“With their silver and gold they made idols for their own destruction” (8:4). Hosea’s prophetic word mourned the disobedience of Israel, the northern kingdom with its capital in Samaria. While they continued to practice the rituals of worship and sacrifice, declaring, "My God, we--Israel--know you" (8:2), they were actually worshipping a man-made calf (8:5). They had forgotten what God was really like, and His laws and His ways were regarded as “a strange thing” (8:12).
“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (6:6). God didn’t care about Israel’s commitment to the “culture” of religion; He desires us to know Him and love Him from our hearts.