Devotional of the week: Contempt (12 in Hosea series)

Photo: Anne-Lise Heinrichs, flickr

Photo: Anne-Lise Heinrichs, flickr

But Ephraim has aroused his bitter anger; his Lord will leave on him the guilt of his bloodshed and will repay him for his contempt. (Hosea 11:12 – 12)

We reach another major block in the book of Hosea, and again God prepares his courtroom case against his people. He brings a series of charges against them, naming deceit as an underlying cause. As we see in 11:12, Ephraim has surrounded God with lies on every side. Their deceit turns into fraud, violence and bloodshed. And finally into contempt (12:14).

The sin of contempt perhaps is the most damning, for it reveals a hardened heart that is puffed up by pride. Today we may not create idols or willfully use dishonest scales in our business, but contempt is widespread. Thinking that we’re just that much better than our neighbor gives many a twisted sense of satisfaction.

Contempt, in fact, has been found to be a key indicator that a marriage will fail, as Malcolm Gladwell writes in Blink (London: Penguin, 2005). He came across a researcher who studied over three thousand couples and concluded that the prevalence of this emotion of disgust and superiority most often sounded the death knell to the relationship. So too with God’s people – his bride – when they reject the love and gifts of their Husband.

Do we harbor contempt against God? Just as one example, perhaps we hang onto a sense of false pride that makes us seek to control all that is around us – our surroundings, family and friends. For so long we’ve orchestrated events and people that we believe that we must make our own destiny. We don’t trust God for our daily bread, and actually we think we could bake a much tastier loaf than he could provide. Join me in asking God to shine his light in any areas of our lives where contempt may be taking root, that he may make us pure – and thankful.

Prayer: Triune God, please eradicate any traces of superiority in my life. You have made me and formed me; from you all my blessings flow. I love you.

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