Hosea Chapter Ten, A Matter Of Heart... 

In our study of Hosea chapter ten, we will see that the root of sin goes to what is in the hearts of men. 

Hosea 10:1

"Israel was a spreading vine; he brought forth fruit for himself. As his fruit increased, he built more altars; as his land prospered, he adorned his sacred stones." NIV translation

As we saw in chapter nine, the prosperity of the northern kingdom blinded them from the truth of God. Instead of praising God for His hand of provision, they built more altars and high places. 

Hosea 10:2

"Their heart is deceitful, and now they must bear their guilt. The Lord will demolish their altars and destroy their sacred stones." NIV translation

The people forgot that God is a jealous God and He will not share His place in their hearts with idols.

As we see here, it is their hearts that are at the center of the problem. They valued wealth more than their relationship with God. It is easy to tell what is most valuable to you. It is simply a matter of looking at what you spend the most time and effort on.

Hosea 10:3

"Then they will say, 'We have no king because we did not revere the Lord. But even if we had a king, what could he do for us?'" NIV translation

After the northern kingdom was defeated by the Assyrians, they would come to realize that it was because of their idolatry. They would realize that it was not only the fault of the king but the blame was shared by them.

Hosea 10:4

"They make many promises, take false oaths and make agreements; therefore lawsuits spring up like poisonous weeds in a plowed field." NIV translation

In their quest for material wealth, it was anything goes. They made agreements with no intention of keeping them and so disputes broke out between them and their fellow Israelites. These disputes further hardened their hearts to choke out the good much like a weed starves the crop of nutrients and limits the harvest.

The same type of thing happened in the city of Corinth during the apostle Paul's ministry (see 1 Co. 6). He went so far as to say that the very fact that there were lawsuits showed that they had already been defeated by the devil. In this, he was referring to the state of their hearts and that Satan had their hearts focused on material wealth instead of the things of God. It seems that this is even more true today than it was in the past.