In our study of Hosea chapter seven, we look at the idolatry of the northern kingdom of Israel and how a really bad marriage can be the root cause. We will look at the example of Ahab, Jezebel, and the city of Samaria and apply the lessons to our daily walk with Christ.
"'whenever I would heal Israel, the sins of Ephraim are exposed and the crimes of Samaria revealed.'" NIV translation
In chapter 6, we saw that God offered Israel a new life if they would repent of their sin and turn back to Him. That is what is referred to by "whenever I would heal Israel".
Now, we see that they did not as "the sins of Ephraim are exposed". The sins of Ephraim refers to idolatry as that was the tribe that started and spread open idolatry to the tribes of Israel. The phrase "crimes of Samaria" refers to the fact that the city of Samaria had become the capitol of the northern kingdom. This city was built by King Omri whose son, Ahab, married a woman by the name of Jezebel.
Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal who was the king of the Sidonians. The Sidonians were descendants of Canaan who was cursed by God because of his father Ham and what he did to Noah. When Ahab became king, he built an altar to Baal (a pagan god) in the city. We see that this sin of idolatry became "crimes of Samaria".
"'They practice deceit, thieves break into houses, bandits rob in the streets; but they do not realize that I remember all their evil deeds. Their sins engulf them; they are always before me.'" NIV translation
We see that Israel had lost the sense of shame that usually accompanies sin. Instead they bring their sin out into the streets for everyone to see and are even proud of it. The people do not see that they are only building up judgment for themselves as God sees and remembers all. This tells us what was going on in the northern kingdom at this time but it seems that it is even more relevant to the world today as we see people (even Christians) openly and even proudly taking part in the sin of the world.
"'They delight the king with their wickedness, the princes with their lies.'" NIV translation
The leaders of Israel had led the people into sin. We see that the entire government was corrupt in the sight of the Lord as they even sponsored the sin of the people. It seems like that is exactly what is going on in our world today as laws are passed saying that what God calls sin is not sin anymore.
"'They are all adulterers, burning like an oven whose fire the baker need not stir from the kneading of the dough till it rises.'" NIV translation
This verse gives us the picture of a fire that has been established in the oven and no longer needs tending. Likewise, the idolatry of the Israelites had become established in their hearts.