Through the chapter of Hosea 8, a report is made. This chapter of the Book of Hosea presents to us, in fact, the relation that Israel had with God, at that time of the prophet Hosea. Apparently, Israel was from a religious point of view, a godly people but they did not please God.
Certainly, we wonder, how is this possible?
Yet this reality still exists today in the Christian era. One thing is to be a Christian, but another thing is to please God. This implies that we can be Christians without pleasing God. Yet in logic, when one is a Christian, one must please God. This truth challenges us and we ask ourselves: How is it possible to be a Christian and not to please God?
In our attempt to answer this problematic, under the theme ” How to Please God? ” in connection with the biblical references of Hosea, chapter 8 and Mark 7: 6 – our teaching will be articulated around the analysis of the relationship between Israel and the Eternal God, in the time of the prophet Hosea, firstly.
Then we will try to understand how it is possible, in the Christian era, that one can be a Christian and not please God. Yet, God wants us to be Christians.
Finally, we will try to expose the relationship a Christian must have with God in order to please God.
I – the Religious Relationship Between the People of Israel and the Eternal God, at the Time of the Hosea Prophet (According to Hosea 8)
When we read chapter 8 of the Book of Hosea, God speaks through his prophet of the situation of his people, with regard to their religious relationship with him. God: The Israelites did not know that they rejected God.
In fact, we had the impression that they were becoming more and more pious in their language, their ways of doing things…
Attempting to Analyze This Relation
Let’s try to analyze the religious situation of Israel at this time:
1 – A People Who Claim to Know God… (According to Hosea 8: 2)
At that time, Israel was certain to be worshiping God. The Israelites claimed to be with God and to worship God. The Israelites thought that their religious relationship with God was stable and good. What irony! Because during this time they claimed to be in good relationship with God, the Lord finds that His people are breaking His covenant and transgressing His Law (Hosea 8: 1).
2 – A People Who Offered Sacrifices to God (According to Hosea 8: 11,13)
In the certainty of their perfect harmony with God, they multiplied the altars. Logically, the altars at that time were used for worship and religious rites as part of the worship of God. Certainly, these altars were to bring them closer to God. Yet the Eternal Lord says that the altars have made them fall into sin (Hosea 8:11).
They sacrificed victims they offered to God…
Logically to their times, offering a sacrifice to God was a good thing, and meant for the forgiveness of sins for example. But the Lord God declares that he took no pleasure. And when he remembered their iniquities, he would punish them for their iniquities (Hosea 8: 13).
3 – A Blessed and Prosperous People, but Idolater… so Far from God (Hosea 10: 1)
Further on, Still relating the relationship between Israel and God, the Lord through the voice of his prophet describes this: ” Israel was a fruitful vineyard, which yielded much fruit. The more abundant his fruits were, the more he multiplied the altars; The more prosperous his country was, the more he embellished the statues. ” (Hosea 10: 1). This image shows that the more the Israelites thought they worshiped God, the more they multiplied the altars, and the more prosperous they were. And this prosperity served them to embellish the statues. Their prosperity made them idolatrous.
And that challenges us, but why did not they please God, being religious?
Reasons for Which Israelites Do Not Please God
The reasons could be multiple:
– The eternal declares that the Israelites violated the Covenant and transgressed the Law of God (Hosea 8: 1);
– The Israelites rejected good (Hosea 8: 2);
– They established kings without the order of God and leaders without his knowledge. In addition, they made idols with their silver and gold (Hosea 8: 4);
– They refused to purify themselves (to make themselves clean before Yahweh): as Hosea 8: 5 says;
– The ordinances of the Law of God were regarded as something foreign to them (Hosea 8:12);
– Israel had forgotten the blessings of God (Hosea 8:14)
– Their prosperity made them idolatrous (Hosea 10: 1) and their hearts were shared (Hosea 10: 2).
We notice that the people of Israel claimed to know and worship God, they did religious things, they were prosperous, but they did not please God anyway. There must be a reason.
In reality, from a religious point of view, the Israelites appeared pious in form; but in the end, they rejected God and they did not please God. On the other hand, their piety was a mere appearance, as Hosea 6: 4 confirms.
The real problem was that being religious, they did not please God because they wanted to worship God in their own ways and not according to his own. The more they offered the sacrifices to God, the more they worshiped idols.
This reflects the fact that, thinking that they were worshiping God, in reality, they were rebels, idolaters: that’s why they did not please God.
Despite their sacrifices, burnt offerings, they did not please God. Surely perhaps it is their way of doing (or presenting) the sacrifices to God at this time that did not please God.
