Therefore will I change their glory into shame. (Hosea 4:7)
Material and spiritual prosperity rarely go hand-in-hand. Apart from some happy exceptions, as a person increases in financial wealth, they usually decrease in spiritual health. So it is with churches and with nations. So it was with Israel: “As they were increased, so they sinned against me” (v. 7).
As the nation grew and expanded under the skillful economic management of Jeroboam, so did their sins. As men and women grew more self-sufficient, they grew away from dependence upon God. Places of idol-worship multiplied and flourished. They gloried in their shiny golden calves at Dan and Bethel which were much more impressive than the blood-stained temple at Jerusalem! And what about our priests and our ceremonies?
“I will change their glory into shame.” God zeroes in on what they especially boasted of and gloried in. He targets what was the greatest source of their pride—their man-made religion—and warns, “I will turn their glory into shame.” God can take what is the greatest source of pride and turn it into our shame. Hanging Haman, grass-eating Nebuchadnezzar, and worm-eaten Herod testify loudly to God’s abilities in this area.
Do you glory in your beauty? God can take glamorous supermodels and change them into bald models of the latest sackcloth (Isa. 3:16–24). How many beautiful women are in hell, their glory turned into their shame. Do you glory in your wisdom? God says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent” (1 Cor. 1:19). How many clever men are in hell lamenting the glory they gave to their now shamed degrees.
How easily God can change your glory into your shame. So glory not in your children, your career, your church, or your nation. “But let him that glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, says the Lord” (Jer. 9:24).
How easily God can turn your shame into glory. He can take you from the lowest and most shameful condition and, through the grace of the Lord Jesus, transform you from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18).