“But even if we had a king, what could he do for us?”

Hosea 10:3

Monday, 3 August 2020

Hosea 10:3-4

The Prophet Hosea prophesied in Israel at a time when there was material prosperity, but spiritual decay. Hosea’s cheating wife gave him insight into how God felt about Israel’s unfaithfulness. He preached as the kingdom fell into decay. His preaching had little impact on the leaders or the people. Their hearts were so hardened by sin.

In the selection we reflect upon today, we see that empty promises eroded the people’s confidence in their leaders. They, therefore, conclude “we have no king”.

A nation or institution that has lost the trust of its followers is one without leadership. Leaders, whose hardened hearts will not listen to those whom they are supposed to lead, but instead act with impunity, are not accountable.

An accountable leader is one who delivers on their promises, showing others that they can be trusted to do what they say they will. Leaders further show accountability by taking responsibility for the outcomes of their actions and decisions. Hosea, over and over, calls the unfaithful to responsibility. 

Leaders show that they are accountable when they are disciplined, when they choose to stay focussed and do not get derailed by their ego or desires. Leaders cannot be political pleasers to keep their position. They have to be disciplined people.

A good leader has a strong sense of integrity and is honest about their ability to deliver on their commitments – Hosea asks both the leaders and people to deliver on their commitments. His struggle with his wife’s inability to be faithful is a metaphor for the leaders and people he preached too. Leaders need to be accountable to their people, but the people also have to be accountable to the common good.

How can we, creatively, call our wayward leaders to accountability? In what ways do we need to become more disciplined, act with integrity and seek the common good?

Lord God,
The Prophet Hosea calls us to leave our unfaithful ways and live with integrity. He invites us to live the value of accountability with discipline. Grace us today with a renewed commitment to live as Hosea invites us.

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ is the Director of the Jesuit Institute and is interested in the impact that communications technology has on society and spirituality. He regularly comments on South African Politics and various issues in the Catholic Church.

director@jesuitinstitute.org.za @rpollittsj
See more from Russell Pollitt SJ
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