But in Hosea 6: 6, the Eternal God declares this: “For I love piety, and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” This biblical passage shows that while being religious, the Israelites thought they knew God, but in truth, they did not know God. They thought they were pious in their own eyes, but in reality, they were not God’s eyes.
It is therefore clear that the Israelite people, despite being religious, did not please God. This observation challenges us. Is it also possible in the era of present-day Christianity, to be a Christian and not to please God as well?
II – To Be Christian … Without a Plain to God!
Who Is Called ” a Christian ”?
Commonly, is called Christian, anyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, or is any follower of Christianity, or anyone with a Christian denomination.
If then, we base ourselves on this conception, we will have to say that the Christian is the one who accepted God, that is to say, Jesus Christ in his life. He is the one who accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Savior; participating in religious activities (of Christianity), and going to the Church to worship God. In a word, it is the one who has a relationship with God based in Jesus Christ, the God of our salvation.
In this definition of the word “a Christian,” we can say that the Christian logically should please God. For God’s wish is that every human being can give his life to Jesus Christ in order to be saved (according to John 3:16). In this case, how can we be Christian, and not please God?
How to Be Christian and Not to Please God?
Just as, in the time of the prophet Hosea, there were Israelites who in their relationship with God did not please God; nowadays there are Christians who do not please God.
We then ask ourselves: to what extent can we be Christian and not please God? The following points will attempt to answer our concern.
1 – Legality, Pride and External Piety
Legalism means that we observe the precepts; we practice the teachings of God in form and not in substance, as was the case with the Pharisees.
When we live the principles of the Christian life according to our own human conceptions, our own intelligence without taking into account the spirit in which the word of God asks us to apply these principles in our lives. When, we seek to please men, by betting on the appearance in our conduct. When, even during the service of God, we seek to be seen by men, or to preserve our personal interests (by serving God out of interest).
For more information: Matthew 23: 23,25-27; Matthew 16: 11-12; Galatians 1:10; 1 Samuel 16: 7; James 4: 6; Romans 11: 20-21; Proverbs 8:13; 1 Timothy 6: 3-5; Proverbs 16:18; Matthew 23:14.
2 – When We Follow Tradition and the Way of Men and Not the Word of God
When, we annul the word of God, for the benefit of our tradition. When, we abandon the word of God to follow the precepts, the commandments of men. When we turn away from the truths of the Bible and cling to teachings contrary to those of the Bible.
For more information: Matthew 15: 6-9; Jeremiah 17: 5.
3 – Libertinage and the Living According to the Flesh
Here, the religious libertinage translates the fact of refusing the constraints, which leads to the disorder in manners, in the behavior. Libertinage, in the life of a Christian, is when he loses the notion of Grace. Thus, he abuses ” grace ”. Relying on the idea of “freedom” in Christ, he ends up pleasing himself in sin, walking contrary to the principles of the Christian life. A Christian is in libertinism when he has not yet become aware of the sin and fear of God in his life, in his conduct…
To live according to the flesh is to walk according to the lusts of the flesh, the vanity of this world. It is the fact of loving the things of this world, of attaching oneself to the desires and pleasures of the body. To consecrate your life to satisfy the flesh. And to live also according to the train of this world.
For more information: Romans 6: 12-16; Colossians 3: 5-8; Romans 13:13; Galatians 5: 16-21; Romans 8: 5-8; 2 Timothy 2:19.
4 – A Life of Disobedience
When we do not listen to the way and the will of God. When we trivialize the 10 commandments. When we go against the Law of God (the 10 commandments). When, we refuse to obey God When we challenge the will, sovereignty, supremacy of God: when we rebel against God.
To know more: 1 Samuel 15: 22-23; 1 John 2: 4
5 – Affection to the Affairs of the World Instead of Those of God
When we care about the things of this world compared to those of God. When, we love the things of this world (money, power, sex, human glory etc.). When our affection is turned towards the goods of this world.
To find out more: James 4: 4; 1 John 2: 15-17.
6 – Lack of Faith, Lack of Sincerity and Commitment
When, we doubt God, his power, his love, his promises, his faithfulness, his mercy, his justice, and his wisdom, etc. When our heart is away from God. When God does not occupy the first place in our life. When we refuse to serve God. When we sleep the spiritual gifts he has put in us. When we do not worship God in Spirit and in truth. When we are not really engaging with God. When, we lack sincerity, fidelity, fervor in our walk with the Lord.
For more information: Mark 7: 6; John 20: 24-29; 1 Samuel 16: 7; Matthew 14:31; Jeremiah 48:10; Haggai 1: 2-4, 9.
We can summarize the reasons why a Christian may not please God as well: by neglecting the heavenly things, the activities and works of God, or living in the flesh (contrary to Christian principles), or a life disobedience, or the lack of faith, sincerity, truth, and commitment to our Christian walk.
