And it shall be like people, like priest;
I will punish them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.
 They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
they shall play the whore, but not multiply,
because they have forsaken the LORD
to cherish  whoredom, wine, and new wine,
which take away the understanding.
 My people inquire of a piece of wood,
and their walking staff gives them oracles.
For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray,
and they have left their God to play the whore. (ESV)
GOD is now making an accusation against the people, and rightfully so.
What three things have the people abandoned the LORD to cherish?
These things take away ______________________________.
We have established that whoredom is faithless, unworthy, and/ or idolatrous pursuits.
Why would you love and nurse a faithless, unworthy, and/ or idolatrous pursuit?
Because it is more comfortable?
It agrees with you?
It affirms your sin?
It does not make you accountable to anyone or anything?
This pursuit may be fun for a time, but whoredom is a liar.
Whoredom takes away understanding.
GOD continues with the accusations saying that His people inquire of a
_________________________ __________ _________________________ and their
____________________________ _____________________ gives them _________________________.
What is an oracle? Look up oracle in the dictionary and write your best description or synonyms.
What is this piece of wood and this walking staff? Could it be that this piece of wood is the asherah pole that we hear so much about all through the history of Israel and Judah? This false god, the ashram pole, had a strong grip on the people of Israel that few broke loose from. Hard to break that tradition. Almost everyone else in the culture worshipped it. If you did not, you possibly would be labeled an outcast or even worse a hater.
Could the walking staff be Aaron’s walking staff? Aaron was Moses’ brother who assisted Moses with leading GOD’s people out of Egypt and eventually to the land of Canaan. Aaron’s walking staff was a tool that GOD repeatedly used in His miracles.
 For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. (ESV
 And the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, their canals, and their ponds, and all their pools of water, so that they may become blood, and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’” (ESV)
 And the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the canals and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt!’” (ESV)
 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, so that it may become gnats in all the land of Egypt.’” (ESV)
Aaron’s staff was placed in the arc of the covenant to be a remembrance of what the LORD did through the staff. The staff was designed to point the people to GOD. If what GOD is mentioning here is in fact Aaron’s staff, then the people took that good thing, made to direct people toward GOD, and started worshipping it. This practice seems to be so blended with the worship of GOD that possibly the people actually believed they were worshipping GOD through asking this staff for hidden knowledge. Are there things that the LORD set up for good or remembrance of Him, that we are worshiping today? Let us not be deceived, but worship GOD alone, letting all creation point us to Him!!
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.
“Dictionary by Merriam-Webster: America's Most-Trusted Online Dictionary.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/.
Green, Jay P. “Hosea.” The Interlinear Hebrew-Aramaic Old Testament: With Strong's Concordance Numbers above Each Word, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, MA, 1985, pp. 2075–2092.
Publishing, Rose. Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Time Lines. Rose Publishing, 2015.
Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order, Together with Dictionaries of the Hebrew and Greek Words of Th. Hendrickson Publishers, 1990.