They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains
and burn offerings on the hills,
under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
because their shade is good.
Therefore your daughters play the whore,
and your brides commit adultery.
 I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore,
nor your brides when they commit adultery;
for the men themselves go aside with prostitutes
and sacrifice with cult prostitutes,
and a people without understanding shall come to ruin. (ESV)
Underline “because their shade is good” in the verse above.
Is sin easy or hard? Do you have to try to sin or be taught to sin? No. It is hard to keep yourself from sinning. The phrase, “because their shade is good,” seems to say because it was easy, comfortable, or familiar. None of these describe what our walk with CHRIST should look like.
Fill in the blanks referencing the verses above.
_________________________ play the whore
The women of the community are unfaithful to the LORD. Where are the leaders of the families? Where are the men?
“…for the men themselves __________ _______________ ______________ _________________________ and _________________________ _______________ _______________ ________________________ and a _________________________ _________________________ __________________ __________ _______________ _______________ __________ _______________.”
The men of the community are suppose to be the spiritual leaders and guide their families to love the LORD the most. Instead, it looks like they were not only doing what was comfortable and easy for them, but actively pursuing false gods, a counterfeit trinket of the One True GOD.
 Though you play the whore, O Israel,
let not Judah become guilty.
Enter not into Gilgal,
nor go up to Beth-aven,
and swear not, “As the LORD lives.”
 Like a stubborn heifer,
Israel is stubborn;
can the LORD now feed them
like a lamb in a broad pasture?
 Ephraim is joined to idols;
leave him alone.
 When their drink is gone, they give themselves to whoring;
their rulers dearly love shame.
 A wind has wrapped them in its wings,
and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices. (ESV)
Highlight Ephraim and its pronouns in blue.
This is the first time that the LORD uses Ephraim as a synonym to Israel, the northern tribes, in the Book of Hosea, but will not be the last.
GOD is accusing Israel even further. GOD is accusing Israel of playing the whore. GOD is accusing Israel of devoting their talents for corrupt and unworthy purposes. Israel has cheapened the talents that the LORD blessed them with.
GOD is also warning Judah not to become guilty, abstaining from three things. What are those three things?
Beth-avan has now become defiled because of the sin that Jeraboam, king of Israel, lead the people to commit. (If you don't remember what this sin was, look back to Day 3.)
What does GOD compare Israel to?
A stubborn heifer is an animal that you cannot trust. The cow does not obey and will always look for a way to get out of their fenced area thinking that it is always greener on the other side. A lamb is a little more obedient. They are not prone to wonder and like to stay close to their shepherd.
1 Kings 11:26
 Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, a servant of Solomon, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, also lifted up his hand against the king. (ESV)
This sin of Jeroboam, because of his fear of losing power, affected the people of Israel for generations. They would never have a leader that did what was pleasing to the LORD, but instead their kings did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. They loved shame.
Are our leaders doing what is pleasing to the the LORD? Do our leaders love GOD or shame? Are our leaders fearing losing their power the most ultimately leading them, as well as the people they lead, to do evil in the sight of the LORD? Let us commit to pray for our leaders, spiritual leaders, and ourselves that the LORD will impress it upon our consciences to love GOD the most. Help all of us to see nothing to honor but GOD. Let us commit to pray that our leaders will lead us well so that we will be pleasing to the LORD and will not be a people of shame.
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.