In our study of Hosea chapter eight we will compare proper worship of God with the altars of sin that plagued Israel at the time of the prophet. Throughout the Bible, an altar is a place for man to meet and worship God but, as we shall see, God's people had been corrupted and their worship was not accepted.
"'Put the trumpet to your lips! An eagle is over the house of the Lord because the people have broken my covenant and rebelled against my law.'" NIV translation
As we see in Numbers 10, the trumpet was used to signal the Israelites to gather together. Throughout the Bible, an eagle is the symbol of speed and, through these words, we see that the judgement was almost upon them. The people had broken the contract between them and God that had been given through Moses in the desert. This covenant required the people to be loyal to God alone and to follow His decrees. Their idolatry had directly violated the terms of the deal.
"'Israel cries out to me, "O our God, we acknowledge you!" But Israel has rejected what is good; an enemy will pursue him.'" NIV translation
Not only did they reject following the ways of God but they did so even as they were calling on His name. God's covenant was meant to give them guidance into all of the good things of life but, because they rejected His instructions, they were going in the wrong direction. In much the same manner, many today have accepted Jesus Christ but are not walking in His ways.
"'They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval. With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves to their own destruction.'" NIV translation
This is speaking of the fact that, after the division of the kingdom, the kings of Israel were not from the line of David. This led to Ahab and his marriage to Jezebel who came from Baal worship. She and Ahab led the people of the northern kingdom (Israel) into idolatry and that is what this verse is talking about. The same type of thing can happen today in the life of a Christian if they choose to marry someone who does not know Jesus Christ.