“…his hair is sprinkled with gray, but he does not notice” (Hosea 7:9).
“I see some gray hair!” We all hear these Words eventually. The hoary head is one of creation’s Way of reminding us that our lives are like a flower. They bloom and fade quickly.
Hosea did not bring up the subject of our hair turning gray just to teach us that it is a sign of aging. As he does so often in this book, he uses a simple fact of nature to illustrate a spiritual truth. Gray hair is a sign of aging, and with aging comes a loss of strength. The first part of Hosea 7:9 says, “Foreigners sap his strength, but he does not notice.”
Age comes upon us before We know it. We lose strength before We realize it. Like a man who is beginning to age, the Israelites had lost their spiritual vigor. The prophet said “foreigners” had consumed their strength. The strangers were ungodly heathens. How did these people drain the spiritual strength of the Israelites? The preceding verse tells us: “Ephraim mixes with the nations; Ephraim is a flat cake not turned over.” They had accepted their ways and even worshiped their gods. They went along to get along. In the end, they were like a half-baked cake.
Like a man who doesn’t realize his hair is beginning to turn gray, these Israelites lost the strength of their convictions before they knew it. They did not see how weak they had become. They were oblivious to their true condition, so Hosea holds up a mirror to show them.
The prophet Hosea may as well have been talking about Christians today. Many children of God have mixed with the world. They have closed their eyes and compromised. They have given in on one point and backed down on another until there is little spirituality left. They have learned to think, talk, and live like the world. The people around them use bad language, dress indecently, and have sex outside of marriage, so they go along with these things to have friends. They have been taught to be tolerant and respectful of all religions, so they refuse to disagree with false doctrines because they tell themselves that arguing with people is not Christ-like. Little by little, they give in until their convictions are so diluted that others cannot tell the difference between them and the world.
But like a man who is unaware that his hair is becoming gray these Christians don’t realize how weak they have become. They may even smile and tell themselves they are as strong as they ever were. The pleasures of this world and the deceitfulness of riches have sapped their strength and they don’t even know it.
“Do not love the world or anything in this world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15-17). – Kerry Duke —Livingston, TN