What if you went looking for God, but couldn’t find Him.
After all, Paul wrote that God had so ordered the world that everyone might “seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” So how is it possible that God cannot be “found” or “discovered?”
Hosea says, surprisingly, for God’s people, it is.
The problem is not an absence of religion. Both Israel and Judah (remember, Hosea is writing during the “divided kingdom period,” are very religious. The prophet mentions their scrupulous attention to religious festivals (new moon festivals) and the abundance of their sacrifices (they seek the Lord “with their flocks and herds”).
The problem is a lack of heart for God. God is not a part of their daily lives; they do not consider Him when they make their life decisions. They are sexually immoral (give birth to illegitimate children), arrogant (will not listen to anyone but themselves), and dishonest (the movement of boundary stones is stealing property). In times of trouble, they look to political deliverance (Assyria) rather than the Lord.
They only think about God at His appointed time.
And when people live like this, in times of trouble, God will not be found.