Clearly, when we do not lead a serious, stable, real relationship based on sincerity, truth, faith, and trust in God, then we cannot please God.
Would it not be necessary for us to try to see some principles in order to please God?
III – Some Principles to Please God
– To be a good soldier of Jesus Christ who does not bother with the affairs of life, but for the glory of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2: 3-4).
– To do good for the Lord and not for men (Colossians 3:23).
– To affection to heavenly things (Colossians 3: 1-2).
– To devote yourself to God and seek the will of God in all things (Romans 12: 1-2).
– To keep clean, get away from iniquity and lead a life of sanctification (2 Timothy 2: 19-21, Hebrews 12:14, 1 Corinthians 6: 15-20, 1 Thessalonians 4: 1-8).
– To be humble (Romans 12:16).
– To be the light, the salt of the world and worthy imitators and ambassadors of Jesus Christ (Matthew 5: 13-16, 2 Corinthians 5:20, Ephesians 5: 1-2).
At the end of our teaching, we understand that it is possible to be a Christian and not to please God. This reflects the fact that it is no longer a question of simply being called Christians. It’s not just about being baptized. It’s not just about attending a Christian assembly (being a member of a church). It’s not just about wearing the name, the Christian title.
No! No more appearance! We must lift the veil! We must leave the appearance! We must go beyond appearance if we want to please God in our walk with God. Yes, that’s what it’s about. The only way, the only way to please God is to have an active and full Christian life based on a life of prayer and intercession – a life of constant meditation of the Bible – a life of evangelism – and finally, a life of sanctification and consecration for the sole purpose of glorifying the name of God by our life, in our life and in our surroundings.
Such a Christian life sprinkled with true love, perfect zeal, great dedication, great sincerity, and spirit of humility, led by the Holy Spirit (therefore walking by the Spirit) is that Christian life that will please farewell.
Because Lord needs the true worshipers who will worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4: 23-24). The Lord needs Christians who have a strong and sincere relationship with him. He is a loving God who loves seriousness and sincerity, reverence, adoration from a pure heart.
In the same way, every child is called to seek to please, to honor his parents. Thus, every Christian is called to seek to please and honor the Lord, the Eternal God.
As much as the servant seeks to please his master, so the Christian must seek to please the Sovereign God Creator.
As many times as a servant (or employee) is asked to be faithful, loyal to his master (or his boss), so the Christian is also called to be faithful, loyal, honest to the Lord God.
But it is good to know that the only way to be able to please God is to surrender ourselves entirely to God – by entrusting him with everything – by letting us be guided, counseled, led, commanded by the Holy Spirit. Spirit, and claiming the Holy Spirit incessantly in our lives. It is to put one’s trust in God in everything, in all circumstances, in order to depend on Jesus Christ, even in the minutest details.
Nobody can please God, if God himself does not transform it: For God must make works IN us (internal transformation, that of the heart), works FOR us (for our future, our projects etc.) and BY us (by making us channels, instruments to reach people: to put ourselves at the service of others to meet their needs). Of our own strength, of our own works, of our own acts, we can never please God. That is why it is necessary to have an intense connection in an active and fulfilled Christian relationship in which the Lord is the potter and we are the clay. Only in this way will the Lord shape us so that we may please Him.
To achieve this, we must first recognize that without God, we are nothing, as we point out (John 15: 1-10). Yes, we must recognize that it is God who has the monopoly of all life.
In the eyes of God, we are not automatons (robots, machines). We are free to depend on him or not. Therefore, we must willingly abandon ourselves entirely to God so that he can shape us in his image; lead us in his paths, in his plans, in his will! Yes, because he is the only God who saves, who transforms, and who has plans of peace, happiness, joy, well-being for us! To crown it all, there is the way, the truth and the life (John 14: 6): the God in whom we have eternal life.
Glory to God who promises us that we can count on him to be transformed in his image if we want it willingly and willingly!
Through this teaching, the Lord recommends us to give him the first place in our life, to allow him to shape us in his image because we are called to seek to please him. And we can never please him while he does not accomplish transformations himself in our life!
In the course of our walk with the Lord, what feelings do we have: do we please God? Do we progress in faith with God? Are we really connected to Jesus Christ? Is Jesus the only Lord and personal Savior in our life? Do we let Jesus Christ make transformations in our lives, in us, for us, and for us? Does Jesus really have the monopoly of our life and is he our only model?
Let us ask God to make our faith strong, to strengthen our relationship with him, to transform us so that we may please him. Let us ask God to free us from all that prevents us from leading an active, sincere relationship in our Christian walk with him.