and reclaim the backslider.
As we consider the Scripture from Hosea, I am going to highlight a few words from this passage.
First, let’s look at backslider. What is a backslider? Backsliding is turning away from God and His word or commandments and turning back to the gods of this world in regards to attitudes, appetites, and actions.
Next, let’s look at the phrase, “My people.” What is interesting to note is that the prophet Hosea tells us that the backslider comes from the people of God. Even more amazing, did you notice that God declared that the backslider belongs to Him? God calls Israelites My people, despite their sordid sin! By calling them “My people” He is also speaking to His possession or ownership.
Next, let’s look at the word, bent. God states that Israel, His people are bent on backsliding from Him. Bent means to hang to or to cling to. So God recognizes that Israel is clinging to their backslidden state.
And finally, let’s look at the phrase, “though they call to the Most High, none at all exalt Him.” This statement speaks to their profession of faith. It is poor and simply empty. They call to the Most High in a formal sort of way offering weighty words of religious expression which is hollow honor! They lobbied with their lips but did not life the Lord God up with their lives. This Scripture indicates the need for a clear distinction with respect to our faith: our actions should be in alignment with what we advertise with our mouth.
All of us have either been or know of someone in the body of Christ in a backslidden state that caused separation from God. As a result, you gave shallow and hollow worship to the Lord, abandoned church activities and attendance, took a rebellious retreat from reading the Scriptures and turned your back to God as opposed to turning your face to God. I am not advocating for us to bathe in a boiling bath of backsliding but the biblical backslider belongs to God and it is His job to bring them back! Our role in dealing with a backslider is to point them to the truth and intercede on their behalf.
Join me again next week when we will consider God's response to His people’s rebellious and hypocritical hearts.
Not a Sermon But a Thought,