The Bible uses colorful images to describe Israel’s apostasy: "a rebellious ox, a prostitute, a wild vine, and a stain that will not wash off."
Ethelene Dyer Jones
“Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.” –Hosea 14:9 (ESV)
Hosea prophesied in the eighth century B.C., but his message is a clarion call for our day. He deals with apostasy—turning away from the teachings of God; with rebellion of the people who follow their own way and break the covenant and laws of God. We can apply his prophecy to our own day—even our own country—and find that the themes he treats are still apparent in the behavior and pursuits of godlessness and rebellion.
Hosea holds forth hope, and that hope is to the discerning and wise who will turn from the temptations so prevalent and recognize that “the ways of the Lord are right.” Moreover, the upright will disregard the pull of the false gods—the Baals and all the practices that lead away from the Lord’s ways. They will know that transgressors stumble in the false ways, but the upright, despite the temptation to turn aside, will hold steadfastly to what thy know is God’s way and God’s plan.
He speaks for the importance of wise choice. Whether individually or nationally, discernment about what is right precedes moral action. “Whoever is wise” is a call to take notice and change ways. Rather than to go pell-mell into destruction and punishment for evil ways, recognize the covenant way of the Lord and walk therein. Like the prophet Hosea who pled so earnestly with his people in the eighth century BC, so there are those today who call for us to be discerning and wise.
Will we hear? Will we be serious about changing our course? What difference can one person make among so many? When we remember that we have an advocate in heaven, our high priest, the Lord Jesus who makes intercession for us, we can feel strengthened and determined that the wisdom and discernment of even the few who will remain faithful makes a difference. “Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)